Monday, March 6th, 2017
Roughriders bring home the gold
Division II Boys State Bowling: St. Henry's Buehler rolls perfect game
By Gary R. Rasberry
The St. Marys boys bowling team pose with their Division II state championship t. . .
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
Saturday was a memorable day for the St. Marys boys' bowling team.
Also, Saturday provided a memorable game for St. Henry's Trey Buehler.
The Roughriders captured the program's first-ever state title in the sport in winning the Division II state tournament on Saturday at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"We've been close so many times before. To finally make it to state and make the cut into match play was the number one goal," St. Marys coach Scott Ross said. "Our baker games were tremendous. The team really rallied together."
Buehler, competing as an individual, made history in bowling the first-ever perfect game in OHSAA state tournament history.
St. Marys was one of three West Ohio High School Bowling Conference teams to make the final round of eight teams competing for the championship. Coldwater, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner-up, was top seed after qualifying with a score of 3,619. St. Marys was the fourth seed with 3,429 with Versailles fifth with 3,376.
The Roughriders and the Tigers met in the quarterfinal of the championship round. Versailles won the first game 171-151 before St. Marys turned around and rattled off three straight games (231-168,184-160, 223-146) to win the best-of-five match and advance to face eighth-seeded Woodridge, which had upset Coldwater in five games (189-183, 143-172, 215-197, 176-206, 233-202) to eliminate the top seed.
"I really felt the first game (against Versailles) was horrible, but felt like we could beat them," Ross said. "We beat them pretty good. Those were pretty good teams that put us to the fire and we pulled it out under pressure."
The Bulldogs won the opening game 208-199 before the Roughriders once again turned the tables and won the next three games 212-200, 179-147 and 223-125 to advance to the championship match against Hillsboro, which had defeated Springfield Emanuel Christian 3-1 and Struthers 3-2 to make the final.
Game one of the best-of-five final was close until a little bit of misfortune on Hillsboro's 10th frame left St. Marys with a chance to rebound.
"They had us beat, almost, in the first game, but their first bowler split in the 10th," Ross said. "One of the kids added it up quick and said if Austin (Coon) got two (strikes) in the 10th, we'd win this game."
Cook, the WBL Bowler of the Year, came through to give the Roughriders game one 209-203.
"As soon as we beat them, that pulled the rug from out under them," Ross said.
That was all the momentum St. Marys needed as they dominated the second game 213-130. Needing just one game to wrap up the title, St. Marys didn't put the game on cruise control, dominating from the start and nearly winning by 100 pins in a 268-170 rout to complete the sweep.
"When we started the game, I told the kids I didn't care if we were up 2-0. I said we had to keep working and I'd let them know when they can quit," Ross said.
Cook just missed earning All-Ohio honors, finishing 17th with a 618 series. Cam Dingledine added a 587 and Logan Dircksen and Kelsey Shannon each bowled a 585.
"We didn't have guys at the top individually, but we had four really solid series,"Ross said. "I knew that would help having 4-5 guys because you can't rely on just one or two."
For Buehler, his moment of perfection came in the second game of the individual round of the tournament where all bowlers bowl a series. After rolling a 167 in the first game, Buehler started rolling strike after strike and came through with his first 300 in sanctioned play.
"I thought I would have a good chance when I practiced (Friday)," said Buehler, whose 637 series was good for eighth place and second-team All-Ohio honors. "I was hitting the lanes pretty good. ... I just took a deep breath before every ball. I was excited."
Buehler's perfecto was nearly the second of the day as Coldwater's Trey James started his individual round with 11 straight strikes. On the final roll, the 4-pin stubbornly stayed up, giving James a 299 game. James finished with a 682 series, earning the 2015 state medalist third place and first team All-Ohio honors.
Ben Schmitmeyer added a 586 for Coldwater and Cory Whitacre bowled a 585.