SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady girls’ bowling team is definitely peaking at the right time.
After picking up a surprising runner-up finish in the recent Suburban Council Championships, the Patriots pulled off another major upset with a late charge to capture the Section II Class A Girls’ Bowling Tournament Wednesday at Boulevard Bowl.
Schenectady was locked in a four-way battle with Mohonasen, Columbia and Colonie, but a pivotal 1,023 fifth-game pinfall catapulted the Patriots to their first-ever sectional crown, according to longtime head coach Karen Daffner. Schenectady knocked down 5,647 pins, 35 ahead of perennial contender Colonie (5,612).
Leading the way for balanced Schenectady were Katie Polomaine, who fired triples of 575 and 670 for a 1,265 six-game block, and Kiara Beehm, who added a 1,128. Beehm was the catalyst in that fifth game with a 246. All five girls contributed, however, with Ashley Wolf (1,113), Shane’ Terry (1,099) and Selena Wolf (1,042) adding consistent totals.
Middleburgh avoided a huge sixth-game collapse and held on to not only win its third consecutive Class C crown, but the Knights also secured the small-school berth into the NYSPHSAA Championships, joining Schenectady as area reps next month at Strike N Spare Lanes in Syracuse. Lansingburgh won the Class B title with a pinfall of 5,303.
Also making the short trip to Syracuse will be the Composite Team, including Guilderland’s Lauren Buess, who rolled a sectional-best 1,336 six-game block, Hoosic Valley’s Emily Cumo (1,242) and Leigha Henkel (1,227), Glens Falls’ Jocelyn Smith (1,238) and Colonie’s Marissa Henze (1,231) and Abby Fruiterman (1,212).
“The key was that fifth game. We had a 1,023. I don’t really know what happened, but they all just rallied,” Daffner said. “I never thought we could really do this, because I’ve had stronger bowlers and stronger teams before. But this team really came together on the same day. We told them they could do this, and they listened They stayed positive, and they listened to what Sharon Sager told them to do, and made the adjustments accordingly.”
Sager, the assistant coach, is a longtime area standout in the women’s game, a junior program coach and a Schenectady USBC Hall of Fame member.
“I think some of the other schools knew we might be in the mix, because we took second at the Suburban Council tournament,” Daffner said. “It’s funny, because we beat Bethlehem twice during the regular season, but they came back to win the tournament."
Polomaine said she didn’t have time to be nervous.
“We all just stuck together and pulled through,” she said. “We cheered each other on. I think that’s what gave us our energy. We just told each other to breathe and take our time. I didn’t really feel pressure at all. I just wanted to go out and do it. I knew we had never won it before.”
Beehm was able to focus more because of her own big performance in that big fifth game.
“I was throwing a really high game, so I was into it,” she said. “The support from my teammates was really nice.”
Middleburgh almost let a 150-pin lead slip away, but the Knights held on behind Cameryn Shultes (1,226) and Jaidyn Rose (1,205). Shultes had a 287 high game and a 694 triple, while Rose nearly rolled a 300 game, settling for the high game of the tournament (298). She left a 6-10 on her last toss of that game.
“That’s three years in a row for us as sectional champs,” said Middleburgh coach Rich Shultes, also the proprietor of Middleburgh Lanes. “Last year, two of our girls made the Composite Team for states, but we lost out for a chance to go as a team because Cohoes beat us.
“I think the girls got a little nervous during that game after I told them where we stood, but they bowled well all day. With the girls I have this season, my oldest girl is just a sophomore, so I’ve got them for two more years. We have a really good junior program at our place, and that makes a big difference. We have a small house, but I’m very proud of how our teams bowled this year at sectionals.”
Team scores: Schenectady 5,647, Colonie 5,612, Mohonasen 5,582, Columbia 5569, Bethlehem 5,329, Ballston Spa 5,094, Averill Park 4,489, Saratoga Springs 4,260, Niskayuna 4,190.
High triples: Lauren Buess (Guilderland) 706, Katie Polomaine (Schenectady) 670, Cliza Arasim (Albany) 658.
High singles: Mackenzie Simmons (Mohonasen) 258, Kiara Beehm (Schenectady) 246, Caitlin Dubin (Bethlehem) 243.
Team scores: Lansingburgh 5,303, Cohoes 5,204, Schalmont 4,760, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 4,048, Mechanicville 3,836, Fonda-Fultonville 3,775.
High triples: Jocelyn Smith (Glens Falls) 656, Micaela Barbolt (Saratoga Catholic) 642, Kylee Bristol (Lansingburgh) 603.
High singles: Kristina Pondillo (Lansingburgh)235, Sierra Morris (Lansingburgh) 232, Abby Houser (Cohoes) 223.
Team scores: Middleburgh 5,351, Maple Hill 5,096, Fort Plain 5,023, Schoharie 4,755, Canajoharie 4,336, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 4,121, Mayfield 3,160.
High triples: Cameryn Shultes (Middleburgh) 694, Emily Cumo (Hoosic Valley) 693, Leigha Henkel (Hoosic Valley) 616.
High singles: Jaidyn Rose (Middleburgh) 298, Gabriella Jenks (Fort Plain) 246, Emma Oldick (Fort Plain) 2334.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.