Bremerton rollers gear for title defense

Team beats Klahowya 7-0 in first match since Dec. 16; postseason begins Jan. 27.

The Bremerton girls bowling team has less than a month to tune-up for its defense of the Class 3A state title.

Finally in action after practicing just twice in two-plus weeks, the Lady Knight rollers overcame a little rust and a little dust to sweep Klahowya 7-0 Tuesday at All-Star Lanes in Silverdale.

Ariel Wagg rolled a high series of 388, and Shannara Hankinson and Misty Braddock rolled 326 and 322, respectively, to keep the Lady Knights on track for an Olympic League regular season championship.

The team faced Olympic yesterday with the winner most likely securing the league title, but results from that match were unavailable at press time.

“Coming in today off break and snow and everybody being stuck, they came out a little flat,” coach Dean Wagner said of Tuesday’s match. “But they turned it on when they noticed they were in trouble.”

The match was never really in doubt, although BHS needed a strong performance in the latter half of the first regular game to secure the sweep. Klahowya’s Jennifer Donaldson rolled a 222 in that game to keep the Eagles close, but Wagg, Hankinson and Samantha Smith each rolled at least 169 to lead BHS to an eventual 818-808 win.

The second regular game wasn’t as close, with BHS knocking down 793 pins to KSS’ 758. The Lady Knights then won the first Baker 187-169 before cruising in the second, 208-136.

“They are doing fine. It’s expected after two-and-a-half weeks off to come out a little flat,” Wagner said. “They are waking up a little bit.”

With four league matches remaining before the postseason, which begins with the Olympic League Tournament Jan. 27, Wagner said it’s time for the team to begin preparing for state-caliber competition and the practices from here out will reflect that.

“They know they need to gear up,” he said.

Wagg, Hankinson, Braddock, Smith and Kirstie Williams remain the Lady Knights’ starting five, a rotation Wagner said neither has nor will change, and will carry team team into postseason play.

“I’ve had a couple other players do a couple games, but I always come back to the core five,” Wagner said. “They cover each other well, support each other well. If one is down, the other is up. That’s how they gel.”

The Lady Knights placed second in the 14-team Tower Classic in Tacoma Dec. 13, which combined the state’s top 4A and 3A schools, but that was the only tournament-style competition the team has played.

At the Tower Classic, BHS averaged nearly 900 pins in three regular games and 194 in four Baker games, knocking down 3,443 total pins to edge two-time defending 4A state champion Wilson (3,158) for second. Emerald Ridge won the event with 3,445 pins.

“This year the team really has stepped up when the competition steps up,” Wagner said. “They’ll run with anybody.”

And events such as the Tower Classic, state tournament-type matches, go a long way in helping the rollers prepare for the grind of postseason play, Wagner said.

“In league (matches) you’re in and you’re out,” Wagner added, explaining the state championship is a full two-day event. “Starting this week, we’re going to build up our endurance.”

The team visits North Mason Jan. 13, Peninsula Jan. 15 and Sequim Jan. 20 before hosting Klahowya Jan. 22 to end the regular season.

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