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Crowns for Morrissey, West Seneca East

Nick Morrissey and his West Seneca East teammates weren't horsing around in the Section VI boys bowling championships Friday at Thruway Lanes.

Morrissey took home individual honors, averaging 241.7, and East never let up in the afternoon round as it marched to a second straight overall sectional championship.

East won last year with a lineup of underclassmen and first-year head coach Justin Mergenhagen. No senioritis this year. The Trojans' lineup of four seniors and junior Branden Simone put together a six-game total of 6,542. That was 243 pins better than last year's winning total of 6,299 and 140 pins better than the next best team, Cheektowaga.

Morrissey had a 792 set in the morning including a 279 game on his way to the top individual total of 1,450. Ironically his low of 185 came in the final game when the Trojans were nailing down the title with a 1,038. They owned a 58-pin advantage over Class B rival Cheektowaga heading into the finale and expanded it.

Paired on the same two lanes as Niagara Falls, the Trojans got strikes from all five bowlers in the fifth frame and again in the seventh. Simone led the assault with a 241 while left-hander Josh Broad had a 238.

"Brandon and Josh stepped up when we needed them," said Morrissey of his teammates.

Four of the five bowlers in Mergenhagen's lineup averaged 200 or better for the day and the other averaged 195. Besides Morrissey's 1,450, Simon totaled 1,326, Broad 1,320, Derrick Geschwender 1,257 and John Truslow 1,189.

West Seneca East took the overall lead in the finale of the three-game morning round and never gave it up. The Trojans came back after lunch with a 1,066, 1,118 and the final 1,033 to wrap it up neatly.

During the season, East won the Maryvale Tournament and the Roy Sommer Memorial and was second in Martin Luther King Tournament.

"Usually, we fall off in the second half but not today," said assistant coach Bill Morrissey. "We told them, 'You can't drop off today because the opposition it too good,' and they didn't. They kept that intensity. They're a great group and they will be tough to replace."

The Class A title went to Niagara Falls (6,339 total) by six pins over Kenmore West. Cheektowaga finished second overall and second in Class B to West Seneca East. Falconer (5,653) took home the Class C title by a good margin over Randolph while Forestville won Class C with 5,645.

Since Morrissey will go to the State Public Schools Tournament in Rochester with his West Seneca East team, the Section VI team will be headed by freshman Eric Michalski of Amherst and Tyler Skoczylas of North Tonawanda, who had 1,377 totals (229 average). John Stopka of Kenmore East, Frank Porter of Niagara Falls, Maurice Donaldson of Bennett and Ryan Gates of Gowanda round out the six-man Section VI team. Next came Steve Biondi of Niagara Falls, who had the day's high single, 280.

Donaldson cracked the top six with high afternoon set of 729. He finished with games of 258, 223 and 248 to earn a spot on the sectional team. It must have come as a surprise to the Bennett bowler because he and his coach already had left the building when the final scores were computed and the team announced.

Gates bowled a 754 set, second only to Morrissey's 792.

e-mail: mnorthrop@buffnews.com

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