Lawrence bowling sweeps Free State in dual behind performance in Baker format

photo by: Chance Parker

Lawrence High's Maison Albarado fist bumps his teammates during the matchup against Free State Thursday afternoon at Royal Crest Lanes on Feb. 18, 2021.

As soon as Lawrence High junior Josh King rolled his second strike in the final frame of the day, he knew what he had accomplished. King punched the air in celebration, and made his way back to the ball return for his third roll.

King didn’t even really need a third attempt in that 10th frame. After trailing all day, Lawrence’s boys bowling team surged back in the Baker portion of the meet to earn a win over Free State in a dual Thursday afternoon at Royal Crest Lanes.

The Lions scored 3,373 as a team, while the Firebirds finished with a score of 3,309.

“After that shot, I came back and everybody’s mood instantly changed all the way to joy,” King said. “We all knew that we needed to step it up in Baker and that’s exactly what we did with strikes and strikes together and we ultimately ended with the win.”

LHS completed the sweep with a win in the varsity girls division, needing a rally effort in Baker to finish with a team score of 2,681. Free State finished with a total score of 2,652 on senior day for both squads in the regular-season finale.

Free State junior Michael Tennyson III, who came in second as an individual in the boys division, rolled a 245 in the first game to help get his team going early on. He finished with a 637 series score, trailing only King’s mark of 648.

“Today felt really good because I had the same line the entire meet,” Tennyson said. “I usually have to make adjustments, but I just focused on hitting my mark and getting around it and following through.”

Tennyson wasn’t the only Firebird having success early on. Junior AJ Baker, who finished in fourth with a series score of 629, rolled a 246 in his third game after netting three strikes in the 10th frame.

Sophomore CJ Rickert put together 200-plus marks in the final two games to finish with a series score of 617, which earned him a fifth-place finish. It allowed the Firebirds to grab a 2,576-2,544 lead entering the Baker portion of the meet.

“It was down to the wire the whole time,” Tennyson said. “We know the people from the other school. We are friends, so it’s not hard feelings. It’s just fun.”

Lawrence never even took the lead until the fourth and final Baker game. The Lions, who trailed by one pin entering the final game, won each of the first three Baker contests (210-192, 198-193, 201-193) to set up the come-from-behind victory.

That’s when LHS completely put things away with a 220-155 score advantage in the fourth game.

“It showed in our last game that we didn’t break under pressure,” King said. “We knew we had it, and it was our last game and it was our last chance. It showed that our best Baker game was our last game.”

While King put the finishing touches in the final frame, everybody played their part to help the Lions surge past their crosstown rival.

Sophomore Maison Albarado set King up with a strike in the ninth frame, and produced a number of signature shots for the Lions late in the event. LHS senior Wheeler Battaglia-Davis delivered a trio of strikes in the 10th frame of his final game.

Lawrence junior Sebastian Daniel finished in third place with a series score of 636. Remy Fowler and Carson Toews also contributed down the stretch to help LHS secure its fourth win of the season.

“This year has been overall really good,” King said. “But this one felt a lot better than any other win because it was our rivals.”

Seniors shine in varsity girls division

A pair of seniors stole the show in the varsity girls division of that same meet.

Free State senior Rena Stoupakis was the individual champion with a series score of 566. It was 15 pins better than her previous season-best series mark. Stoupakis secured her first-ever first-place finish as an individual in her three-year bowling career.

“It’s just amazing; I’m over the moon right now,” Stoupakis said. “Especially in a game like this against Lawrence High, and it’s such a big deal. It’s senior night, and as a senior, it just means a lot.”

Stoupakis really found a groove in the third game, when she was one of three FSHS bowlers to post a score over 200. Senior Roberta Gonzalez and junior Ashley Edwinson posted 200-plus games to eventually finish fourth and fifth, respectively, as individuals.

Stoupakis said the key to the Firebirds finding their rhythm during Game 3 was their focus.

“Just knowing that we can do it,” Stoupakis said. “Because we can do it. The games are like practice just in a different setting. It’s nothing different.”

“I think it really reflects on how we are going to do next week for regionals,” Stoupakis added.

Baker proved to be pivotal in the girls competition, too, after Free State squandered its 2,053-2,016 advantage over Lawrence. The Lions won the first three Baker games (191-140, 151-118, 153-141) before suffering a 200-170 loss to the Firebirds in the final game.

LHS ended up with a 665-599 advantage in Baker play.

“We did pretty good in Baker,” Lawrence senior Bean Foster said. “We were getting strikes and spares and it all adds up. That’s the key, just getting everything to add up.”

Foster was especially important during that stretch after posting a series score of 528, which included a game-high of 188 in the first game. Both Foster and LHS sophomore Alivia Johnson finished in a tie for second as individuals.

It was an important response for Foster after two lackluster outings. Foster said the key to getting back on track was not thinking about it too much and just playing.

“I think I was just getting too stressed out about it and trying to be perfect,” Foster said. “I kind of took time for myself during the day today. Plus, having my family here was also nice.”

Foster, Battaglia-Davis and Macala Sisson were the LHS seniors honored in front of family before the event. For Free State, Aleah Garber, Gonzalez, Khloe Polian, Jake Roszak and Stoupakis were recognized on senior day.

Both FSHS and LHS will compete in the Shawnee Mission East regional at Mission Bowl on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Free State vs. Lawrence High dual

Varsity boys scores: 1. Lawrence 3373; 2. Free State 3309.

FSHS results: 2. Michael Tennyson III 637; 4. AJ Baker 629; 5. CJ Rickert 617; 6. Jacob Goos 615; 7. Warren Williams 610; 12. Jake Roszak 404.

LHS results: 1. Josh King 648; 3. Sebastian Daniel 636; 8. Remy Fowler 598; 9. Maison Albarado 587; 10. Carson Toews 582; 11. Wheeler Battaglia-Davis 545;

Varsity girls scores: 1. Lawrence 2681; 2. Free State 2652.

FSHS results: 1. Rena Stoupakis 566; 4. Roberta Gonzalez 517; 5. Ashley Edwinson 486; 8. Aleah Garber 437; 9. June Aldamizetxebarra 422; 10. Erin Rule 410.

LHS results: 2. Bean Foster 528; 3. Alivia Johnson 528; 6. Georgia Blackwood 477; 7. Karla Tyler 471; 11. Macala Sisson 370; 12. Sydney Wycoff 347.


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