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Thursday, 02 December 2021 22:12

Raiders roll past Southern Lee, edged by Pinecrest in first matches

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Senior Colin Wheeler was one of several Raiders to put up big numbers in Thursday's season opener. Senior Colin Wheeler was one of several Raiders to put up big numbers in Thursday's season opener. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ABERDEEN — Facing a couple of early-season tests, the Richmond Raider bowling team split its two matches to open its new season on Thursday.

The Raiders used a rotating lineup of eight bowlers to defeat Southern Lee High School 4-1, before coming up just 10 pins short in a 3-2 loss to Pinecrest High School.

Opening Sandhills Athletic Conference play, the Raiders competed at the Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen.

Following the Baker format, which sees five bowlers each bowl two frames, each match featured four games.

A game win secured a point and the team that finished with the highest pin total after four games earned a possible fifth point.

The Raiders controlled the tempo early against the Cavaliers, rolling games of 170-126, 135-170, 125-107,143-121 to edge Southern Lee 573-524. Richmond tallied 12 strikes and 9 spares and averaged a score of 143.3 pins per game.

Senior Cameron Way, who anchored the third and fourth games, had 4 strikes and 3 spares in the win. Fellow senior Colin Wheeler chipped in 4 strikes, and junior William White, who opened as the anchor, bowled 3 strikes.

Both Wheeler and White added one spare against Southern Lee. Senior Dexter Mabe contributed with a strike and 2 spares, followed by 2 spares from senior Alston Johnson. 

Senior Cody Eason and junior Luke McCormick both bowled in the second game to secure more pins for the Raiders.

“The boys struggled closing out pins in the first match against Southern Lee,” head coach Ralph Butler said. “We bowled a 573, which is well below where we can be. If we can get around 700 pins, like we did against Pinecrest, that’s going to allow us to win a lot of matches.

“They need to continue to adjust to the oil patterns a little bit since so many of the boys bowl a hook ball,” Butler explained. “There was heavy oil to begin with, and as lane conditions changed, they started to bowl higher numbers like we’re used to seeing.”

Pinecrest, which is an annual contender for the conference championship, beat Richmond in the tiebreaker by 10 pins, 730-720. 

The Raiders won the first game 163-161 and the third game 206-150, but fell 171-197 and 180-222 in the other two games. As a team, Richmond rolled 21 strikes, 9 spares and averaged a score of 180 pins per game.

Butler noted that “the boys losing by just 10 pins to Pinecrest shows what they’re capable of” this season.

Way, a reigning All-Conference selection from last year, captained the team to 6 strikes from the anchor position and added 2 spares against the Patriots. Wheeler was just behind him with 5 strikes and a spare.

White knocked down 4 strikes and a spare to help keep the match close. Johnson and Mabe both upped their game, bowling 3 strikes and 2 spares, and 2 strikes and 2 spares, respectively. 

Freshman Sam Thompson competed in the first of the four games and collected a strike, while Eason also added a spare in the loss.

“Colin had a really good day and closed out a lot of frames,” Butler said. “William has been bowling in a league on Saturday mornings and he had a decent day, too. Cameron finished the day as the anchor and was able to do really well for us in both matches, which is what we expect from him.

“Alston and Dexter are also guys who will continue to help us. Cody, Luke and Sam are bowlers who will get worked into the lineup more, and I’m just trying to find a balanced rotation right now.”

Richmond (1-1) will compete against Hoke County and Union Pines high schools next Thursday in Laurinburg. The SAC matches will begin at 4 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni.

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