Garden City High School’s girls bowling team made a successful home Western Athletic Conference opener Tuesday with an 11-0 whitewashing of Liberal at Hard Rock Lanes.

The Buffaloes’ boys team, however, was on the receiving end of a nearly similar outcome, falling 9-2 to the red-hot Redskins, who came up with sizzling back-to-back games in the three-set individual/team series portion of the competition.

For the girls, in their first outing in the WAC, opening as the defending Class 6A champions had its ups and downs.

But the depth of the girls, led by junior Alexis Leon’s 565 series (172-185-208), was more than enough to over power their counterparts from Liberal.

The girls rolled a three-game series of 2,186 on games of 701-715-770, where the top four scores of the six bowlers count in each game.

Leon’s series total was nine pins ahead of teammate Faith Whited’s 556 (181-183-192) while Karly Larson rounded out the top three medal-winners with a 528 series (152-175-201).

“It feels pretty good to get the win,” a smiling Leon said afterward. “All of us struggled a little today. I think the lanes were a little oilier than usual, and that made finding your line a bit tougher.”

Leon said she and her teammates, five who return from the team’s first state title in March of 2017, were approaching the season with excitement.

“It doesn’t seem to feel any different (than 2017),” Leon said. “I think we just have to keep working hard, growing more and more each time out and never take anything for granted. I think as the season goes along, our chances will increase.”

Leon said she and her teammates also had been working diligently on improving their Baker format scores (where five bowlers roll two frames each, but not consecutively).

“That’s the area where we usually struggled in the past,” Leon said. “Coach (Kip Nichols) has said everyone’s coming after us, so we just have to be focused and prepared.”

In the three Baker games Tuesday, the Buffs rolled scores of 181-169-174 for a 524 series. Overall, they totaled 2,710 pins to Liberal’s 2,195. Holcomb also competed as a non-WAC participant and finished with 2,304 pins. Tiana Hipp was the top bowler for the Longhorns with a 516 series.

On the boys side, it was all Liberal as the Buffs could only muster their two points in the Baker format after getting blanked 10-0 in the team-individual series portions.

Liberal blistered the lanes with scores of 783-971-936—2,690, while the Buffs totaled 759-821-847 for a 2,427 total.

Senior Kristopher Henderson was the top Buffs’ bowler with a 618 series off games of 188-236-194. Liberal, however, had the top four individual series, led by Brodie Warren’s 707.

“We didn’t get off to a very good start in the opening game,” Nichols said of the boys portion of the dual. “But give it to Liberal — they bowled phenomenally well in those final two games. I’m just glad we were able to get a couple of points in the Baker.”

Those two points came in the first and third games, when they had scores of 182-208-220 (610) to Liberal’s 178-232-174 (584). Overall pin count and bonus pins were Liberal with 3,274 to Garden’s 3,037. Holcomb’s boys were a distant third at 2,404.

The leading bowler for the Longhorns boys was Jonathan Auwarter at 576 (170-206-200) and Devin Fisher right behind at 575 (199-196-180).

Nichols was pleased to get the complete shutout of Liberal on the girls side, although admittedly saying the team could have bowled better.

“We got a couple of good scores, but otherwise it’s a day you just want to move on and know we’re gonna get better,” Nichols said. “The lanes were tough, but we’ve got to figure out how to be better on those kinds of lanes.”