Thursday afternoon provided a new and somewhat unexpected experience for Lawrence High’s girls bowling team: not finishing first.
The Lions took first place in their previous seven events of the season. But the streak ended in a triangular at Royal Crest Lanes when Olathe Northwest became the first team this year to topple LHS, which settled for runner-up status.
“It couldn’t go on forever,” LHS senior Zoe Reed said. “It was a lot of fun while we were on the streak, and now we have to come back out and compete hard the next time.”
It took a pair of fantastic individual series scores from Olathe Northwest’s Mackenzie Saulnier (699) and Becca Wood (632) to push the Ravens (2,215) past the Lions (2,124), who had been remarkably consistent throughout the season.
Lawrence’s Kierstan Warren rolled a 552 series and remained proud of both her team and the Lawrence boys, who finished second to Olathe North. She said the girls team’s success has a lot to do with the closeness of the group, and that didn’t change even as the Lions endured some adversity for the first time this season.
“We had our bad day,” Warren said, “but it’s just another day.”
If the second-place afternoon at the lanes had an abnormal feel to it, it might have been because of the team’s string of success.
“I think it was pressure,” Warren said. “Because we’ve gone up against these teams before, and we’ve beat them severely. It just wasn’t a good day. Next time (Tuesday at Royal Crest Lanes) is Senior Day, so I expect nothing but the best from our girls and our boys.”
Reed, whose 530 series was the fourth-best overall score, said Lawrence’s depth has proven key this season. It was on display Thursday, too, with Rebecca McNemee’s 512 and Amy Harvey’s 507.
“A lot of these teams will have one or two girls that are really talented, and they’ll try and carry the team, and if they don’t do well, nothing happens,” Reed said. “But our team, if someone doesn’t do well, someone else steps up and keeps the consistency.”
It just so happened the Ravens’ Saulnier and Wood were too much to overcome, LHS coach Paula Bastemeyer said.
“You’d like to win ’em all,” Bastemeyer said. “It’d be great to say that, but that’s not the way it is.”
Rolling well at the regional tournament coming up Feb. 20, Reed added, has always been the team’s primary goal anyway.
“We just move on from it,” Reed said, “and learn from it.”
Even the LHS boys couldn’t quite believe their eyes when the girls didn’t pick up another victory.
“I was kind of surprised,” Tre Sexton said, “but the Olathe Northwest girls brought it and beat us.”
Even while posting the top series of the day, 692, Sexton said he and his teammates always keep up with what’s happening a few lanes away with the girls.
“We just try to cheer each other on, support each other,” he said. “It was kind of sad that they lost today.”
The LHS boys finished with a team score of 2,378, but O-North’s 2,521 won the tri. Austin Bennett rolled a 576 series for the Lions, Dustin Hauptman finished with 546, and Ivan Davidson had 521.
Sexton bowled a 237 in his first game and had the home crowd fully behind him in the second as he chased a perfect score before finishing with 277.
“I almost had a 300 the second game,” Sexton said, “but the seventh frame messed me up. The last game (178), I was just rushing myself, and it didn’t really work out.”