The Jackson Memorial boys bowling team came up one win short of the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions at Carolier Lanes on Friday.
The Jaguars fell to Group III winner Sayreville 3 games to 2 in the best-of-five Baker finals.
The Jaguars were the only Shore Conference team to qualify for the TOC after winning its third straight Group IV title with a final team score of 3,304 pins. That score was the tournament best and gave the Jaguars the top-seed in the TOC.
Jackson Memorial defeated Group I winner Arthur L. Johnson in three straight games in the semifinals. Sayreville also answered the call after sweeping Ewing in three straight games as well.
As most were expecting, the finals proved to be the most exciting series of the day. The Jaguars jumped out to a 1-0 lead after senior anchor and this year’s NJSIAA individual tournament champion Mike Ormsby hit three straight strikes in the 10th frame.
Sayreville responded in game 2 by stringing together nine straight strikes and an impressive winning score of 279. Jackson Memorial took game three, 226 to 184, but Sayreville again answered right back with a game four win of 267-165.
In the fifth and decisive game, Sayreville filled just enough frames to take the title 194-163.
For Jackson Memorial head coach Anthony Buczynski, it was tough to see his team come so close.
“You have to give them (Sayreville) credit, they made the right moves when they needed too,” Buczynski said. “As a whole we bowled really great, there is more positive to take out of this season than this one Baker roll-off.”
There were many postives for the Jaguars this season, including the Ocean County Tournament title, Shore Conference Tournament title, and the school’s fourth-ever Group IV title.
Jaguars seniors Ormsby and Don Kane also had a season to remember. Their leadership was clearly a factor in the Jaguars’ success this season. When asked what it was going to be like without them next year, Buczynski’s answer was simple.
“It’s going to take a while for me to try and get over it,” Buczynski said. “They believed in what I was instructing them to do all these years, and you can’t replace that.”
Ormsby had the team-high series of 735 and Kane finished with a 649 in the Group finals.
“It’s tough that Bakers decide who the best was today,” Kane said. “It just shows who the hot team at the time was, and it was Sayreville today.”
Kane was able to put things in perspective looking back on the last four years he bowled for the Jaguars.
“It was the best four years of my life, we have so much to be proud of,” Kane said. “We won three straight Group titles, and finally got that Shore Conference title this year.”
The past four years have certainly put the Jaguars on the map for high school bowling.
“My brother (Luke) and those kids before us really got things started, so I have to give them credit,” Kane said. “Mike and I did the best we could this year for the team.”
Chris Parker firstname.lastname@example.org