DeSales Roundup: Stallions girls bowlers enjoy increasing success

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
The DeSales girls bowling team has maximized the talents of five bowlers – Alexis Reynolds (left), Ella Otu-Danquah, Skyla Blumenscheid, Sadie Bassitt and Cailin Mascarin – to win the CCL championship and gather momentum heading into the Division I postseason.

As one of the DeSales girls bowling team’s two seniors, Skyla Blumenscheid wore a tiara and flashed a wide smile during the squad’s senior night Feb. 3.

Blumenscheid said she has been smiling for much of the season, given that the Stallions won seven of their first eight matches, won the program’s second CCL championship despite having only five bowlers and closed in on the COHSBC-D Division title during the final week of the regular season. 

A Division I state qualifier as a sophomore, Blumenscheid vividly remembers her team struggling to a 1-12 record her freshman year, when the Stallions fielded as few as three competitors in a handful of matches.

“Coming from that to building consistently strong teams, it’s pretty awesome,” Blumenscheid said. “We have a special team bond we might not have had a few years ago.

“The most important thing is just getting down as many pins as we can. Sadie (Bassitt) and me being the more experienced bowlers, we just go up there and get as high a score as we can and see what else happens.”

With all five bowlers averaging 107.9 to 173.8 pins per game, DeSales was 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the COHSBC-D before its final regular-season match Feb. 12 against Eastmoor Academy and went 6-0 in the CCL. The Stallions, who also won the CCL championship in the league’s inaugural season of 2015-16, will participate in a Division I sectional Feb. 18 at HP Lanes.

Blumenscheid averaged 173.8 through eight matches, followed by freshman Bassitt (164.9), sophomore Alexis Reynolds (127.1), freshman Cailin Mascarin (113.3) and senior Ella Otu-Danquah (107.9).

“I was really hoping that it would develop this way and it has,” coach Connie Emlich said. “They all concentrate a lot harder than they have in the past. The fact that they have a chance to win … sometimes when you’re bowling a team and they beat you by 70 or 80 pins, you get discouraged. For them, there’s always another game.”

Bassitt and Emlich credited some of Bassitt’s success to having bowled in a singles league at Sequoia Pro Bowl with challenging oil patterns.

“I’ve slowed down and I’ve become more consistent with where my ball goes,” said Bassitt, who is Emlich’s granddaughter. “All of us have grown from the beginning. I’m proud of everybody. We’re excited about what we can do. I don’t think about any pressure. I am just here to bowl well and support the team.”

The boys team, which was 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the COHSBC-D before Feb. 12 and finished 5-2 in the CCL, will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 19 at HP Lanes.

For both boys and girls, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 22 at HP Lanes. From district, the top four girls teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams and top three boys teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 5 and 6, respectively, at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

“We are excited (for the postseason),” Emlich said. “I think sometimes, they surprise themselves.”

Girls basketball team

looks to tourney

Despite a busy schedule leading up to the Division I district tournament, girls basketball coach Erick Herzberg looked forward to his team getting valuable practice time as it tried to reverse a late-season losing streak.

The Stallions were 8-8 before playing Northland on Feb. 11, the first of three games in as many days and four in five. DeSales had lost three consecutive games before playing Northland, all in different fashions.

The Stallions lost 77-51 at Hartley on Jan. 28, hung tough in a low-scoring game at Watterson on Feb. 4 before falling 28-17 and were outscored 15-8 in the fourth quarter the next night at Walnut Ridge in a 43-38 defeat.

“We’ve seen the two extremes this year, how well we can play and how poorly we can play, which is a little concerning. We have some work to do before the tournament,” Herzberg said. “We play very well at times. We held Watterson scoreless until their last shot of the first quarter and they’re an excellent team.”

Seeded 23rd in the 41-team district tournament, the Stallions took a first-round bye and will play host to 25th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round Feb. 19. The winner will play top-seeded Newark, 39th-seeded Olentangy Orange or 41st-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal Feb. 24 at the home of the better seed.

“With a lot of games, we haven’t had the practice we probably needed to work on things,” Herzberg said. “We have time. We can play good basketball, but we have to be more consistent.”

Goalie Christopher Henderson and DeSales open the district tournament against Thomas Worthington on Feb. 19 at Chiller North.

Hockey team

prepares for tourney

The hockey team will begin the district tournament this weekend, coming off a regular season in which it finished 3-14 with six points in the CHC, sixth in the Blue Division behind Olentangy (22, 11-5).

Seeded 22nd of 25 teams, the Stallions will face eighth-seeded Thomas Worthington in a first-round game Feb. 19 at Chiller North. The winner will take on ninth-seeded Dublin Jerome or 25th-seeded Dublin Scioto in the second round Feb. 20 at OhioHealth Ice Haus, and that winner will advance to a district quarterfinal Feb. 27.

The Stallions defeated Scioto 14-0 on Dec. 22, 5-1 on Jan. 24 and 11-2 in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament Feb. 10. They lost to Thomas 5-0 on Jan. 29.

DeSales, which will seek its first postseason win since the 2012-13 season, broke a six-game losing streak when it defeated Scioto on Feb. 10 and advanced to play ninth-seeded New Albany in a CBJ Cup quarterfinal Feb. 12.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave