The Panther bowlers spent the first few weeks of the season on the road. Tuesday, the teams returned to the friendly confines of the Walnut Bowl in Great Bend to beat Liberal and Holcomb.
On the boys’ side, Great Bend finished with 2,521 pins. Liberal finished with 2,253 pins, and Holcomb rolled a 2,068.
“It’s the first meet of the year at home,” said Great Bend senior Kendall Lloyd. “We wanted to come out and establish that this is our home turf and we’re not going to go away.”
The Panthers had the top-three individual series. Junior Jacob Holden rolled a 660 to beat Lloyd by a single pin. Jordan Black just missed a 600 series with a 585.
“It’s always good to be home,” said Great Bend coach Mike Perry. “We’ve been on the road for the first three weeks of the season. They’ve been pushing each other each night in practice and it’s nice to see the camaraderie between them.”
Lloyd had the high game for most of the day after opening with a 239. He bowled a 201 in his second game as Holden warmed up with a 221. Bowling side-by-side for most of game three, the Great Bend duo put up nearly identical games.
Each bowler opened game three with five-straight strikes, then left a 10-pin in the sixth. “It’s kind of weird because I’m left handed and usually leave the seven pin,” Holden said. “For me it’s a little frustrating,” said Lloyd. “Ten pins are a little frustrating.”
Holden picked up his spare while Lloyd did not. Both bowlers added two more strikes before faltering in the ninth. Holden caught a break on a near-split and picked up the spare. Lloyd was not as lucky, picking up two pins of a 3-pin split. Both bowlers opened the 10th frame with nine pins.
The relatively new bowler Holden finished with a 247 to take over with the high-game. He began the sport as a middle schooler and has worked his way to a league average of 218. “I’ve progressed quickly because I come out and practice a lot and listen to what my coaches tell me so I can get better,” he said.
Kameron Keenan finished his day with a 203 to compete Great Bend’s team scoring with a 567. Liberal’s Eric Gomez finished fourth overall with a 573 series. He peaked out at a 217 in his final game of the afternoon. Mitchell Irby rolled a 199 in game three to finish with a 522 for the Redskins. Connor Wilson started out slow with a 127 but finished with games of 212 and 205 for a 544 series.
Holcomb’s Conner Younkman paced the Longhorns with a 541 series. He opened his day with a 201 and finished with a 541. Peyton Leonard topped out at 191 for a 526 series, and River Amos opened his day with a 192 game and finished with a 505 series.
Great Bend girls 2,174, Holcomb 1,750
The Lady Panthers ran away with Tuesday’s competition but Liberal and Holcomb went toe-to-toe. The Longhorns edged their Class 5A counterparts by a mere six pins for second place. Great Bend started hot with 783 pins in the first game but tailed off to just 682 pins in the final game.
“We started out really well then it looks like it tapered off,” Perry said. “I think we lost a lot of energy coming out of the gate. That’s something we’re going to have to work on is pacing ourselves and maintaining that energy.”
Allie Brodrick was the lone girls’ bowler to crack 600 with a 610 series. She opened with games of 235 and 201. Holcomb’s Tiana Hipp was the only other bowler to break 200 with a 202. She finished with a 490 series to lead the Lady Longhorns.
Great Bend’s Hanna Pfeifer opened with a 187 and 182 to finish with a 527 series for second place. McKenzy Black rolled a 501, and Elsi Miller capped team scoring with a 495. Jordan Vsetecka and Kylynn Keeler each rolled a 486 for the Lady Panthers.
Liberal’s Kaleigh Cobb had the only other 500 series at 502. She finished strong with a 177. Teammate Marissa Hinz started strong with a 180 in her first game. She tailed off for a 485 series.
Holcomb’s Keana Hipp finished with a 170 to bump her series to 432. Gracen Becker rolled a 411, and Taylor Schiltz was the other team scorer with a 408.