Boys bowling: Pinkus shows Stevenson the way downstate
DeKALB -- One thing Lucas Pinkus has learned over his years bowling with Stevenson is how to lead.
This season in particular, the senior has shown the way on a squad heavy with freshmen and sophomores.
It certainly helps to have his background. Pinkus had a spot on the Patriots' championship team two seasons ago, and he'll be leading this year's group in another title pursuit.
Pinkus set a school record with his opening three games in the DeKalb sectional at Mardi Gras Lanes on Saturday, firing 280, 279 and a 278 for a sizzling 837 series in which he threw 32 strikes of a possible 36.
He followed up the afternoon set with games of 276, 256 and a 178 for a 710. His overall six-game series was 1,547 for an incredible 257.8 average. In the six games, he ended up with 54 strikes of a possible 72 and was the sectional champ by 51 pins over Seth Sikkema of Fulton.
"I was very nervous about what the shot was going to be like today," said Pinkus, who'd practiced on the lanes Friday. "I just told myself, 'You have to be confident in every shot you make,' and I'm pretty proud of it.
"I wasn't imagining of shooting in the 270s -- I imagined 230s or 240s. It's pretty amazing how I went to shoot those scores. Knowing that I shot my first 800 here, it's a phenomenal dream. I always wanted to shoot 800 anywhere. Now that I've done it, I can cross that off my bucket list."
Stevenson was one of six teams to advance to the state tournament at St. Clair Bowl in downstate O'Fallon next weekend. Harlem won 6,525 and is expected to repeat as state champion. Hononegah was second at 6,395 and will be joined at state by Stevenson (6,231), Freeport (6,090), Lake Zurich (6,079) and St. Charles North (6,058).
Stevenson missed making the trip downstate by just a handful of pins with a team that was expected to be dominant. Conversely, this year's Stevenson team -- excluding Pinkus -- is young enough that advancement came as a wonderful surprise.
"We went with four freshmen starting, and with Lucas (Pinkus), it just worked," Stevenson coach Cody Mathias said. "I think with the way Lucas bowled played a little bit of a part in it. Whenever you see someone bowling well, you want to follow them. He really energized everybody. They wanted to keep going with him, and he elevates players around him."
The other Patriots bowlers were Nicolas Sternes (1,207), Ryan Lerman (1,189), Joey Gluck (1,168) and Ben Ries (1,126).
Stevenson had five of its six games over 1,000. The best of them was a 1,155 in the Pats' fourth game.
Lake Zurich and St. Charles North were part of a big battle for one of the final three team qualifying spots.
The Bears came from behind, rallying from as low as the 10th spot after game three by finishing with games of 1,061, 957 and 1,051.
"We made it back from lunchtime, and to finish the way we did was the most incredible thing," Lake Zurich coach Michael Sutton said. "It's the most amazing sports accomplishment that I've been apart of. We always say one shot at a time, and worry about ourselves. We didn't want to scoreboard-watch, but it's easier to say that than it is in reality."
The Bears were led by Billy Schroeder (1,352), Trevor Madura (1,308), Eric Reusch (1,138), Brett Schnur (988), Jason Morrison (729), Jason Czabaj (213), Joey Kovanda (175) and Colin Davern (166).
St. Charles North also made it into the state field by just 2 pins. The North Stars edged out Rockford Guilford for the final spot.
"I just told the boys to bowl as a team, throw good shots, cover their spares and support each other," said St. Charles North coach Michelle Cook, who leads the program to state for the first time in eight seasons. "We were able to get through it as a team. We do have a young group of bowlers. They just kept it up and supported one another. They just believed in themselves."
Blake Miller led St. Charles North with a 1,348. Next came Mitch Leonard (1,256), Joey Rayner (1,202), Zachary Mundt (1,194), Brian Belzey (673) and Ryan Christman (385).
Greg Silverman become the first Grayslake Central boys bowler to reach state, as one of the seven qualifying individuals. Silverman posted a six-game total of 1,366, with games of 228, 236 and 253 for a morning set of 717, followed by 188, 213 and 248 for a 649.
"I feel amazing, I really can't describe it in words," Silverman said. "I felt like I could bounce back after the 188 and I threw two good games to get myself back in. Getting the 248 got me in, with the three strikes in the tenth."