Last year, Cuyahoga Falls bowling had a decent season, but didn’t really catch fire until when it mattered most.
Coming out of the Suburban League Post-Season Tournament, there are signs the Black Tigers could be set for another big playoff push.
Falls boys finished third and the girls took fourth Saturday at the Post-Season Tournament at Kent Lanes — and were close to finishing even better,
Falls boys finished with 4,101 pins, which was just six pins behind Stow-Munroe Falls for second. Wadsworth won the boys team title with 4,235 pins.
Meanwhile, the girls with 3,399 pins, which was just one pin behind Tallmadge for third place. Stow won the girls title with 3,708 pins.
Falls coach Tim Wiant said he was very happy with what he saw from his teams, noting the league tournament was the perfect springboard into the postseason.
"We’re ready for sure," Wiant said. "We’re getting there.
"I was really surprised with Wadsworth, to be honest with you," he added. "Stow had been pretty consistent all year long. To do what we did and come with third place, that’s pretty amazing. To finish six pins behind Stow, that’s one spare. We missed a lot of them."
One of the best signs for Falls Saturday was the performance of senior Justin Moyer. The defending Division I state individual champion won the Suburban League individual title by rolling a 773 series. Moyer bowled games of 225, 290 and 258, as Wiant noted Moyer seems to have his mojo back.
"That’s a 257 average for the weekend," Wiant said. "That’s awesome. I just hope that he keeps it going. The same thing is happening for a lot of our guys. Matt Knight rolled a 280 last week."
Falls’ Justin Drayer also earned a top 10 finish, taking seventh place with a 662 series (226-256-180). Knight was able to take 10th place at the tournament with series of 652 (268-170-214).
"Like it’s been all season, my biggest problem right now is that fifth person," Wiant said. "If we had a consistent fifth bowler, I’d feel a lot better right now."
Falls boys found themselves in third place heading into the Baker games with 3,160 points. Falls bowled games of 184, 232, 180, 164 and 181 to finish with 944 in the Bakers, which nearly allowed them to catch Stow.
Meanwhile, the Falls girls were consistent during the regular games, rolling 889, 839 and 877, putting them in third place with 2,605 pins.
However, the Black Tigers girls struggled a bit in the Baker games, rolling games of 167, 188, 133, 161 and 145 to finish with 794 points in the Bakers. By contrast, Tallmadge scored 904 pins in the Baker games, which allowed them to edge the Black Tigers by one pin.
Falls’ Taylor Hillman had an excellent tournament, finishing second in the girls individual race with 639 pins (226-235-178). Kent Roosevelt’s Emily Byles won the girls individual title with 670 pins.
Falls also got a 510 series from Paige Haubert (203-156-151), a 494 series from Emily Tallent (117-178-199), a 492 series from Nicole Hannan (188-136-168) and a 470 series from Brianna Doshak (153-134-181).
Wiant said his team is following the same path as last year, which saw the Black Tigers bowl their best in the postseason.
"I’m not counting them out," Wiant said. "I did last year and I got in a lot of trouble for it."
Falls opens its postseason run at the Division I sectional tournament at Boardman Lanes Sunday. Boys bowling begins at 9 a.m. with the girls starting at 2 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC