By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — Piqua’s bowling teams celebrated their Senior Night.
But Troy’s both celebrated division championships.
Troy’s girls defeated Piqua 1,944-1,524 to clinch the Miami Valley League Miami Division title Tuesday at Brel-Aire Lanes in Piqua, while the Trojan boys held off a late challenge by the Indians to win 2,295-2,281 and finish in a first-place tie for the regular-season division crown.
For Troy’s girls, it was the seventh consecutive division championship as they improved to 11-4 overall and 7-2 in the MVL Miami, finishing one full game ahead of 6-3 Butler and winning the regular-season title outright — however, Sunday’s MVL Tournament will be the final point to decide the champion.
“It always feels good. That’s always our first goal, to win the division,” Troy girls coach Rob Dever said. “We’ll basically have a one-game lead going into the tournament Sunday. We haven’t sealed the deal until we can finish ahead of Butler in the tournament.”
The Indian girls dropped to 3-8 overall and 2-7 in the MVL Miami.
“The girls could have done a lot better,” Piqua girls coach Jason Jenkins said. “I’d like to see my girls go up and bowl like they know how. They have great potential. They just need to be there for each other and for the team. I’d really like for them to start challenging these teams that are always in first place like the Troys and Butlers.”
Kayleigh McMullen led the Trojan girls with 210-201—411, Morgan Shilt rolled 159-188—347, Kylie Schiml rolled 147-167—314, Adara Myers rolled 171-125—296 and Jami Loy rolled 170-117—287.
“We bowled really well our last time out, and we actually bowled pretty well today. This house isn’t known for high scores,” Dever said. “So I thought the girls handled everything well. They’re all positive right now, and I think we’re in a good place.”
Desiree Warner led the Indians with 178-143—321, Marleen Henke rolled 164-105—269, Katelyn Brown rolled 119-147—266, Katelyn Lear rolled 95-123—218, Lilla Miller added a 129 game and Jasmine Gilardi added an 84.
Troy steadily pulled away throughout the match, taking an 857-640 lead after the first game, a 1,655-1,287 lead after regular bowling and then winning the baker games 140-119 and 149-118.
Troy’s boys improved to 10-5 overall with the win and, more importantly, 7-2 in the MVL Miami Division, tying Butler for the MVL Miami lead — should Troy finish ahead of Butler Sunday, it would be the Trojans’ first league title since the 2012-13 season in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
“We feel good. It feels nice to get back to that position,” Troy boys coach Doug Stone said. “We don’t want to split it, though. We’d rather win it on our own.”
Piqua, meanwhile, fell to 5-6 overall and 5-4 in the MVL Miami with another narrow defeat to one of the league’s top teams. The Indians only lost to Butler by three pins in the first match of the season, 2,240-2,237.
“We’ve had a couple of those this year, been there a couple times,” Piqua coach Craig Miller said. “We lost to Butler by three pins and beat Greenville by two in the last baker game. Obviously we would’ve liked to have won tonight, but we’ll see what we can do in the conference tournament this Sunday.”
Troy used the strength of a big first game to hold on, jumping out to a 1,044-856 lead after the first game before Piqua cut the lead to 1,951-1,871 after two games of regular bowling. The Indians then trimmed two more pins off the lead in the first baker game, 194-192, to trail by 78 pins heading into the final baker game.
Piqua made it exciting, putting together a 216 in the final baker game, with Troy scoring just enough to hold on with a 152.
“It’s not something you want to do (make it exciting),” Stone said. “We were up 78 pins, and they rolled a 216 in the second baker game, beat us by a couple in the first one. It’s not something you want to see, but it happens.”
“We struggled in that first game,” Miller said. “We missed a bunch of spares we should have covered. It would have been a lot different story.”
Jordan Fisher rolled 218-192—410 to lead Troy as three Trojans topped the 400 series mark. Adam Shiltz rolled 233-171—404, Brayden Ganger rolled 212-189—401, Nathan Hamilton rolled 196-184—380 and Carson Rogers rolled 185-171—356.
For Piqua, Ethan Snyder rolled 206-215—421 to lead the way. Collin Snyder rolled 168-226—394, Nick Jess rolled 155-213—368, Ryan Fleisher rolled 195-172—367, Zach Henne added a 189 game and Dakota Foster a 132.
Piqua honored its varsity seniors on the night: Lear on the girls side, as well as junior foreign exchange student Henke, and Jess and Foster on the boys, as well as Trenton Snyder, who has split time with the varsity and JV teams this year.
“Nick, he had probably his best single night of the year. He struggled most of the season, had some ball issues, but tonight he was on and did really well,” Miller said. “Dakota Foster is a three-year bowler, and this is his first year on varsity. He struggled a little tonight, but that’s not his norm. It may have been excitement about Senior Night. We also had two seniors on JV this year, with Trenton bouncing back and forth between JV and varsity. They both learned a lot this year.”
“Katelyn’s a great person all around, and she’s the spark plug even though she’s the quiet one,” Jenkins said. “She’s a great team player and a great bowler. She’ll be missed. And Marleen is a junior foreign exchange student, so this will be her only year. She’s bowled well for just now picking up a bowling ball this year.”
Troy still has a non-league match Thursday at home against Springfield before Sunday’s MVL Tournament at Poelking South.
“We just want to go in a positive direction,” Stone said. “We want to keep going up instead of back. We’ve still got some things we’ve got to work on, but I think we’ll be okay.”
“We bowled really well against Versailles last week, who beat us earlier in the season, so that was nice,” Dever said. “And again, I thought we bowled well here tonight. So I think we have momentum going into the tournament. We’ve still got one non-league match left against Springfield, so that will be a nice challenge heading into the tournament.”
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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