SCHENECTADY — “My head was in the clouds. I tried to come back down,” Guilderland leadoff bowler Tommy Durand said after rolling a 106 game to open up the afternoon block, and then watched his team’s lead over Colonie slip away.
But Durand and his Dutchmen teammates regrouped with a monster final game of 1,197 Friday at Boulevard Bowl, as Guilderland defeated the 15-time champion Garnet
Raiders for its first Section II Class A Bowling Championship.
Guilderland finished with a total pinfall of 6,311. Colonie was second with 6,037, followed by Columbia with 5,798. In order for Guilderland to advance to its first-ever New York State Public High School Athletic Association Bowling Championship, the Dutchmen must finish with a higher pinfall than the Class B and Class C-D champions, who bowl Monday and Tuesday, respectively, weather permitting, back at Boulevard Bowl.
Durand made up for his poor showing in the fourth game of the day by shooting a 216 in the fifth game, and then a huge 265 finale that included eight strikes in a row.
“I was mostly having a problem getting lined up, but I finally moved five boards to the left with my feet and tried to trust the shot,” Durand said.
In that pivotal final game, Mete Rice added a 237, followed by Manny DiBella with a 248, Andrew Apollo with a 189 and anchor bowler Brandon Indovina with a 266 as the Dutchmen pulled away to win comfortably. Indovina led the Dutchmen with a 677 triple in the morning block and a 683 triple in the afternoon for a total of 1,360, the best individual performance of the day.
“I’ve bowled a lot with the Colonie bowlers in the juniors, and I know most of them, especially Kenny Livengood,” Indovina said. “It helped watching him and seeing how his ball was reacting, so I could make the same moves. We throw the ball a lot alike.
“After our top bowler had that 106 game, we knew we needed to have a big game. When Tommy got that first strike in the last game, he smiled and relaxed. We all felt better.”
Rice, who shot a 684 triple in the morning block, agreed that the Dutchmen lost a lot of their momentum early in the afternoon session. “I was a little worried. We needed a little boost,” he said. “In the last two games, we all loosened up.”
Guilderland’s performance was so dominant on the challenging conditions that four Dutchmen finished among the top nine individuals. Rice was fourth with a 1,279, DiBella was sixth with a 1,257 and Apollo was ninth with a 1,236.
“This is a special group of kids,” 15th-year Guilderland bowling coach Lou Marino said. “They never gave up. It’s been a great season. They fed off each other all year. It
definitely helped today that we were bowling with Colonie in the afternoon block. They are a great team. The guys were a little tight in the morning, but once they got locked in, they made the right moves.”
The key, according to Marino, was how the Dutchmen were able to record strikes in the ninth and 10th frames.
“We’ve been close many times over the years. We contended a lot, finishing second or third,” Marino said. “This is the first time we’ve won. I’d have to say this is probably my best team ever.”
Jon Smith of Columbia (1,334), Zack Terry of Christian Brothers Academy (1,328), Brendan McGillan of Amsterdam (1,273), Livengood of Colonie (1,254), Jarrett Morris of South Glens Falls (1,252) and Cole Champagne of Colonie (1,230) were other individual standouts.
Team scores: Guilderland 6,31, Colonie 6,037, Columbia 5,798, Mohonasen 5,730, CBA 5,701, Saratoga Springs 5,673, South Glens Falls 5,621, Amsterdam 5,434, Niskayuna 5,370, Gloversville 5,246, Scotia-
Glenville 5,222, Shenendehowa 5,197, Shaker 5,185, Bethlehem 5,062,
Albany 5,024, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 5,013, Troy 4,952, Queensbury 4,915, Ballston Spa 4,840, Schenectady 4,747, Averill Park 4,724.
Top individuals: Brandon Indovina (Guilderland) 1,360, Jon Smith (Columbia) 1,334, Zack Terry (CBA) 1,328, Mete Rice (Guilderland) 1,279, Brendan McGillin (Amsterdam) 1,273, Manny DiBella (Guilderland) 1,257, Kenny Livengood (Colonie) 1,254,
Jarrett Morris (South Glens Falls) 1,252, Andrew Apollo (Guilderland) 1,236, Cole Champagne (Colonie) 1,230, Danny Sleight (Saratoga Springs) 1,229, Kyle Fortin (Columbia) 1,210, Dom Favata (Niskayuna 1,200).
Reach Bob Weiner at Weindog58@gmail.com or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.