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Centennial sweeps bowling team state titles — PHOTOS

Centennial’s boys and girls bowling teams showed their dominance in the regular season, as each earned the No. 1 seed for the state tournament.

When the postseason started, coach Mark Lilley reminded his players that the tournament is a “different animal.”

His message was true in Friday’s state title matches — both teams’ final game went down to the wire. But the Bulldogs pulled through.

The Centennial boys and girls swept the Class 5A titles at The Orleans. The boys edged Shadow Ridge 7-2 (2,161-2,150 pin total), and the girls defeated Palo Verde 7-2 (1,990-1,953).

“When you start you’re going to have these visions, and these kids have never been here before to do this,” Lilley said. “You tell them how crazy it can get, how intense it can get, and then they see it for real. It’s just amazing at the end when it all comes together. It’s like a miracle.”

The matches consisted of three games, each worth two points. The team with the higher accumulated pin total received three extra points, so a team could claim the title by winning only one of the three games but having the higher total.

The Centennial boys and girls lost their third games after winning the first two, but they held on to their pin total leads to claim the championships.

“It was crazy, and I’m relieved,” Lilley said. “A lot of pressure as the games came down real close in the 10th frame, and you don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s over. You’re just hoping everything goes your way.”

In the boys match, Shadow Ridge’s Seth Stovall and Jerrad Barczyszyn each rolled three strikes in the 10th frame of the second game to cut the deficit to 39 pins. Stovall won the individual state title last week, and Barczyszyn was second.

With Shadow Ridge needing to win the third game by 40 pins, Centennial remained cool under pressure to fend off the comeback attempt.

“It was really heart-racing for me because I felt we all needed to do (well) during that last 10th frame,” Centennial senior Dartagnon Longa said. “And we all pulled it out in the end.”

As the girls match grew tight, the Bulldogs relied on senior Ava Johnson to close out the final game. Johnson rolled a match-high score of 222 and three strikes in the 10th frame to seal the title.

“No matter what happened, we always had each other’s back, and that’s the reason we went so far,” Johnson said. “If you shot bad, it didn’t matter because somebody was always there shooting (well) and lifting you up for the next game.”

In 4A, the Foothill boys cruised to a 9-0 (2,346-2,157) win over Bishop Gorman to claim their second consecutive title. Sierra Vista put away Silverado 7-2 (1,843-1,734) to win the girls title.

In 3A, Coral Academy edged The Meadows 7-2 (2,060-2,043) to win the boys title. Canyon Springs defeated Boulder City 9-0 (1,621-1,532) for the girls title.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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