Western Athletic Conference foes Great Bend and Garden City bowled-off at the Walnut Bowl in Great Bend Tuesday afternoon. The Panther boys swept the Buffaloes in the first three games, then won two of the three Baker format games. The Great Bend girls won two of the three games, but managed to win only one game in the Baker format.
“The boys seem to be clicking again,” said Great Bend Coach Mike Perry. “We still have a lot of room for improvement, but we remain focused and will continue to work.”
Great Bend finished with 868 pins in game one, led by Daniel Herrman’s 234. Dakota Conaway knocked down 231 pins, and Eric Ruiz also cleared the 200-mark with a 211.
The senior Conaway, co-captain alongside Ruiz, dominated the series race with a 712. That included a 255 middle game he opened with seven straight strikes. Conaway finished his day with a 226.
Ruiz had the next best series with a 674. He finished strong with games of 232 and 231 to reach that mark. Herrman was the only other Panther to break 600 with a 620. He finished strong with five strikes to round out game three with a 207.
Jeff Meitler rolled a 553 series for the Panthers, followed by Kolt Ramey’s 543, and Mark Lang’s 482. Ramey’s day was offset by a 148 game one, after which he posted scores of 194 and 201.
Mickey Bridges was the lone Buffalo bowler to hit 600 with a 622 series. Bridges split games of 182 and 185 with a 255 performance in game two. He hit six strikes in a row in that game to tie Conaway for the high-game.
“We had some bright spots out there today, but all-in-all, we didn’t bowl to our potential,” Garden City Coach Kip Nichols. “We struggled on the lanes and just couldn’t find a good shot to play, and couldn’t be consistent when we did find it. We’ll be better next time we get on the lanes. This house has always been a tough house for us to bowl in and today wasn’t any different.”
Tristan Funk never rolled a 200 on the day but finished with a 576 series to finish second on the team behind Bridges. Theron Kells hit four strikes in a row to finish with a 221 in game two, finishing right behind Funk with a 574 series. Juan Ramirez finished strong with a 222 in game three for a 556 series.
Kieran Henderson and Avery Turner also bowled for the Buffaloes, finishing with 536 and 501 pins, respectively.
In the Baker format, Great Bend took game one 181-157, and game three 205-134. Garden City won game two 213-158.
On the girls’ side, Great Bend co-captains Miranda Hejny and Kelli Kirmer were the only two bowlers to reach 500 with a 530 and 510 series, respectively. Hejny saved her best for last with a 193 in game three to take the series title. Kirmer bowled her 193 in the opening game.
“ The girls varsity team is trying to find its stride,” Perry said. “We still have the lead in the WAC, however, we failed to capitalize on taking advantage of our home matches.”
Jessica Sterba was consistent on the day to finish with a 476 series. Sterling McAllister also bowled games of 160 and 161 to finish with a 447 series. Addie Soukup and Alex Eye also bowled for the Lady Panthers, finishing with series totals of 445 and 421, respectively.
Garden City’s Vicki Newell had the high-game with a 215 in game two. She added games of 133 and 147 to come up just short of 500 with a 495. Right behind her, Alexa Hemmert rolled a 170 in game three for her best score to finish with a 485 series. Brittany Palomino rolled a 453, and Amanda Deihl a 449 for the Lady Buffs. Tansy Park and Jensen Strasser were the other two Garden City bowlers, finishing at 418 and 409, respectively.
In the Baker format, the Buffaloes struck back, taking the first two games 161-157 and 178-145. Great Bend won the final game 154-136.
“Overall, we’ve bowled pretty well,” Nichols said. “We took eight points when were down in Liberal last week. We took 10th in the Bishop Carroll tournament in Wichita a couple weekends ago. Overall, I think we’re going to be okay.”