Lake Zurich, Stevenson earn state-qualifying berths
ROCKFORD -- Lucas Pinkus was watching all day long, waiting for his chance to help Stevenson's boys bowling team but not knowing he'd even get the chance to compete.
That chance did come, in the final game of the Rockford East sectional at Don Carter Lanes on Saturday afternoon.
The sophomore was called off the bench and more than met the challenge, delivering an impressive 247 game which included him striking out with 9 straight.
"Coming in was probably the biggest thing in my life," Pinkus said. "They needed that to put us in (to state). Knowing that I shot it made me feel proud that we had a chance at state. I was actually relaxed, and nothing was going through my mind beforehand. I just had to hit my shots. I was just ready for it."
Stevenson made a strong push over its final two games, rallying from 12th place and 131 pins down in the 16-team field. The Patriots knocked down the final qualifying team spot in sixth place and will bowl at St. Clair Lanes in O'Fallon next weekend.
The Patriots (6,076) rolled games of 1,072 and 1,044 to earn another state trip.
"It shows the resolve in these guys, and they didn't quit," Stevenson coach Cody Mathias said. "They didn't quit and they could've gone home after four games. They just kept going, and it's hard to believe. To make that jump showed that they wanted it."
Lake Zurich also advanced after finishing third with 6,181 pins.
"It's awesome in a tough field, and we reached our goal," Lake Zurich coach Mike Sutton said. "Now we're on to state. All year long we talked about why we're here, and our goal all year was to make the state tournament."
Harlem was the sectional champion (6,550), and Hononegah was the runner-up (6,251), Rockford Auburn placed fourth (6,164) and Sycamore was fifth (6,098).
The Bears had four of their six games over 1,000, with high games were 1,105 and 1,103. Connor Kovanda led the Bears with a 6-game total of 1,337 which placed him 10th. He rolled 5 of his 6 games over 200, with his highest game being a 270. Some of the other scorers for Lake Zurich were Gary Boege (1,224), Connor Kottke (1,204), Trevor Madura (1,116, 5 games), PJ Waul (957, 5 games), Billy Schroeder (204, 1 game) and Tommy Keefe (139, 1 game).
Richy Zenner led the Patriots with 1,337 and had a high game of 248. Others for Stevenson scores came from Eddie Mendrala (1,255), Ted Tapas (1,187), Zach Singer (1,135), Josh Singer (934, 5 games) and Pinkus (247).
In its second straight state trip, Stevenson hopes it learned something from last year's experience. The Patriots were in the running for a state trophy last season and missed out on the second day. Perhaps a finish like Saturday's will benefit the team next weekend.
"A lot of times in tournaments, we wouldn't finish," Mathias said. "But I think they know they can finish now. We would be up in a lot of tournaments and we would let it go away. I know that this team doesn't quit."
The other advancing individuals included Nate Stubler of LaSalle-Peru (1,482), Isaak Carlton of McHenry (1,389), Larry Tripamer of Belvidere (1,374), Garrett Nelson of Belvidere North (1,368), Julian Dyson of Freeport (1,359), Derek Poole of Oregon (1,324) and Daniel Pottorff of Dixon (1,317).