Since losing to Teays Valley in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division opener Dec. 3, the Whitehall-Yearling High School boys bowling team had won 10 consecutive matches before competing against Teays Valley again Jan. 28.
The Rams have used a balanced effort, according to coach Tavi Netotian, to contend for a league title and prepare for the postseason.
"They're starting to be more consistent," Netotian said. "It depends on the day, but spare shooting is the thing that keeps you going. That's been pretty good. They're starting to get their confidence level up and believe that they can end the season pretty good."
Whitehall, which lost to Teays Valley 2,192-2,156 in the first match, entered the rematch 10-1 overall and in the league.
The Vikings were 12-0 and 10-0.
"It was a little bit of a concern, but we knew we could bounce back pretty good," senior Schuyler Wright said of the opening loss. "We have jelled together. We all get along well together."
Whitehall closes the regular season Thursday, Jan. 31, against Groveport at Eastland Lanes and begins the postseason Feb. 9 in the MSL tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Entering this week, junior Andrew Sturgill led the team with an average of 200 per game. Wright had a 194 average and senior Chad Clites had a 192.7 average.
"There's always somebody different who is coming up and being the medalist," Netotian said. "They pick each other up really good."
Netotian said a highlight of the season was winning the Central District Preview Classic on Jan. 12 at HP Lanes, ahead of runner-up Hilliard Davidson. He said it was the first time his team won a tournament.
Wright led with a 653 series, followed by Sturgill (642) and Clites (606).
Last season at state, the Rams placed 16th (2,981) in the 16-team qualifying round at Wayne Webb's, behind first-place Beavercreek (3,676). Coldwater went on to win the state title, defeating Springfield Kenton Ridge 760-570 in the final.
"Everyone has to keep a positive attitude," Wright said. "Everybody has to show up on the given day."
Girls bowling team continuing strong play
The girls bowling team was in position for a high finish in the COHSBC-South entering the final week of the regular season.
The Rams were 10-2 overall and 9-2 in the league before competing against Teays Valley on Jan. 28.
Briggs was leading the league at 11-0 and Reynoldsburg was 9-1.
"We started the season shooting 1600s, mid-season we were shooting 1700s and now we are shooting 1800s," coach Jess Biller said. "Regardless of where we finish, I can say these girls have given their all this year. As a coach, and as a community, that's what we all we ask, and they delivered."
Entering this week, junior Taylor-Jo Morton was fifth in the area with a 185.2 average. Tori Pappas of Briggs was first at 202.7.
Senior Melanie Gilmer, a first-year bowler, had a 144.6 average.
"Our numbers just keep moving up," Morton said. "We're getting better and better every week."
Before Jan. 28, the Rams turned in a season-best performance in defeating Independence 1,916-1,463 on Jan. 18 at Holiday Lanes.
"I'm happy with the progress we've made," Biller said. "We still need more to get past districts."
Last season, the Rams were 11th (3,066) in the 18-team district tournament at HP Lanes behind champion Westerville Central (3,603) as the top three teams advanced to state.
Wrestling team wins Cruiser Invitational
The wrestling team scored 225 points to win the 15-team Cruiser Invitational on Jan. 26 at Groveport, ahead of runner-up Hilliard Bradley (148.5).
Champions were Ana Abduljelil at 113 pounds, Ashden Gibson at 138 and Alex Farrow at heavyweight.
Other placers were Josh Delgadillo at 132 (second), Ifa Abduljelil at 152 (second) and Bryce Hortz at 170 (second). Also, Isaiah Turner at 220 (third), Noah Young at 160 (third) and Noah Jay at 106 (fourth).
The top-seeded Rams had a bye through the opening two rounds of the Division II state team tournament Jan. 23 and competed against fifth-seeded Mifflin on Jan. 30.
The winner competed against second-seeded Columbus South or third-seeded DeSales in a Region 14-A semifinal, also on Jan. 30.
That winner advanced to compete against Buckeye Valley, Caledonia River Valley, Sparta Highland or Lexington in a regional final Wednesday, Feb. 6, at a site to be determined.
Boys basketball team defeats Licking Valley
The boys basketball team defeated Licking Valley 63-59 on Jan. 26 as guard D.A. Sanders scored 25 points and guard Demetrius Carr scored 19.
Whitehall lost to Newark Catholic 85-65 on Jan. 22 as guard R.J. Mims scored 26 points and forward Davetti Krug scored 13.