Boys bowling: Harlem overtakes Stevenson in Cougar Classic
Defending boys bowling state champion Stevenson wanted to see how it would compare against some of the best bowling teams in the state on Saturday.
And the Patriots were right atop the leaderboard for most of the day -- until the final two games.
That's when Harlem took over to edge out Stevenson 6,262 to 6,174 in the 6-game Cougar Classic held at Brunswick Zone in Vernon Hills. Lake Zurich finished third (6,130) and Lake Park was fifth (5,872) in the 26-team event.
"This is the best meet we've all year," Stevenson coach Cody Mathias said. "We were looking good -- and then we were not carrying things and missed a couple of easy spares. There was nothing wrong with that, and we still bowled pretty good. We'll take the positive out of the negatives.
"Hopefully, our guys are started to see their potential now. It's a good time to realize how good they are. It seems like a state tournament with three of the top four teams here. It's a good test to see where you're at a month into the season."
Stevenson had a 49-pin lead over Lake Zurich and led Harlem by 105 pins after game four games. But Harlem rolled a 1,133 and followed that with a 1,040 in the final game to grab the lead.
Harlem's Dawson Jones was the individual champion with a 1,347 total over the 6 games. He threw 258, 279 and 200 over his last three games.
Zack Singer led the Patriots. He finished fourth overall, 18 pins back of the tournament leader with 1,329. Singer finished with a 219 final game.
"I had left four straight 7 pins (on the left lane)," Singer said. "I had made a move on that lane on every ball. I just couldn't tap it out. We were just 40 to 50 pins behind Harlem and we gave it our best shot. It just didn't go our way."
Stevenson's other bowlers were Gabe Gordon (1,274), Lucas Pinkus (1,220), Josh Singer (1,191), and Jake Kozak (1,160).
Lake Zurich was in the hunt until the final couple of games. The Bears were off and running in the opening game with an 1,143 and had hoped to stick with Stevenson.
"Our scores were right there, like we were in the regionals and sectionals last year," Lake Zurich coach Michael Sutton said. "We're proud of what we did against the best teams in the state from around here."
Billy Schroeder led the Bears with a 1,266 and got support from Trevor Madura (1,262), Eric Reusch (1,233), Connor Kottke (1,224), and Brett Schnur (1,145).
Lake Park's Chris Rinchiuso had his best-ever finish in a tournament, taking second with a 1,340, just 7 pins off the tournament leader.
Rinchiuso had games of 276 and 233 in games four and five to boost him up the leaderboard.
"I had a couple bad breaks, worked real hard --it just didn't work in my favor," Rinchiuso said. "In that big game I had the front-nine and then a spare in the 10th frame. When I saw that happen, I really thought I had a chance to take a medal."