Stephens, Lancour shoot improbable 300 games

Justin Stephens has already run out of fingers and toes, so now he needs one of those clickers used to keep count of crowds in stores, I guess.

The 34-year-old Negaunee resident bowled what is by my count his 22nd sanctioned 300 game during the 800 Mixed League at Superior Lanes on Friday night.

Two nights earlier, David Lancour, 23, of Marquette rolled his fourth perfecto at the same place in the Wednesday Industrial League.

Stephens picked a strange time to bowl his first perfect game this season. Despite holding an average that’s hovered between 240 and 245 most of the season, the best he’d managed was a 299 game and three series in the 790s, all just short of U.S. Bowling Congress honor score recognition.

So it was about time he shot 300, right? Sure, but he surprised himself after just completing what was possibly his lowest game of the season, a 156 to start Friday night’s shift.

“My normal ball has been terrible out there for a few weeks,” Stephens said, adding that he made the switch to his 15-pound Columbia 300 Complete Bedlam reactive resin ball in the ninth frame of his disastrous start.

“Then I totally changed lines and my style of how I was throwing the ball,” he said, detailing how he moved everything left toward the center of the lane while slowing down his speed.

The four shots he had at the end of the first game were enough to get him lined up for Game 2. But he followed it with another “subpar” game of 214 for a 670 series.

“I think that’s my fourth-worst series this year in the league,” he said. Despite hitting perfection, it was enough to knock his 243 average down a pin or two.

Lancour is a powerful lefthander who opened Wednesday night with 12 strikes in what has to be an even more improbable 300 than what Stephens rolled.

That’s because he had to bowl the game on two different pairs of lanes. His first pair, 3 and 4, broke down after one frame and needing a part that would take awhile to replace, the two teams on his pair moved over to lanes 11 and 12.

By USBC rules, you aren’t allowed any warm-ups when making this switch, so Lancour had to hope he could find the strike line right away on his new pair.

Mission accomplished.

Using his second choice of ball – a 15-pound Storm Marvel resin ball – Lancour added 220 and 223 for 743 to raise his 218 average probably up to 220.

With a number of leagues off for the holidays, here is a two-week combined Mining Journal Bowler of the Week report:

Marc Olson had a night to remember when he shot 781 in the Friday Nite Mixed League at Country Lanes, shooting 193 pins over his 196 average. He put together games of 288, 248 and 245 in the set.

Next was leaguemate John Lafountain, who went 142 over his 187 average with 703, including a 267; and Dave Kangas, who shot 134 over his 181 mean with 677 in the Wednesday Superior Iron Range Federal Credit Union League, again at Country.

For the women, Diana Waters was 118 over her 155 average with 583 in the Thursday Coors Light Ladies League at Country. She had games of 196, 217 and 170. Next came Coors bowler Joleen North at plus-106 over her 177 average with 637, including a 242.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.