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Bowling Team Loves the Drama, Even in a Loss

Jared Gorman, Staff Writer

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Tuesday, January 16th at Howell Bowling Lanes. Allow me to paint the picture.

Bowling teams from all across the Shore bowling their hearts out in a very old-school Howell Lanes building that has seen much better days. Yet, the environment continues to defy odds and stay infectious. Beautiful prestige lanes with a glossy slime covering the top are all currently and simultaneously in use by some of the most fierce competitors you’ll ever see. The crashing of pins alongside with the very enthusiastic screams of, “Let’s Goooo!” fill up the venue with constant excitement. This is high school bowling at its finest. The Freehold Township Patriots, currently in first place, were taking on one of their rivals, and current second place team, the Howell Rebels. This was a marquee matchup and my goodness it did not disappoint.

The first game of the match started in astounding fashion. Township dominated in every aspect of imagination, and finished with four of five bowlers bowling OVER 200. Not too shabby if you ask me. The first game easily went to Freehold Township with a margin of victory just over 140. However, Howell was not going to go down easily or quietly for that matter.

The second game went back and forth with several momentum swings throughout. It even included a friendly warning from both coaches trying to calm their players down. However, with both teams right next to each other, the intensity only picked up, and the tension became palpable. Freehold Township’s anchor Thomas Laskay even got into it with Howell’s anchor, Robbie Wetzel, calling him out several times. Laskay would bowl a strike and then bark “what’s up Robbie!!” Robbie was hardly phased though as he matched and even out bowled Laskay in the second game responding with his own, “that’s what’s up Laskay!!” This seesaw battle of a second game ended up hardly being squeezed out by the Howell Rebels.

The match was knotted up at one a piece heading into the third and last game. Both teams were given pep talks from their respected coaches and were ready to go. The third game started out well for Township as they picked up pins left and right on Howell. While the game progressed, the other teams bowling around them slowly finished and died off. The surrounding lanes’ lights had shut off, creating a spotlight effect on this key matchup. The game remained tied following the first few tenth frame bowls. It was now up to Township’s Christian Cocuzza to attempt to create some separation. Howell’s Gus Horvath went first. He knocked down the front few pins but still left four pins on the table. His second shot took down just two of the four, which opened the door in a large way for Cocuzza. His first two shots resulted in a spare, which meant he got to bowl for a third time. He was in great shape to give a cushion to the Patriots. He picked up his ball, went through his pre shot routine, which entailed a few rocks back and forth, and then went in on his approach. The shot looked great off the release, rotating and curving from the far right side of the lane to the center. The ball made great initial impact, hitting the inside of the top pin. It had looked like all the pins were knocked over, but it turned out the ten pin (the pin on the far right side) was still standing. However, one of the pins had collided off the side and had started to roll over towards the ten pin. You could hear a pin drop (pun not intended) as all of Howell Lanes was waiting and watching in anticipation. The rolling pin made contact with the ten pin, it swayed back and forth a few times, and then just when you thought it was going to hold its ground, it DROPPED! The crowd went nuts. Christian slid to his left as he grasped air from the right, in an epic fist pump and then preceded to give high fives to his teammates and throw up an “X” to the crowd, representing his strike. The game was surely over as Township had picked up around twenty seven points. The following shot was Jeremy Geller’s. He shot a spare and an eight, but to his great surprise, Howell’s Brian Garofano drilled three strikes in a row! The result of this was a slight pin advantage for Howell, which was about four pins. This game was simply unreal, and now it was up to the anchors, Thomas Laskay and Robbie Wetzel. Robbie went first, and bowled a spare and and then an eight. Township was given a chance, all Laskay had to do was bowl a spare and a strike. His first shot knocked down nine pins. He then promptly grabbed his ball and took his approach right away. It looked good and it probably felt good too, but, unfortunately for him it was not– Laskay’s ball spin had flattened out at the worst possible time as he had missed the final pin remaining. In turn, resulting in a brutal loss for Township and a great win for Howell.

Well that was pretty exhilarating, no? If you want more, make sure to come out and support your school as the State’s Bowling tournament is approaching. The tournament begins February 3rd in New Brunswick– be there or be square.

 

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Bowling Team Loves the Drama, Even in a Loss