By Rob Kiser
The Piqua girls bowling team has knocked down some big pins in the last couple weeks and hopes to keep doing that.
After beating Centerville for the first time in the round-robin format of a tournament two weeks ago, Piqua knocked Troy off for the first time ever at Brel-Aire Lanes Tuesday night to gain a share of the lead in the GWOC North.
Not only did they join Troy at 3-1 in the GWOC North, they handed the previously 11-0 Trojans their first loss while improving to 5-3.
“I have had confidence in this team all season,” Piqua girls bowling coach Jason Jenkins said. “There have been few letdowns, but I have been pushing the girls all year. Hopefully, wins like Centerville and Troy will get them going.”
And one thing is they do it as a team.
Early this season, freshman Kyra Buchanan torched the lanes for a 437 two-game series to earn JJ Huddle Girls Bowling Athlete of the Week.
“I think it did (give her confidence),” Buchanan said. “I never expected for us to have a season like this.”
Senior Sarah Ganger earned the same honor recently after a 438 series against Sidney.
“I didn’t expect this (the team’s success) at all,” Ganger said. “When we beat Centerville, that was definitely a confidence builder.”
The win over Centerville came at the Buckeye Classic.
“Definitely, I think the win over Centerville gave us a lot of confidence,” LeAnn Beaty, a senior who leads the team with a 181 average, said.
That set the stage for Tuesday night and a 2,198-2,167 win over the Trojans in dramatic fashion.
Beaty had led Piqua in the two-game series with games of 215 and 216 for a 431, but senior Whitney Biddle and junior Rayna Brownlee were close behind.
Biddle had games of 198 and 201, while Brownlee rolled games 191 and 203 to keep Piqua in the match and junior Ariel Miller had a 158 game.
“We have done it as a team all year and that was the case again,” Jenkins said.
But, after the first baker game, the Indians trailed Troy by 59 pins with one baker game to go.
“We knew we were going to have to bowl really well,” Beaty said.
As the game went on, it became clear Piqua had the momentum.
“We didn’t know exactly where we stood,” senior Hannah Smith said. “I think we do better when we aren’t looking at the score.”
While Troy rolled a 134, Brownlee finished off an amazing 224 game for Piqua in style, throwing three strikes in the 10th frame to seal a 31-pin victory.
“I was up in the 10th frame of the baker game,” Brownlee said. “I knew it was close. The Troy girl opened and I struck out (rolled three strikes in a row). I hope so (that it raises the team’s expectations). I am hoping this team goes a long way.”
Jenkins gave the team the good news.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Beaty said. “I wasn’t sure we won until he (Jason Jenkins) told us.”
The girls hope they can ride that momentum.
“We have had some close matches with Troy, but we had never beaten them,” Miller said. “It was exciting to knock off an unbeaten Troy team and put us in a tie (for first) in the league. I think this does raise our expectations.”
Buchanan said the team has a way of keeping everything in perspective.
“I think we were pretty calm about everything (during the baker game),” she said. “We will just take it from here, bowl our best and see what happens.”
Jenkins has big expectations — as he should.
“We have a match with Miamisburg (today) and then bowl a tournament this weekend,” he said. “Hopefully, we can just keep it going from here. This is the best group of girls I have coached.”
As they showed in knocking down another big pin Tuesday night.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.