South Kitsap bowls into district tournament

After getting off to a shaky start, the South Kitsap High School girls bowling team finished the regular season strong enough to earn the second and final berth into the district tournament Feb. 1 at AMF Bowlero Lanes in Lakewood.

Not bad for a program that just started this season.

Though SK entered January with a 2-7 record, the Wolves reeled off three straight wins, including No. 1 seed Olympic, Central Kitsap, and Shelton to earn the No. 2 seed out of the Narrows League Bridge Division despite a 5-7 record. Olympic finished 9-3, while CK and Shelton ended up 4-8.

SK coach Kathy Hamill said she’s been amazed at the improvement in her team’s play just over the last month.

Hamill said a lot of the credit has to go to former Central Kitsap bowling coach Wes Fitz, who lives in the Port Orchard area.

Fitz coached CK to back-to-back state titles in 2001 and 2002 before stepping down.

“We has been helping out with technique and the girls are getting more confident from it,” Hamill said. “During the last month we’ve worked really hard.”

SK juniors Samantha Campbell and Sierra Avea have been the top two bowlers for SK this season.

But Hamill said its the emergence of bowlers Cheryl Blowers, Ashleigh Cox, Bree Malloy and Jen Villalva that has led to SK’s success of late.

Individual play is not rewarded in high school bowling.

Only teams can advance in the post-season, so depth means everything for a team to succeed.

“Against CK, Sierra didn’t bowl because she had missed a practice,” Hamill said. “We had to win that one and the other girls stepped up. Because of that they started to believe in themselves. Now they think they can roll with (Campbell and Avea).”

Hamill said her girls will obviously feel the nerves as the event looms closer.

“We’re off this week so we’ll prepare the best we can,” she said.

SK will be one of 11 teams vying for two state berths.

All teams will open first round of play with a three-game tally of total pins.

The second round will consist of the Baker format, which means all

five varsity bowlers each bowl two frames in a game.

The top two scores from this format will advance to state. To advance to the Baker format, Hamill said a team will probably have to roll three-game series of 800.

A one-game roll of180 will need to be reached in the Baker format.

Even though there is no head-to-head competition with other teams, Hamill said the pressure is there since other teams are in the adjacent lanes trying to out-bowl everyone else.

“The key for us will be to focus on our own game and block each of the other teams out,” she said.

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