The rivalry between Lawrence High and Free State extended to the bowling alley for the first time Wednesday during the "Rumble in the Alley" at Royal Crest Lanes.
Free State easily took home the boys title, outscoring LHS 2,486-2,098. But LHS forced a split by narrowly winning the girls title by 12 pins, 1,868-1,856.
If the Firebirds had picked up one more spare from any of its top four girl bowlers, they would have earned a sweep.
Thankfully for LHS coach Greg Farley, his girls squeaked ahead for the victory.
"Winning by 12 pins is pretty tough," Farley said. "We needed every score and every pin."
Jessica Wyatt saved the day for LHS when she surged ahead in her last game for a 197, up from 172 in her previous game.
The Lions also overcame the Firebirds' Sprow duo, Dacia and Dequesne. Dacia could not repeat her near-perfect 299 that she scored a week ago against Olathe North.
She was visibly frustrated as several shots that looked good enough for a strike would leave corner pins standing.
"It was definitely a struggle," Dacia Sprow said.
FSHS's Nathan Hardman also struggled, but the other Firebird boys bowled tremendously. Jeremy Healy just was shy of 700, registering a 686 series to lead all bowlers. Close on his heels was Rich Altman, who was steady the entire match and finished at 679.
FSHS coach Chuck Tracy said Altman had been his most reliable bowler in recent matches.
"Over the last three matches, our best bowler so far has been Rich Altman," Tracy said. "He's been so consistent."
Altman bowled consistently well as he tallied 257 in his second game, well above his 210 average. In that game, Altman bowled seven straight strikes between the first and ninth frame.
Altman said the strike streak didn't weigh on his mind during the match.
"It's just a routine, you try and keep it the same every time," Altman said.
But it wasn't just a routine bowling match for these two schools. The meaning of the rivalry transcended to the hardwood of the bowling lanes as much as one would expect it to for a basketball game.
The intensity of the "Rumble in the Alley" was not lost on LHS's Tyler Demaline, who led the Lions boys with a 559 series.
"It's in every sport," Demaline said. "It can be debate and it would still be competitive between Free State and Lawrence High."