After averaging 209.2 per man in the morning, the Guilderland boys' bowling team nearly got derailed Friday afternoon when its leadoff bowler rolled 106.
A 72-pin lead over Colonie quickly turned into an 18-pin deficit with only two games remaining.
Lou Marini, in his 15th season as Guilderland coach, didn't alter his lineup. Junior Tommy Durand followed his 106 with 216 and 265, and the Dutchmen waltzed to their first Section II Class A title at Boulevard Bowl.
"I said to him, 'I trust you. I've got to know where you're at,' " Marini said. "He said, 'I can do it, Coach.' He comes back and shoots 265. It's been a great season, a great run with these kids."
Durand ignited Guilderland's 1,197 final game (239.4 average) as the Dutchmen expanded their 105-pin lead after five games into an impressive 274-pin victory.
"My head was in the clouds, but I tried to come back down," Durand said. "I didn't try to think about what happened before in the first game, I wanted to focus on how I could do for the second and third game. I was trying to make sure I make my spares and stay relaxed."
He also made a significant move in how he was playing the lanes, moving five boards to the left with his feet and four boards left with his target. It worked, and the momentum caught on with his teammates.
"After the first game and Tommy came back and got his first strike, that lifted everyone," said senior anchor bowler Brandon Indovina, who led all individuals with a 1,360 six-game total (226.7 average). We knew he was struggling. We saw the smile on his face, and he came back, and that just built confidence."
Telling for the Dutchmen, who finished third in the Suburban Council Tournament at Boulevard, was their ninth frame.
Four of their five bowlers were working on doubles, and all four extended their string of strikes.
"The ninth frame, we build the foundation," Marini said. "The 10th frame, we put the house on it. If the foundation isn't strong, the house is going to fall apart."
Guilderland may well have had its title wrapped up before then, but it was important to post as high a team score as possible. Only one team in all classes advances to next month's state tournament in Syracuse.
The Class B event is scheduled for Monday, and Class C/D is Tuesday, both at Boulevard and on the same lane conditions as the Class A bowlers had.
Until then, the Dutchmen can bask in their first championship.
"It was amazing," said senior Mete Rice, who was second on the team with 1,279. "From the fifth frame on, I was like, dude, we have this. We're going to win this. We pulled it off."
1, Guilderland 6,311. 2, Colonie 6,037. 3, Columbia, 5,798. 4, Mohonasen 5,730. 5, CBA 5,701. 6, Saratoga 5,683. 7, South Glens Falls, 5,621.
8, Amsterdam 5,434. 9, Niskayuna 5,370. 10, Gloversville 5,246. 11, Scotia 5,222. 12, Shenendehowa 5,197. 13, Shaker 5,185. 14, Bethlehem 5,062
15, Albany 5,024. 16, Burnt Hills 5,013. 17, Troy 4,952. 18, Queensbury 4,915. 19, Ballston Spa 4,840. 20, Schenectady 4,747. 21, Averill Park, 4,724
(Top six after Class B and C/D scores are added, minus members of the winning team, qualify for section team and advance to state tournament in March.)
1. Brandon Indovina (Guilderland) 1,360
2. Jon Smith (Columbia) 1,334
3. Zack Terry (CBA) 1,328
4. Mete Rice (Guilderland) 1,279
5. Brendan McGillin (Amsterdam) 1,273
6. Manny DiBella (Guilderland) 1,257
7. Kenny Livengood (Colonie) 1,254
8. Jarrett Morris (South Glens Falls) 1,252
9. Andrew Apollo (Guilderland) 1,236
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