The RHS Girls Bowling Team at Thunder Lanes for the MHSAA D1 Girls Team Bowling State Finals. The Rams earned a Top 8 finish. ~ Contributed Photo
Friday, March 1, at the iconic Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., the Lady Rams concluded their 2018/19 team event bowling season. After finishing second in the highly competitive Region 1 tournament, expectations were high that the girls would make a solid run at the state title. The format of eight team Bakers and two full individual games would prove a worthy test for all 18 teams in the event to advance to match play.
The ladies opened with a very respectable 167-195 set which placed them in seventh overall and within the final cut to the eight-match play teams. After a lineup change in an attempt to spark the team, the next two games were 189 and 158, which actually moved the team up to fifth overall. With the team settled in, the original lineup was restored for the rest of the day. The next set yielded games of 167 and 218, with another boost to their ranking in the field placing third overall and in front of some exceptional teams. The final Baker set pitted Rockford against Oxford, the overall leader and a heavy favorite for the championship. The Lady Rams were not intimidated and fired an opening 202 against their 190 and came back with a respectable 169 against their 202, to conclude Bakers.
Heading into individual game play, the Lady Rams totaled 1465 pins, good for fourth place overall 107 pins behind leader Oxford and 108 pins in front of the cut line score.
In the first individual score game, junior Isabelle Brekke led the way with a 203, with another very nice game of 196 from senior leader Heather Buck. Junior Jade Reamer shot 161, followed by twin sister Lexi's 145 and sophomore Emma Korhorn’s 132, for a team total of 837. With one game left in qualifying the team was now fifth overall after being passed by surging regional rival Jenison, but still comfortably 82 pins ahead of the cut.
The final game was led by Buck's 227, Brekke's 180, and Korhorn's 177. The Reamer twins also added games of 158 and 124, for a total of 866. The Lady Rams’ total of 3264 through qualifying let them hold on to fifth place overall and the opportunity to move from the main alleys to the world famous Thunderbowl Arena, host to numerous PBA major championships, memorable bowling moments and the Michigan Bowling Hall of Fame. The Rams would face off against the only other west Michigan team, Jenison, in their first match. The Jenison team had dominated their competition all season long. The format of the match would be two Bakers and one individual game to reach the final four.
Jenison's opening Baker of 176 led Rockford's 147 by 29 pins. After regrouping, the Rams fired back with a game of 180 compared to the Wildcat's 125, giving Rockford a slim 26-pin advantage heading in to the deciding individual game. Jenison's strong lineup including three individual finals qualifiers would provide quite the challenge to advance to the next match.
After an already long day, the Lady Rams started strong but eventually ran out of gas in the final game. The Rams’ total of 819 was no match for Jenison's 942, which was among the highest score shot in the tournament so far. Jenison would move on and ultimately advance to the championship match against New Baltimore Anchor Bay and bring home the first ever West Michigan Division 1 championship trophy in a sport dominated by Detroit-area teams.
The Lady Rams had nothing to be ashamed of, finishing in the Top 8 of over 90 teams in MHSAA Division 1 girls bowling and reaching the match play portion of the tournament for only the second time in school history. The entire team can look back at this season as one of their best yet, and with the six of the seven players returning for next year the outlook is good for the 2019/2020 season!
The MHSAA D1 State Finals was held at the Iconic Thunderlanes Bowl, in Allen Park, Mich.~ Contributed Photo
The MHSAA D1 State Finals was held at the Iconic Thunderlanes Bowl, in Allen Park, Mich. ~ Contributed Photo