Sometimes all it takes is a little pep talk from your coach to right the ship.
It certainly worked for the Derby boys Thursday afternoon.
Sitting in fifth place out of seven teams after one game, the Panthers followed with the two highest team scores of the day in the second and third, rallying to win the AV-CTL Division I title at Seneca Bowl.
“Our boys had a little bit of a rough start,” Derby coach Allie Ijams said. “We had a pow wow after Game 1 and I applaud them for how they responded and their ability to work together when they’re down. That’s really what happened today.”
Derby’s five bowlers rolled a combined eight 200 games over the last two games, including a 254 and 244 from Michael Klein, who finished with a 679, which was good for third in the individual standings.
Atop that leaderboard was Campus’ KJ Kohlhorst, who opened the day with a 258 and followed with scores of 236 and 227 for a three-game total of 721 and the Division I title.
His teammate Trynton Vann was second with a 712, and finished his 10th frame before Kohlhorst, leading to some anxious moments.
“I’ve just been putting in the work, keep trying to practice well and hope it speaks for itself,” said Kohlhorst, who is in the midst of a stellar season. “It was a little nerve-racking at the end. I heard what Trynton bowled right before I went up there, so I felt some nerves trying to finish it out.”
Kohlhorst’s schoolmates on the girls’ side closed out another impressive showing, besting runner-up Derby by 331 pins to take the Division I title. All six Colts earned medals, taking third through eighth places, setting the team up nicely as it looks to defend its back-to-back 6A state titles.
Helping Derby try to keep pace were the top two individual finishers, as Shelbie Lindsey rolled a 677 to finish first, holding off a late charge from teammate Madisyn Hansen, who recorded a 650.
In Division II action, Eisenhower took home all four championships, winning the boys’ and girls’ team titles by healthy margins.
“We performed really well on both sides today,” Eisenhower coach Brian Adelgren said. “We’re peaking at the right time going into the postseason. That’s when you want your teams to be reaching their potential.”
Brandon Gile put together games of 247, 274 and 258, totaling a 779 to best fellow Tiger Bryce Runyan by 90 in the boys’ individual standings.
Madison Douglass had to fight a bit more to finish at the top of the girls leaderboard. On the strength of a 238 in her second game, she finished with a 663. That was just enough to hold off Goddard’s Kacey Collins, who closed with a 234 and 235 to complete her 651.
“Brandon bowled phenomenally, a career-high type of day for him,” Adelgren said. “And Madison took individuals for the girls as well, and she did very well too. Both of them are very capable of bowling well as we move into the postseason.”