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BOWLING: Kennedy boys edge Flat Rock at Huron Holiday Classic (PHOTOS)

The Kennedy boys bowling team won the inaugural Huron Holiday Classic on Saturday at Flat Rock Lanes. Posing with the championship trophy are Coach Annettte DeLong (left), Tyler Maffesoli, Lucas Crider, Tyler Heaberlin, Klayton Williams, Coleman Kirk, Cody West, Mike Jones, Chris DeLong, Jeremy Bedo, Jacob Brophy and Coach Dan Dutcher. Photo by Dave Gorgon

The Flat Rock boys bowling team finished runner up in the inaugural Huron Holiday Classic on Saturday at Flat Rock Lanes. Team members include Coach Ernie Painter, (left), Wendell Rowland, Tyler Jackson, Aaron Wojtylko, Brett Zurawski, Luke Wooten, Steve Flotte and Brandon Bonner. Photo by Dave Gorgon

Kennedy High School Coach Annette DeLong said she saw fire in the belly of her boys varsity bowling team well before it entered Flat Rock Lanes for the start of the inaugural Huron Holiday Classic.

“These boys were out for blood,” DeLong said. “I saw it the minute they found out we were entering the tournament. They said, ‘We’ve got to win this. That’s the way it’s going to work.’”

The Eagles won the tournament on Saturday, defeating Flat Rock in the finals of high-scoring match play by 28 pins, 253-225, 231-224.

The Kennedy girls team came close to a sweep, taking their final match against Belleville to overtime before falling short by 32 pins.

The tournament used a Baker format, meaning all five bowlers contribute to each 10-game frame. The lead-off bowler rolls the first and sixth frames, the second bowler rolls the second and seventh frames, and so on.

Twelve boys teams and eight girls teams entered. After 12 Baker games, standings were calculated based on total pins. The top eight teams on both sides then competed in head-to-head two-game matches with the teams with the most total pins advancing to the next round.

The Kennedy boys totaled 2463 pins over the first 12 games to place second in the opening round to Huron Red (2528) – one of two boys teams entered in the tournament by the Chiefs. Huron had just three games under 200 and averaged 210 for the opening 12 games, including a 274 and 259 to close it out.

Rounding out the top eight were Roosevelt (2398), Monroe (2331), Flat Rock (2278), Belleville (2193), Carleton Airport (2163) and Southgate Anderson (2107).

Kennedy defeated Airport in the quarterfinals, 244-223, 233-180. Huron Red knocked out Anderson, 204-162, 210-151. Roosevelt eliminated Belleville, 184-137, 279-246. And Flat Rock rounded out the final four with a 195-204, 244-209 win over Monroe.

In the semifinals, Kennedy ousted Roosevelt, 216-186, 267-254, while Flat Rock stunned Huron Red, 205-187, 228-157.

Boys from both Kennedy and Flat Rock bowled superbly throughout the final six match games. The Eagles averaged 240 per 10 frames, while Flat Rock averaged 235.

Bowling in the finals for Kennedy were Mike Jones, Chris DeLong, Coleman Kirk, Cody West and Klayton Williams. Flat Rock’s lineup included Luke Wooten, Tyler Jackson, Wendell Rowland, Brett Zurawski and Aaron Wojtylko.

Junior anchor Williams said the Kennedy boys felt the Huron Holiday Classic was a must-win event, saying the Eagles showed the other 11 teams in the tournament they were serious this season.

“We’re a very confident team,” Williams said. “There was a lot of competition that we didn’t see until today. It’s good to see a lot of teams bowling competitively. That brings out the best in all of us and makes it more fun…

“We just felt like we had to get the respect of the other teams. This lets all the other teams know we’re ready to beat them.”

Williams said it was significant to win the championship at a first-ever tournament.

“That’s history,” he said. “Look in the record books; we’re the first team on that list.”

Coach DeLong credited Williams and West with standing out throughout the day.

“All in all, it was a team effort,” she said. “They kept each other in the game and picked each other up. That’s the camaraderie these boys have.”

Flat Rock Coach Eric Painter said he was “very pleased” with his bowlers.

“The boys responded well to the competition,” he said. “That’s the best this team has bowled this year and the last couple of years. They reminded me of the team we had from two-three years ago – that was a really strong team.”

Painter said his team “just clicked” and hoped it would be a sign of things to come. He said the boys have been working on Baker games in practice, but they exceeded their practice efforts. At one point on Saturday, two-hander Wojtylko threw 14 of 18 strikes when it was his turn to bowl, while freshman Rowland threw eight strikes in a row.

Since eight teams entered the girls’ side of the tournament, the first 12 games determined seeding for the head-to-head matches. Belleville placed first with 2197 pins in the opening round, followed by Flat Rock (2077), Kennedy (2036), Huron Red (1827), Woodhaven #1 (1770), Romulus (1645), Huron White (1504) and Woodhaven #2 (1444).

In the quarterfinals, Belleville eliminated Woodhaven #2, 179-128, 160-126. Kennedy beat Romulus, 226-133, 194-121. Flat Rock defeated Huron White, 159-116, 178-144. And Huron Red ousted Woodhaven #1, 191-146, 177-189.

In the semifinals, Belleville edged Huron Red, 178-179, 179-162, while Kennedy defeated Flat Rock, 233-183, 168-199. The 233 was the highest in girls match play and the second highest of the day to Belleville’s 267 in the opening round.

In the girls’ finale, Belleville beat Kennedy in the first game, 196-193. But the Eagles won the second game by three pins, 202-199, to tie up the match at 395-395 and send it to a five-frame roll-off.

An open in the second frame by the Eagles opened the door for Belleville, which got a strike from Tanishia Townsend and then three strikes from Danela Perez to win the tournament, 119-87.

Joining Townsend and Perez in the championship match were Belleville’s Sydney Wall, Alyssa Adams and Victoria Perez. Kennedy’s final-match lineup featured Andrea Claypool, Melissa Woloczyk, Alyssa Segura, Becca West and Morgan Alexis.

“For a championship match against a caliber team like that, I would never want for anybody to be blown out,” said Kennedy Coach Dan Dutcher. “I didn’t expect anything different – anything more, anything less.”

Dutcher used seven bowlers throughout the day, including June Bedo and Anna Hudak, and said he went with 12 different lineups.

Dutcher said watching both Kennedy teams in the finals was a great experience.

Huron Coach Larry Collins, who directed the first-ever Holiday Classic, said the day featured very good competition.

“The finals were thrilling,” he said. “When you have a roll-off for the girls’ championship, it’s extremely exciting.”

Huron and other teams will enter this Saturday’s Ladywood Annual Boys and Girls Bowling Tournaments at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton Township.

Last Updated: 1/3/2014 1:51:14 PM EST

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