Splits, spares and strikes: Ishpeming comes back to win boys team title, girls finish as runners-up in U.P.

Maybe it wasn’t a banner day for the Ishpeming boys high school bowling team.

But then again, the Hematites, or more correctly, the Hematites-Miners have enough talent to power their way through many so-so days on the lanes.

That kind of sums up what coach Steve Windahl said about their day at their home Red Rock Lanes on Saturday during the Upper Peninsula Bowling Conference’s boys team playoffs.

Ishpeming only had the third-highest total in the six-game Baker round, where teammates bowl alternating frames to come up with a single-game score. Then the Hematites gave away some more pins in the first game of regular team bowling.

But they found their stride after that and walked away with an 82-pin victory over Escanaba’s A team.

Earlier in the day, the UPBC girls teams had their own playoff and Escanaba A’s girls won that by 97 pins over runner-up Ishpeming.

Back with the boys, Ishpeming averaged just 159 in the Baker round, a part of the game that the team was particularly strong in during the regular season.

But they were less than 25 pins behind L’Anse A, though it was Marquette A that would prove to give them their next tough battle.

In the regular team bowling, Marquette A’s Jess Bianchi shot 256 in Game 1 and Trevor Buchanan had 224 as their team took over the lead temporarily, shooting nearly 100 pins better than Ishpeming.

But despite having just one 200 game the rest of the way, a 203 by Lucas Solka, Ishpeming averaged nearly 180 the final two games to pull away from the field, rolling up a 3,624 total.

For the day, U.P. boys singles champ Kirk Guckenberg led the way with 571 on games of 190, 183 and 198, while fellow senior Austin Wilkins added 563 (176-198-189), Solka 544 and Matt Kilberg 517. Andrew Maki and Daren Johnson combined for 477, each bowling a full game and part of another.

Then came Escanaba A, Menominee A and Marquette A in fourth with 3,455. Bianchi finished with 602, Drew Scott 523, Buchanan 515, Caleb Kaznowski 480 and Brandon Young 416.

L’Anse A was fifth with 3,174, though individual scores weren’t available, followed by Marquette B with 3,127. That team had seven members available and substituted freely, with Garrett Flores getting a three-game score of 409.

Westwood was eighth with 2,757, paced by Matt Hegman’s 444 and Lucas Ferguson’s 441, and L’Anse B was 14th with 1,847.

The eight-team girls race was won by Escanaba A with 3,375, followed by Ishpeming with 3,278. Those two teams had a set of Baker games better than all but one boys team, Esky amassing 994 and Ishpeming 967.

Though the Hematites took over the lead after Game 1 of regular bowling powered by Jamie Olson’s 178 and Kaytlynne Carlson’s 177, Esky came back with a pair of the only 800 team games by any squad to grab victory.

Carlson finished with 506, Olson 495, Kaylee O’Connor 448, Kassey Kytola 433 and Kassy Harsila 429.

Marquette was third with 3,018 as Aubrey Owens shot 463, Ashley McIntire 460, Brianna Holm 439 and Olivia Mattocks 396. UPBC girls singles champ Alexa Ingram had to pull out after one game due to injury, and she and Hannah Crampton combined for 426.

Westwood was fourth with 2,861 as Amanda Prophet opened with 211 and shot 521. Three-game totals were also turned in by Kendra Musselman with 420, Kathryn Kulju 411 and Brooke Bartol 370.

Now onto The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6:

The guys not only had a tie, but it came from two bowlers in the same league, the Wednesday Industrial at Superior Lanes. One co-winner was David Lancour, who was part of the huge Auto Spa team score I wrote about here last week. He was 140 pins over his 214 average with 782 on games of 257, 267 and 258.

He shares honors with Erik Vanlangendon, who was also 140 over his 199 average with 737 on games of 278, 245 and 214.

In third is Daniel Woodruff of the Friday Nite Mixed at Red Rock at 127 over his 156 average with 595 and a 215 top game.

For the ladies, Mary Grady zoomed 130 pins over her 147 average in the Thursday Night Ladies at Red Rock, shooting 571 on games of 189, 208 and 174.

Next was leaguemate Cis Dompierre, who went 92 over her 149 average with 539 and a big game of 199, followed by Nancy Gaines of the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior, 79 over her 95 average with 364.