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updated: 12/10/2012 9:16 PM

Cusack's clutch performance puts Prospect in MSL lead

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

A career night by Prospect junior bowler Nicole Cusack helped the Knights roll into sole possession of first place in the Mid-Suburban League.

Cusack fired a 277 -- the best in the MSL this season, and the seventh-highest game in Prospect history -- in a straight-game team victory over Buffalo Grove.

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The junior also had Monday's top series, a 640.

It was a terrific evening all-around for individual performances at Arlington Lanes as Sarah Wille of Hoffman Estates, the league leader in average, rolled a 268 and Phoebe Kim of Rolling Meadows finished with a top game of 266.

Cusack said she had no doubt as to who inspired her to bowl her top score ever -- a whopping 44 pins better than her previous high game.

"My teammates," said the junior. "They were here for me, and they kept the pressure off by keeping me silly and giggly. I was having a lot of fun out there."

Eight consecutive strikes by Cusack to open game two had many in the crowd thinking perfect game.

"I heard them whispering behind me, telling people to be quiet," said the junior. "At that point I started to get nervous and I was shaking."

Cusack's next ball was a little to the right, resulting in an 8-spare in the ninth frame. She fired two more strikes in the 10th en route to the 277.

"I'm excited," said Cusack, "especially coming here (at Arlington Lanes). It's a difficult place to bowl because you get tapped out a lot -- leave a lot of 10 pins."

Elk Grove, in second place only 2 points behind the Knights, defeated Schaumburg 7-2 with 2,916 pins knocked down as Allison Peters led the Grenadiers with a 635 series.

Hoffman Estates defeated Wheeling behind Wille's 625 series and a 207 game by Brandy Hoglund.

Palatine won against Fremd as Anna Lessner led the way with a 231 game, while Kim's 615 three-game mark helped the Mustangs beat Hersey.

Other scores of note Monday included games of 235 by Schaumburg's Danielle Yohe; 231 by Anna Lessner of Palatine; 220 from BG's Anna Haller; and a 215 by Fremd's Kayleigh Burnitz.

Abby Nix of Elk Grove rolled a 602 series; Sam Nowry's 200 game three led Wheeling; series of 566 by Annie Witt and 556 from Courtney Slavich led Conant to a victory over Barrington.

The Cougars, who just missed out on a state qualification last year, are in third place, nipping at the heels of the Knights and Grens.

"We've got a great attitude this year," said Slavich, a senior, who's father John is a professional bowler.

"Whenever we think about getting down on ourselves," said Slavich, who came into Monday's meet No. 2 in MSL average,"we just tell ourselves 'remember 8 pins'.

"That's how much we missed out on advancing to state last year, and that motivates us."

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