STREATOR — In a final-week tune-up for the boys before the IHSA postseason and mid-season meet for the girls, the Streator High girls and Ottawa High boys bowling teams left the Elks Club with victories Monday evening in downtown Streator.
The Pirates won two of three boys games and the series, 2,761-2,605, on Lanes 3 and 4 led by an outstanding 702 series from Keegan Fleming. The host Bowlin' Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, also won two of three and the series, 2,221-2,155, spearheaded by a strong 520 series courtesy of a back-from-injury Anna Jaworski.
The boys open regionals this Saturday, with Streator and Ottawa both competing at Town and Country Lanes in Joliet.
Fleming — with games of 246, 212 and 244 — looked more than ready, crediting his first career 700 series, at least partially, to the fact the Streator Elks doesn't have electronic scorekeeping to draw his eye and compete for his focus.
"That was my first 700, because most of the time I'm pretty inconsistent," Fleming said. "I get too much in my head and I look at my score too much. I avoided that today ... (and not having a digital scoring display) helped. Back home, I cover it with a towel. That helps too.
"(As regionals open) I'm going to try to repeat what I did tonight, but if I can't I'm going to try to get somewhere close and try stay out of my head."
Ty Trovero's 554 series (195, 196 high games), a 551 series (215) from Zander Parise, and Jordan Goff's 547 series (181, 178, 188) also paced the Pirates, with Colin Sheridan (163) also adding a solid game. Ottawa lost the opening game by 20 pins before taking the next two.
The Streator boys' strong start came behind a 240 opening game from Brady Grabowski, who added a 196 and 181 to close out with a team-best 617. Ashton Kling's 559 series (193, 192, 174 games) and Adam Kruger's 554 (205, 182) also paced the Bowlin' Bulldogs, with Carson Trenor right behind with his 469 series.
While Ottawa's boys rallied for their victory, the Streator girls secured theirs early by claiming the opening two games over their guests from up Route 23.
While Gabby Pickens with a 468 series (167 high game), Hallie Ligori with a 438 (159) and Felicity Kruger with her 436 (177) put in solid series for the Bowlin' Lady Bulldogs, Jaworski — in her first competitive action since suffering a knee injury just over a month ago — opened strong with a 197 game and closed out with a 520 series (197, 178).
"Today's my first day back," said Jaworski, "and the beginning was a struggle. But for me to come out and try and have everyone else supporting me, it came out better than I had hoped.
"Today was a lot better than I had hoped, actually."
For Ottawa — short a player and credited with a vacant score each game 10 strokes below Streator's lowest tally for that game — Alex Graham-Harris scored a 416 (156 high game), Michaela Boaz rolled a 459 (177), Laura Pool recorded a 472 (159, 171), and sophomore McKenzie Lewis led the way by marking a 479 series (158, 196 high games).
"Our team, especially me, started off rocky," Lewis said, "but as we progressed, we all kind of talked to each other tried to cheer each other up. The last game we were having a lot of fun, and that helped us come back.
"For me, I figured out where to stand and how to throw the ball. I was sort of guessing the whole first game."
Girls regionals are scheduled to be contested Feb. 8, with Streator going to Spare Time Lanes in Decatur and Ottawa to Crest Hill Lanes in Crest Hills.