Shaler freshman bowler comes through in clutch
Sunday, February 28, 2021 | 9:01 AM
Shaler bowling coach Shawn Pilyih gave freshman Braden Scott a quick hook in the Titans’ final regular-season match.
Pilyih was “average watching” and knew after Scott threw a 220, his cumulative mark was over the 170 threshold that would qualify for the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League championships last Wednesday at Mt. Lebanon AMF Lanes.
Scott, whose average of 170.59 was ranked 19th of 35 varsity bowlers in the North section, made the most of his coach’s diligence.
Scott’s collective total of 563 — buoyed by scores of 179, 191 and 193 — allowed him to finish 12th and earn a spot at the Western Regionals on March 5 at North Versailles Bowl.
“He qualified to make it here on the last day of bowling,” Pilyih said. “In the second-to-last match, he had to bowl a 197, and he shot 189 and we pulled him. Then the next day, he shot 220 to get him over 170.”
Scott was one of three Titans bowlers — along with sophomore Ryan Callahan and senior Jonathan Zang — to earn spots.
Pilyih was impressed by Scott’s calm in what proved to be a tough oil pattern. Only one bowler — Hempfield’s Dominick Vallano — had over a 200 average, finishing first before the stepladder finals with a 624 series.
“(Braden) stays pretty calm,” Pilyih said. “That’s a big factor. He doesn’t have a big, booming ball. He doesn’t have a super big hook on his ball, so it stays under control more”
Callahan, who qualified last season, finished 27th, and Zang will earn his first trip after placing 32nd.
“We had some rough parts during the day, but, overall, I think everyone pulled it together,” Callahan said. “We each had a bad game or a few bad breaks, but we came back together as a team.”
Callahan said the three conferred before the second game to help each other relax. Whatever levity it provided showed up for all three as they all bowled their high game with Zang recording a 230, Callahan a 222 and Scott 193.
“The 139 hit me hard,” Callahan said. “If I would have had a higher game, I would have been up there. I couldn’t get my ball to the pocket. I was shooting too wide, and the ball was skating down the lane. I knew I had to make the adjustment to throw slower and get my feet right.”
Shaler’s team shone once they all got their feet under them.
Pilyih attributed the success to having bowlers with pedigree.
“They have some experience out there,” Pilyih said. “We don’t have to teach them from scratch. They’ve all become better as the year went on.”
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