Fourteen pins haunted the Colonie High School girls’ bowling team.
That’s how many pins the Garnet Raiders fell short to Columbia last season when the Blue Devils rallied past Colonie for the Section II Class A bowling championship.
This season, the Garnet Raiders went from the hunted to the hunter, and rallied from a 279-pin deficit after the first three games to surge past Mohonasen for the title Thursday at Spare Time Clifton Park.
Colonie, which knocked down 2,796 pins in the morning squad, came back with a 3,004 in the afternoon block. Mohonasen, the morning leader with a 3,075, managed only an 2,697 in the afternoon for a 5,772 total, just 28 pins behind the Garnet Raiders.
Senior Melissa Lachanski, who is still sifting through offers from collegiate teams to bowl for next year, led the way with a 712 afternoon block and a six-game total of 1,282. Sophomore Kalynn Carl added a 659 in the afternoon, and finished with a 1,252.
When the Garnet Raiders finished the morning block, coach Pete Grugan made sure they settled down.
“I told them, ‘Don’t try to make it happen, let it happen,’ ” said Grugan. “I told them to play the lanes the way they should be played. We remember losing by just 14 pins to Columbia last year, and I reminded the girls that we could come back this time.”
Grugan’s Garnet Raiders have been dominant since he took over as coach six years ago. They were the Class A runners-up last year, and they won the state title in 2005.
“We’ve lost just 10 matches in the last six years,” he said. “We had two undefeated seasons, and we had just one loss both last season and this season. Mohonasen gave us our only defeat both times.”
Grugan was asked how Colonie has been able to stay so competitive.
“The difference with Colonie teams is that we can adjust to different speeds, different balls, an inside line, an outside line or straight down the boards. They’re very versatile, and they’ve got more than one shot. When we practice, I make them shoot from the third arrow and the fourth arrow. I make them shoot their strike shots with a plastic ball, and often, I have them shoot their spare shots first. If you are accurate, you can bowl on any condition. I think the girls have better mechanics than the boys, and they listen to you better. We shot 3,800 twice this season, and we had a high of 3,888. I don’t think anyone else shot 3,800 even once.”
“Our coach is great. We couldn’t have done it without him,” said Lachanski. “I started out slowly [with a 163 game]. I’m always trying to prove something, but coach settled us down.”
“We just had to keep up the intensity,” said sophomore Stephanie Buckley, who shot a 555 in the morning and a 509 in the afternoon for a 1,064 six-game block.
Shawna Burke added a 1,103 on triples of 561 and 542. Lachanski averages 215, Carl averages 214, Buckley averages 208 and Burke averages 190 for the Garnet Raiders, who were undefeated at their home Redwood Lanes.
Schalmont (5,566) won the Class B title by 503 pins over Lansingburgh (5,063). Mechanicville (4,889) won the Class C-D title by 376 pins over Fort Plain (4,513).
The sectional team included Jenn Scaccia (1,239), Lindsey McPhail (1,226) and Kylie Pasaquerella (1,204) of Mohonasen; Natasha Bidwell (1,233) and Liz Kuhlkin (1,233) of Schalmont; and Heather Maxwell (1,175) of Columbia.
The New York state tournament will be held in Rochester March 6-7.
Team scores: Colonie 5,800, Mohonasen 5,772, Columbia 5,588, Saratoga Springs 5,204, Niskayuna 5,171, Schenectady 5,146, Ballston Spa 4,652, Bethlehem Central 4,623, Albany 4,248, Averill Park 4,195.
High triple: Melissa Lachanski (Colonie) 712, Lindsey McPhail (Mohonasen) 681, Nicole Sheldon (Columbia) 638. High single: Jenn Scaccia (Mohonasen) 278, Kalynn Carl (Colonie) 268, Britney Hart (Columbia) 238.
Team scores: Schalmont 5,566, Lansingburgh 5,063, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 5,009, Hudson Falls 4,754, Cohoes 4,028, Cobleskill-Richmondville 3,895.
High triple: Nathasha Bidwell (Schalmont) 643, Liz Kuhlkin (Schalmont) 633, Kelci Margiasso (RCS) 581. High single: Meredith Juers (Schalmont) 233, Chelsea Brumagen (Hudson Falls) 225, Liz Pratt (Lansingbugh) 214.
Team scores: Mechanicville 4,889, Fort Plain 4,513, Canajoharie 4,442, Middleburgh 4,178, Mayfield 4,169, Watervliet 4,137, Schoharie 3,953, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 3,511, Schenectady Christian 3,397, Duanesburg 3,289.
High triple: Katelyn Burrello (Mechanicville) 557, Samantha Kuhne (Canajoharie) 549 Alyssa Smith (Mechanicville) 539. High single: Jennette Webb (Fort Plain) 224, Teresa Lucarelli (Mechanicville) 211, Samantha Steenburg (Fort Plain) 201, Kayla Chenialle (Mayfield) 201.