SCHENECTADY — After a sloppy, slow start, the Mohonasen boys’ bowling team made a strong charge in the final two games only to come up just short of perennial small-school power Hoosick Falls in the 12th annual Schenectady New Year’s Invitational on Friday afternoon at Boulevard Bowl.
The Mighty Warriors missed five single-pin spares in the first game, settling for an 1,187 team pinfall. Each of the 20 schools competing counted six bowlers per game. Mohonasen, sparked by Josh Ross’ 279 game, rallied for a 1,311 pinfall in the second game and shot 1,270 in the finale, but it wasn’t enough, as the balanced Panthers of Hoosick Falls held on for the victory.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake sophomore Steve Zarub, only in his third year of bowling, shot the tournament’s high single game with his first perfect game in the opener. Niskayuna’s Kyle Smith tossed the event’s high triple with a 744, his first 700 series, followed by Ross with a 722.
Hoosick Falls, one of the best teams in Section II year after year, finished with a team score of 3,796, followed by Mohonasen (3,768) and Columbia (3,767).
“We’re a small school with a co-ed team,” said Hoosick Falls head coach James Lynch. “We have a couple of very talented girls on this year’s team. I would say we are very balanced. Each person was very careful about knocking down as much wood as possible, and we converted all of our shots. We kept all the pieces going shot by shot, and we didn’t get too ahead of ourselves,” Lynch said.
Five of the Panthers’ six bowlers shot triples of 600 or better. Ziena Hurlburt led the way with a 248-699, followed by Colin Cipperly (247-678), Evan Webster (236-660), Owynn Arnold (217-620) and Colin King (222-602). Erin McCart added a 213-537.
Meanwhile, Mohonasen, under new head coach B.J. Rucinski, was bowling on the end pair of the 40-lane center. It took the Mighty Warriors a little while to get accustomed to the shot.
“We missed five single-pin spares in the first game, and that was the difference,” Rucinski said. “We made our spares in the second and third game. I’m proud of the way we bounced back. The way I set up our team, I had three bowlers on each lane that could break the lane down the right way. The right lane was hooking a lot more than the left lane was. But I’m happy the way we finished. My goal was finishing in the top five, and we finished second. I like this tournament because there are a lot of teams we don’t see during the regular season.”
As usual, the talented Ross, son of former SUNY Schenectady head bowling coach Ray Ross, was the catalyst for the Mighty Warriors. Currently the second-leading bowler in the Joey Schmidt Junior Pro-Scoring league with a 211 average, Ross shot a 236 game in the opener for Mohonasen and finished with a 207. John Mauceri was second for the Mighty Warriors with a 238-662.
“We missed quite a few single-pin spares early, but then we cleaned that up,” Ross said. “We had to make an adjustment on that end pair, but once we did, we started to make better shots.”
Ross came close to shooting the second perfect game of the afternoon but left a 9-pin during his 279. “I revved it up a little too much,” he said.
The team standings were tight at the top, with Mechanicville (3,687) and Schalmont (3,680) rounding out the top five. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (3,643) and Averill Park (3,625) also knocked down 3,600 pins or better.
The Schenectady New Year’s Invitational served as an excellent prep for next month’s sectional tournament, a four-day event right back here at Boulevard Bowl.
Team scores: Hoosick Falls 3,796, Mohonasen 3,768, Columbia 3,767, Mechanicville 3,687, Schalmont 3,680, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 3,643, Averill Park 3,625, Niskayuna 3,578, Stillwater 3,553, Shenendehowa 3,506, Gloversville 3,456, Amsterdam 3,366, Troy 3,272, Schenectady 3,249, Shaker 3,233, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 3,159, Albany 3,070, CBA 3,014, Cobleskill-Richmondville 2,940, Cairo-Durham 2,013.
High triples: Kyle Smith (Niskayuna) 744, Josh Ross (Mohonasen) 722, Derek Bellamy (BH-BL) 704.
High singles: Steve Zarub (BH-BL) 300, Josh Ross (Mohonasen) 279.