Second-place finish at districts lifts BHS bowling to state

There was no chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out reaction, but the Bremerton girls bowling team finished second to rival Olympic at the West Central District bowling championships at Bowlero Lanes in Tacoma last weekend.

Second place? Not so bad.

Good enough, in fact, for a berth to state.

But for the defending Class 3A state champions, who also finished a slot behind Olympic in both the final regular season standings as well as the league’s postseason tournament, second place is second best — not good enough.

Which is why the two-day state championships, beginning at 10 a.m. today at Narrows Plaza in Tacoma, have plenty of intrigue.

A year removed from landing Bremerton High School its first state championship in any sport since 1976, the Lady Knights now find themselves looking up at 2008-09 Olympic League and district champion Olympic (15-1).

“We are heading to state ready to defend our title,” BHS coach Dean Wagner said. “We want to show we’re still the team to beat.”

To do that, BHS must find a way to out-roll a handful of teams from Eastern Washington that will make the cross-state trek and, of course, the Lady Trojans, who have thrown five games of 900 or better since winter break including a league record 1,015.

“It is a full two days of bowling and a lot can happen,” Wagner said of state, where teams roll six regular games and 14 Baker games.

BHS’ hopes rest on the shoulders of seniors Ariel Wagg and Samantha Smith, both of whom finished with Top 10 averages at districts. Wagg’s high game was 203, while Smith’s was 221.

“The main thing was the girls really came together,” Wagner said.

And while there should be shuffling in the standings between Day 1 and Day 2, the Lady Knights must start quickly at state, something they failed to do at the league tournament when it took them six frames to throw a strike.

“We actually started (districts) with a strike, which was a nice bonus,” Wagner joked. “The second game, they really came alive.”

The Lady Knights rolled a 940 in that second game, the team’s top score on the day, but Olympic took three of the four ensuing Baker games to earn a 3,274-3,264 total-pin advantage, according to scores released by Klahowya coach and district tournament committee member Loree Hippe, who handles statistics for the Olympic League.

Klahowya (2,831) finished third to earn a berth to state, giving the Olympic League three representatives.

West Valley, R.A. Long, Everett, Columbia River and Mark Morris round out the eight-team 3A field.

Teams roll six regular games today and play resumes at 8 a.m. tomorrow with 14 Baker games.

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