NORTH BRUNSWICK — Opening a three-game series with identical scores in your first two games is quite difficult to do. But for the North Brunswick High School girls bowling team, they showed that, sometimes, doing the impossible leads to the bigger prize.
At Saturday’s NJSIAA Central Sectionals, the Raiders opened with a pair of 895 games and finished with a 932 in the third game, narrowly edging second-place Franklin for the Group III crown.
Both teams qualified for the state finals, which will take place Feb. 11 at Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick.
“All I can say is that they bowled very consistently,” North Brunswick head coach Paul LaMagra said. “It’s almost impossible to bowl the same game twice in a row, but it’s just a coincidence. Luckily, we had those solid first two games, which got us off to a good start. We just stayed solid and in that third game we did even better and it was enough to overtake Franklin.”
Leading the way for North Brunswick was Kate Lonczak, who shot a 607 series (180-191-236). Her set was the fifth-highest of all the competitors, but the Raiders had someone different lead the team in each of the three games.
“In each game, someone different stepped up and it gave us a nice boost,” LaMagra said.
Franklin, which captured the Skyland Conference Tournament title on Thursday, backed that performance up with a strong showing, coming in second in the group. The Warriors got off to a fast start, rolling matching 943 games to open their day, before finishing with a 795. Morgan Marcial paced Franklin as she rolled a 591 set (184-222-185), and her showing was one that she has been searching for all season long.
“I wanted to show my coach that I can really bowl this way and me having a good season personally has been a great way to end my senior year,” Marcial said.
In Group IV, South Brunswick finished 45 pins behind Howell. The Vikings got off to a slow start, by their standards, but finished their day with two games over 900 to advance to the finals.
“The first game, there were a little bit of jitters there; we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, but came back in the end with a really solid third game,” South Brunswick head coach Tara Burniston said. “We went frame-by-frame and they let everything hang out and we took control at the end. It was great to see.”
South Brunswick finished with 988 and 910 in their final two games, thanks in large part to Kristin Krier. The sophomore posted a 178-245-181-604 line, which was good enough for the seventh-best set on the day. Amy Caruso went over 200 twice and Alanna Zetchus struck out in the tenth frame of the third game to finish with a 205.
Not to be outdone by their Greater Middlesex Conference rivals, the Carteret Ramblers won the Group I crown, finishing 50 pins ahead of second-place Cardinal McCarrick. Carteret’s third game of 941 propelled them to the top of the group.
“They were absolutely fantastic in the third game,” Carteret coach Charles Simon said. “The first and second game, we could have done a little better, but they were relaxed going into the third game and they bowled as a team and pulled it out.”
Heather Androvich and Cryssi Golino helped the Ramblers, posting 576 and 566 series respectively. Both bowlers went over 200 in the third game, with Androvich registering a 211 and Golino posting a 208.
“Coming from behind is always nice,” Simon said. “They showed today in the third game that this game is fun and that’s part of why we were able to pull it out.”
Demetria Bethel of Piscataway scored the second-highest series at 644, with Katie Latham of Cardinal McCarrick coming in just behind her at 643.