Frontier coach Joe Casciana did a little lineup shuffling to spur his Falcons on to a second Section VI bowling championship in the last three years.
"Yes, I had to make some coaching moves," Casciana said with a laugh after Frontier ran away from Lockport and fended off a dramatic Niagara Falls comeback in the sixth and final round of games to win the overall team and Class A titles at Thruway Lanes on Tuesday afternoon.
First, Casciana removed senior co-captain Shelby Harris from the lineup after she bowled a 126 in the first game and replaced her with the other senior co-captain Tory Harvey. Then he brought Harris back in the third game in place of Mel Willett.
All the moves paid off. First of all, Harris settled down and put together games of 173, 172, 191 and 168 in the leadoff position. "I needed that," Harris said of being benched for one game.
Secondly, Harvey averaged 199 in the last five games, including a team-best single of 243. The Falcons had a slim three-pin lead (4,738 to 4,735) over Lockport entering the final round and that seemed like the battle to watch. Niagara Falls seemed out of contention in third place, 75 pins behind Frontier.
As it turned out, it was the Wolverines from the Falls who gave Frontier a start before it was over. Niagara Falls turned in a 998 game (two pins shy of a 200 team average), passed Lockport to take second place and finished just 14 pins behind Frontier. Frontier finished with 5,675.
"It was nerve wracking," said Frontier's Harvey, who follows in the footsteps of her older sister Ally in leading the Falcons to the state championship as the Section VI school champion.
The Falcons might not have survived were it not for junior Chelsey Mee, a midseason transfer from Frewsburg who closed with a 206 that included four strikes in a row starting with the third frame, and for senior Jamie Brooks, who began her last game with four in a row and finished with a 206. Mee had a team-high 1,218 (203 average) and Brooks had a 1,181 (196 average).
Junior Amanda Klinger was another major contributor for the Falcons.
"Amanda really helped by converting a split (1-2-4-10) and a washout for us," Casciana said.
Alyssa Narkowicz bowled a 212 for a 1,257 six-game series, Krystal Gravelle closed with a 209 for 1,235 and Jenna Bianco had a 225 to lead the Niagara Falls rally.
Tonawanda, the 2008 overall champion, captured Class B honors and was fifth overall with 5,197 pins. Randolph took the Class C with 4,672 and Forestville won Class D with 4,798.
Once again Jackie Willy of Clarence, who topped the individual scores with a 1,282 six-game total, will lead the Section VI team into the sectional team competition at the state tournament in Rochester next month. The rest of the six bowler Section VI all-star lineup: Alyssa Narkowicz (Niagara Falls) 1,257, Gravelle (Niagara Falls) 1,235, Hannah Mosher (North Tonawanda) 1,213, Melanie Hannon (Maryvale) 1,208 and Brianna Larson (North Tonawanda) 1,193.