With four returning letterwinners, the Centennial High School girls bowling team has high goals this season.
The Stars are aiming for a berth in the Division I district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes.
"We have never qualified as a team to the district level, but I feel that could happen this year," fifth-year coach Ryan Dobbins said. "Of course, it's going to take our top three scorers to be on top of their game on that day (in the sectional tournament Feb. 24 at HP Lanes) and for the others to give good support. It's a one-day thing, so it just comes down to if the girls can do their thing on that day."
The returnees are seniors Danielle Davis and Cindy Mullins and sophomores Sarah Clifton and Izabelle Segovia. Three matches into this season, Mullins, Davis and Clifton had raised their averages by a combined 86.6 pins.
Mullins, who averaged 126.1 last season, was averaging 167.5 entering a Dec. 18 match against Hilliard Darby. Davis had increased her average from 102.2 to 126.2, and Clifton had lifted hers from 86.1 to 107.3. Segovia was averaging 108.
"Cindy set program records with a 222 game and a 379 (two-game) series when we beat Reynoldsburg (1,578-1,010 on Dec. 11)," said Dobbins, whose team won two of its first three matches after finishing 5-8 overall last season. "Believe it or not, we never had a girl bowl over 200 before. But Cindy has worked extremely hard since her freshman year and we're very proud of her. We're hoping she has a breakout year and can qualify to districts if we can't get it done as a team."
Last season, the Stars finished 31st (2,368) of 38 teams in the sectional at Sawmill Lanes after going 4-8 to place ninth in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division.
The COHSBC has realigned, and the Stars now are competing in the 12-team COHSBC-B Division. They entered the week 2-1 in the league and won't play a non-league match until facing Beechcroft in the regular-season finale Feb. 13. They defeated Columbus Academy 1,373-1,230 on Dec. 4 and lost to Lancaster 1,583-1,489 on Dec. 7.
Completing the roster are freshmen Kylie Crissinger-Acuna, Electra Holt, Bella Moore and Yazmine Segovia. Crissinger-Acuna was averaging 134 and was the team's second-leading scorer entering the week, and Moore was at 115.
"Kylie has some previous experience and is bowling great and will only get better," Dobbins said. "She's going to surprise people. She's an unknown quantity, but look out for her.
"Having four returnees is a nice problem to have and some of the younger girls are pushing hard."
Boys bowling team lacks experience
Senior Dan Havens is the only returnee who competed for the boys bowling team in the postseason last year, but he is expected to have help from classmate E.J. Macarus and sophomores A.J. Grumbling and Joe Thies.
Macarus is returning after a soccer injury prevented him from bowling last season. Thies was a letterwinner last season.
"Dan has grown his game quite a bit since he was a sophomore and he is our captain," eighth-year coach Brian Hamilton said. "E.J. has come back strong and will give us a lift, and Joe has been very consistent and is much improved.
"A.J. has made great strides but has been a little inconsistent, but he's very talented. He set a personal record with a 222 against Reynoldsburg (in a 1,948-1,932 loss Dec. 11)."
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Matthew Campbell and Tyler Morefield and freshman Nick Loudener.
Through three matches, Thies was averaging a team-best 170.2 after finishing last season at 135.7. Macarus was averaging 163.5, followed by Grumbling (157), Havens (145.5), Morefield (144.8), Loudener (133.7) and Campbell (128).
Grumbling and Morefield competed in limited games last season for the Stars, who placed 35th (3,039) of 42 teams in the Division I sectional at Sawmill Lanes after finishing 6-9 overall to place 10th in the COHSBC-Central.
Entering this week, the Stars were 1-2 overall and in the COHSBC-B. They defeated Columbus Academy 1,696-1,533 on Dec. 4 and lost to Lancaster 1,808-1,724 on Dec. 7.
"I think we have a good core group," Hamilton said. "The great thing about this year is that we also have enough boys to have a j.v. team and that will give everyone more experience for the future."
Boys basketball team aims to limit turnovers
The boys basketball team moved above .500 for the first time this season by beating Sparta Highland 69-56 on Dec. 16.
The Stars were 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the City League-North entering a game Dec. 19 at East. They will play host to International on Friday, Dec. 22, before competing in the Westminster Christian Holiday Tournament from Wednesday, Dec. 27, through Dec. 29 in Palmetto Bay, Florida.
"We're getting better, but we need to stop turning the ball over as much as we have been lately," coach Roosevelt Osborne III said. "Once we do that, we'll be a pretty good team."
After blowing a five-point lead in the final minute of the opener Dec. 5 at Dublin Scioto and losing 63-55 in overtime, the Stars won three of four games.
The loss was 96-61 at Beechcroft in the league opener Dec. 12. They then held off host Mifflin 68-67 on Dec. 15 for their first league win.
"We had some key spurts and then held on against Mifflin," Osborne said. "We were in foul trouble in the second quarter, but Dominic Cesaro hit a pair of 3-pointers and when we were trying to hold them off in the fourth quarter, Sean Tyson made three 3-pointers in a row.
"But the problem is that we had a size advantage and we weren't patient enough to work the ball in. Once we made a few 3-pointers, we got overconfident and fell in love with the outside jumpers."
Mifflin missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer late in the game and scored off the rebound, but Centennial then ran out the clock.
Craig Burt had 16 points and Gary Elder and Tyson both scored 13. Myles Martinez had 12 points and Jaylen Gilbert added eight.
Against Highland, Centennial led 42-23 at halftime and Tyson (15), Elder (14), Burt (12), Gilbert (12) and Martinez (10) all scored in double figures.
*Dec. 4 -- Columbus Academy at HP Lanes
*Dec. 7 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
*Dec. 11 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes
*Dec. 18 -- Hilliard Darby at Game of Western Columbus
*Jan. 5 -- Thomas Worthington at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 8 -- Pickerington Central at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 9 -- Pickerington North at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 16 -- Hilliard Davidson at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 18 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 26 -- Hilliard Bradley at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Jan. 30 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Feb. 13 -- Beechcroft at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Dec. 22 -- Home vs. International
Dec. 27-29 -- Westminster Christian Holiday Tournament in Palmetto Bay, Fla.
*Dec. 22 -- At International