Niagara Falls' first two visits to Thruway Lanes this season didn't yield victories but did provide the Wolverines with an idea of what kind of shot it would take to win the Section VI boys bowling championships.
Niagara Falls practiced rolling the inside-only line shot it figured to see at sectionals and the preparation paid off as the Wolverines captured their first title since the merging of Niagara Falls and LaSalle high schools in 2000, amassing 6,085 pins -- 240 more than runner-up Lewiston-Porter.
Although the Wolverines practice in a facility that requires bowlers to aim at a different spot on the lanes in order to increase their chances of striking, players shot at the spot they figured they'd have to hit at Thruway in order to win.
"I thought it mentally prepared us fo the tournament," said senior and fourth-year starter Mark Putaski, who finished with a 1,281 six-game series. "We finally won the big one."
Falls had a sampling of Thruway's lane conditions during the Festival of Lights and Roy Sommer Memorial tournaments.
Freshman Dave Zajac led the Wolverines with a six-game 1,288 series featuring a 269 high game. Others who had a hand in the title were Matt Anderson (1,260), Brian Jamieson (1,230), Jake Hayes (878 five-game total), Frank Porter and Ryan Calvello.
Falls will bowl for the state title March 4 at Strikes and Spares Lanes in Liverpool.
The All-Section Team that will join Falls in the state tournament is Lockport's Brandon Kipp, Frontier's Jake Lenahan, Alden's Sal Agugliara, Lew-Port's Jeremy Janese, Southwestern's Mike Jackson and East Aurora's Justin Hart.
Kipp won the individual title with a 1,417, rolling a 227-248-268-743 during the afternoon session.
He set the Niagara Frontier League three-game series record with an 847 in December.
Justin Kochan recorded a hat trick and had an assist, while Steve Koshanski had a goal and four assists as Williamsville North routed Frontier, 8-0, to advance to the Western New York Varsity Federation semifinals. North (22-2) extended its win streak to 20 and will face Canisius at 6 p.m. Sunday in the Buffalo State Ice Arena.
Frontier, which advanced to the title game last season, played with only nine players as eight were suspended before the game for disciplinary reasons, including three of its top four defensemen, three forwards and a goalie.
League rules require junior varsity players to have appeared in nine league varsity games in order to be eligible for the postseason.
Ninth-seed Canisius defeated No. 2 Williamsville East, 4-0, as Josh Shamrock made 22 saves for the shutout and Devon Arnold scored three goals.
Niagara Frontier League:
Meaghan Freund had 13 points and eight rebounds for Kenmore East (15-5, 11-3), which clinched the championship with a 47-33 win over Niagara-Wheatfield.
ECIC II: Katie Dispenza notched 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals for Hamburg (15-5, 7-5) in a 47-42 win over Pioneer (16-4, 10-2). Pioneer's top scorer, Joelle Connelly, sat out the game with an ankle injury. Pioneer's loss enabled Williamsville East (17-3, 11-1) to clinch the title with a 57-20 win at Lake Shore as Kaitlin Roseti had 16 points and seven rebounds in the win.
ECIC III: Depew defeated Cheektowaga, 54-24, to share the title with Springville. Jordan Schrimmel had a game-high 18 points, while Taylor Schrimmel made nine steals for the Wildcats (14-5, 10-2), who split the regular-season series with Springville.
ECIC IV: Sarah Soroka finished with 18 points and has 1,000 for her career as East Aurora beat JFK, 66-26.
Monsignor Martin: Nicole Hunter's three-pointer with a minute left broke a 52-52 tie, giving Villa Maria the lead for keeps in a 56-54 win at Cardinal O'Hara. Melissa Kanalley led O'Hara with 23 points.
Niagara Frontier League: Michael Fretthold tied a career high with 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as North Tonawanda beat Kenmore West, 69-56.