Blackhawk’s Wright defeats teammate to win WPIBL boys singles title

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | 7:36 PM

More than 100 of Western Pennsylvania’s top boys bowlers competed in the WPIBL singles championship Wednesday at Wildlife Lanes in Burrell.

None of them threw more games then Blackhawk’s Jordan Wright. And none of them will go home with the championship trophy, because now it belongs to Wright.

The senior tied for sixth place after bowling a 603 in the qualifying round, forcing a ninth and 10th frame bowl-off that he nailed down with a perfect score of 60 to advance to the stepladder quarterfinals. From there, he knocked off three consecutive opponents, eventually bowling an impressive 202 to emerge victorious the finals — his sixth round of the night.

“I’d say the bowl-off helped me. It let me throw a few extra balls, and I was able to find the right line with my shot a lot quicker,” Wright said.

“I think the endurance comes from a lot of practice at the bowling alley, just throwing as many games as I can on Saturdays and Sundays. That helped build the endurance up for me for games like this.”

Wright bested his teammate Adam Scruci, 202-167 in the finals. The rare pairing of two bowlers from one school in the final match made for plenty of camaraderie in the title round, but in the end, only one Cougar could earn the status of WPIBL champ.

“That’s how we want it to come out. We want to have the top two bowlers in the tournament, even if it means we have to go head-to-head for the title. It’s a blessing for it to actually happen,” Wright said.

“I’ve imagined this, though. It’s been my dream to make it all the way here and win it. It’s what I’ve been shooting for.”

Wright topped Norwin’s Michael Fekete in the quarterfinals, 196-174, before beating Hopewell’s Christopher George, 179-159, in the semifinals.

After qualifying for the quarterfinals with a 605 series, Scruci knocked off Ambridge’s Ryan Mikush, 203-161, before defeating Franklin Regional’s Alex Smith in a closely scored semifinal, 186-182.

Smith entered the quarterfinal round having bowled the highest qualifying series of the day, notching a score of 631 with a high game of 234. The decorated Franklin Regional bowler recently helped lead the Panthers to the boys team title Feb. 13, and bowled a 879 series, including two perfect games, on Feb. 16.

However, the rigors of a demanding bowling schedule finally got to Smith, as he was not able to get passed Scruci in the semifinals.

“I got really tired after bowling all of these games. We had a long weekend at the alley, too. I knew I was throwing the ball slower, even on those last few frames,” Smith said.

“That caused my shot to tail off a little bit more, and it just threw things off a bit for me.”

North Allegheny’s Jeb Jorden had the highest game of the day, bowling a 256 in his very first game.

The top-40 finishers advanced to the Western Pennsylvania Regional Championships, set for March 8 at North Versailles Bowl.

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