Going into the 2020-21 season, Bryan girls bowling had won either a share or an outright Northwest Ohio Athletic League title since the conference’s inception of the sport in 2011-12.
And the Golden Bears continued their dominance in the NWOAL tournament on Saturday.
Bryan won its 10th-straight NWOAL title by bowling a 3,114 — 2,401 (766, tournament-high 881, 754) for first place in match play, 713 (168, 148, 130, 117, 150) for fourth in Bakers — in the seven-team NWOAL tourney for second place and finished the season atop the conference (11-1, 13-1 overall) at Bryan Lanes.
“It feels awesome,” Bryan coach Dustin Gillett said. “I’m excited for the girls. Beginning of the season, we were all rebuilding our team here and trying to come back. We weren’t sure. So we said, ‘We’re going to try for it,’ but we weren’t real sure. It was a what if type of year.
“The girls did well and they hung in there. So, I feel really excited for the girls to be able to continue on that (streak).”
Swanton (7-5 NWOAL) won the tournament by edging the Golden Bears by 41 pins with a 3,155 — 2,318 (753, 782, 783) for second in match play, 837 (168, 190, 146, 180, 153) for first in Bakers. Liberty Center (7-5) rounded out the top three with a 2,973 — 2,249 (746, 692, 811) for third in match play, 724 (170, 135, 121, 143, 155) for second in Bakers.
“I thought the ladies performed really well,” Liberty Center coach Rick Shadday said. “It’s a young group, but I thought they performed really well. We could’ve done better on spares.
“But finishing third, that was our goal. We finished ahead of Wauseon, that was terrific. But Bryan, they’re the dominant team, so I was really happy with third place.”
Faith Harding bowled a tournament-high 597 (205, 216, 176) series for the Golden Bears, with her second and first games being the first and third highest games of the tourney. Harding also earned all-NWOAL first-team honors with a season-long and league-high 202 average.
“Faith bowled really, really well (Saturday),” Gillett said. “... She bowled really well on this tough pattern, and was very impressed with her and her ability to fight the tough lanes. So that’s very promising work from her.”
Jessica Federspiel followed Harding with a 490 (161, 196, 133) series, while Gabi Bany, who also earned all-NWOAL first-team honors, scored a 483 (137, 189, 157). Juleah Purk’s 417 (109, 157, 151) and Alexis Firm’s 414 (154, 123, 137) completed Bryan’s match-play score.
“We struggled the first game a little bit. And again, same with the boys (on Friday night), it was just nerves,” Gillett said. “But to get them rolling in that second game, we just got them lined up a little better and we got them making shots. That was huge for us.
“We kind of carried that over to the third game a little bit. We started struggling towards the end of the third game. But I think the second game mentally helped us a lot. But... we just did not do well in Bakers. We had an 80-pin lead or something on Swanton (going into Bakers), and we were hoping to win the tournament too — we’d like to win it all outright. But Swanton had some really good games, we did not.”
Patrick Henry (3-9) took fourth in the tournament with a 2,891 — 2,239 (675, 813, 751) for fourth in match play, 652 (122, 127, 126, 152, 125) for last in Bakers — edging out Wauseon (9-3) by five pins (2,886). Evergreen (4-8) got sixth (2,797), while Delta (1-11) finished last (2,701).
“We talked about it all week long about picking our spares up,” Patrick Henry coach Pat Woods said. “And the first game, not so good, but second game we did really well, we improved. We came on a little bit, slacked off a bit that third game.
“(But) I thought today’s performance was excellent for them. We did a good job.”
Fronting Swanton was Ivy Serres, who scored a 543 (192, 155, 196) series for fourth highest in the tournament. Ariana Smith’s fifth-highest 515 (167, 187, 161) led Liberty Center, while Sarah Breece’s second-best 568 (163, 202, 203) led Patrick Henry. Rachel Breece also added a 211 in the second game of her 482 (134, 211, 129) series.
Delta’s Maddy Johnston finished third in the tourney with a 554 (170. 201, 183) to round out the top five tournament scorers.
Joining Harding and Bany (184.57) on the all-NWOAL first team were Sarah Breece (176.63), Swanton’s Amy Lawson (180.85) and Wauseon’s Danielle Carr (179.32).
The Indians’ Quinlynn Rohda (172.81), Rachel Carr (171.96) and Jayde Ramos (171.96), plus the Tigers’ Madison Amstutz (172.64) and Serres (170.54), made up the second team.
Ten bowlers earned honorable mention: Firm for Bryan; Rachel Breece and teammate Angeline Parsons for Patrick Henry; Liberty Center’s Riley Garretson; Johnston and teammate Ciarra Flickinger for Delta; Swanton’s Hanna Patch, Gabriell Siege and Haylee Didion; and Evergreen’s Michaela Baker.
The Golden Bears, who won the OHSAA Division II state title last year, and the rest of the NWOAL will next take the lanes in the 12-team OHSAA Division II sectional tournament at 5 p.m. Friday at River City Bowl-A-Way at Napoleon.
The top three teams and individuals not on an advancing team go to the district tournament at 10 a.m. Feb. 18 at Westgate Lanes in Lima.
“We left a lot of single spares out there, and for us to just cover half of those would be huge for us going forward,” Gillett said. “But, we come back to practice on Monday and get back to the drawing board and start shooting spares again.
“And that’s what it’s going to come down to. Spares are going to win it.”