Allen Park — The pins were falling and almost every frame in the final game was a mark for New Baltimore Anchor Bay girls bowling, but momentum quickly shifted in Jenison's favor Friday evening at Thunderbowl Lanes.
Following an improbable strike by Lauren Slagter on which one pin knocked down three that were standing, the momentum shifted, giving Jenison its first Division 1 title, 1,307-1,200.
“That’s the way bowling is," Anchor Bay coach Buddy VanWieringen said. "It’s tough to lose it, but that’s the game. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose.”
That strike seemed to set off a string of mark frames with Jenison turning a hefty deficit in the final game into a comfortable lead.
"The bowling gods came to us," Jenison coach Kim Becker joked. "(The girls) came together. They pumped each other up, they picked each other up."
After two Baker games with Anchor Bay, Jenison had a 38-point lead with one final full game to play. It found itself down by 60 in the final game, but clawed its way back to win by 69 in the third leg of the championship and 107 pins overall.
VanWieringen was pleased with his team despite the loss. Anchor Bay was the highest-scoring team in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.
“The girls bowled fantastic," VanWieringen said. "This is the best team I’ve had in quite a few years. I’ve had some great coaching staff help. We're going to have another good team next year."
Another year, another Flint Kearsley title as it secured its sixth straight under head coach Robert Ploof. Kearsley has won seven of eight titles as the clear No. 1 team in Division 2.
It locked up the No. 1 seed after the qualifying round and had the highest score overall in the quarterfinal and semifinal, beating Coldwater and Charlotte, respectively.
Coloma earned its second title, beating Birch Run in an intense final, 1,112-1,104. Its last state championship was in 2010 and it was runner-up in 2015.
As the No. 1 seed after the morning qualifier, Coloma was the team to beat Friday. It took down Stanton Central Montcalm and Cheboygan to reach the finals.
Bronson was the only school in this year's bowling state finals to capture both the boys and girls titles. It entered the quarterfinal as the No. 3 seed and beat Brown City and Vandercook Lake convincingly to set up a final matchup against top-seeded East Jackson.
The No. 1 seed couldn't fend off a hot Bronson team as the latter won, 1,043-935. This was the first girls bowling title in school history.
Connor Muldowney is a freelance writer.