By BRETT MARSHALL
After the first two games of Tuesday's Western Athletic Conference bowling match between the Garden City Buffaloes and visiting Great Bend Panthers, GCHS coach Kip Nichols wasn't about to describe his boys and girls team's positions in nautical terms.
But if he had, it might have been akin to a milder version of the sinking of the Titanic. All this at Garden Bowl, one of their two "home" lanes.
The Lady Buffs had fallen behind the Lady Panthers by 22 pins by bowling in what Nichols described as a "listless" effort. That was the good news, if there was any at that moment. The Buffs' boys, meanwhile, were getting a good old-fashioned whipping, as the Panthers held a commanding 161-pin advantage.
What Nichols was able to see from that point forward, the final game of the 3-game individual series plus the three-game Baker competition (all 5 bowlers roll two frames each for three games). In the WAC, there are seven points possible in each match — three points in the individual game totals and four points in Baker (one for each game) and then combining the individual team series total and Baker series for an additional point).
The Lady Buffs, miraculously, found their stride and rallied in the third game of the individual series to win that portion, 2,213-2,176, and then won two of the three individual Baker series' games plus the overall total, escaping with a 4-3 victory over the Lady Panthers.
The GCHS boys weren't so fortunate.
The Buffs won the final game of the individual series competition and won two of the three Baker games, but Great Bend rolled a final game of 258 in Baker to the Buffs' 156 and came away with a resounding 3,022 total to the Buffs' 2,889.
It was not the best of days, according to Nichols.
"It was an ugly win by the girls, it was an ugly loss by the boys," a disappointed Nichols said. "We did finally get some momentum going into the Baker and that's what saved us. Otherwise, I thought the bowling was pretty mediocre for these kids."
Following last week's record-setting performances by Rikkie Hemmert for the girls and Braden Davidson for the boys, both with 700-plus series against Liberal, only two boys (Jarett Landgraf and Skylar Connor) finished above 600 (Landgraf a 618 and Connor a 614). Great Bend's Eric Ruiz topped the individual boys competition with a 669 and Holcomb's Corey Roth was second at 658. Roth's series included a brilliant 290 in his second game.
On the girls side, Great Bend's Miranda Hejney (634) and Jacy Quade (584) finished ahead of Hemmert, who came in with a 565 (190-196-179) after her school-record best 735 at Hard Rock Lanes a week earlier. Sarah Ramsey and Vicki Newell were close behind at 555 and 552. The girls also were without senior Carey Watters, who was suspended for one match due to violating team policy, according to Nichols.
"I think the girls got inspired going into Baker after coming back in the last game of the individual games," Nichols said. "And then I thought we did well in the Baker. We've got to find the right mix, though, with this group. I'm just looking for more consistency from everyone."
There wasn't much positive, though, that Nichols could find on the boys side.
His No. 1 bowler, Juan Ramirez Jr., struggled to just a 513 series (165-156-192). Of the 15 individual games rolled, only four of them were over 200.
"You're gonna have some of those days," Nichols said. "Juan struggled, so did some of the others. We've just got to get back, re-focus and be ready to do better next time."
The teams are back in action on Tuesday with a 3 p.m. match set in Liberal.
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.