Just one bowler in the round-of-16 at the Div. 1 boys state bowling championships was throwing the ball with two hands in Sterling Heights on Saturday.
His name was Matt Buck, and the unconventional approach lead to the Rockford sophomore defeating University of Detroit Jesuit’s Ryan Reid in the championship round by a total pinfall of 397-370.
“It feels amazing. I had my coach, Paul Bellgraph, next to me all the way, throughout every shot,” Buck said. “I want to thank [him] for teaching me and helping me throughout the entire day.”
Bellgraph said that he was as hands-off as a coach could be.
“He just had this whole thing coming into today, that he was just going to have fun, and I said, ‘Make me a spectator,’ ” Bellgraph said. “He made me a spectator.”
The two-handed lefty rocked the Sterling Lanes crowd with excitement, an energy that he said eventually carried him in the later rounds.
“All the support from my family and everybody out in the crowd obviously helped me get through the tough times of missing spares,” Buck said. “It picked me up.”
Buck defeated No. 1 seed Trevor Morgan of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in the semifinal round by the narrow margin of 413-405. After taking a 32-pin lead into the second game, Morgan turned up the heat, but Buck was able to hold him off.
Reid had two of the three highest-scoring individual games of the tournament, posting a 255 in the round-of-16 and 233 in his quarterfinal matchup with Jeffrey Lizewski of Woodhaven.
Tanner Cartner of Oxford earned the second-highest score, throwing 235 in his victory over St. Clair Shores’ Lake Shore’s Jacob Frogge.
Alec Keplinger of Coldwater defeated Kyle Vermilyea of Cadillac with a total pinfall of 431-325 at Super Bowl in Canton.
In eight games, Keplinger threw six games over 200.
No. 16-seed Vermilyea threw a tournament-high 267 in his round-of-16 upset over top-ranked Logan Hoyt of Croswell-Lexington.
Javen Howes of Corunna captured the championship by a wide margin, defeating Portland’s Jack Dalman in the final round with a total pinfall of 429-317.
In the semifinals Howes defeated sophomore Kyle Nohel of Sanford Meridan, who upset top-seeded Zach Ray of Richmond in the round-of-16.
In his quarterfinal matchup with Justin Wolffis of Muskegon Orchard View, Howes threw a tournament-high 268. Dalman had the second highest score of the day, 256 in the quarterfinal round.
Luke Cantrell of Genesee defeated Keegan Campbell of Jackson Vandercook Lake with a total pinfall of 356-354.
Cantrell overcame a 47-pin deficit after the first game, throwing 199 in the second game to complete the comeback.
In the round-of-16, Cantrell threw a tournament-high 279 to defeat Dylan Junak of Ishpeming Westwood.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.