UNIVERSITY PLACE — If you have gotten out and watched the Bremerton High School girls bowl in Olympic League action, the West Central District tournament or even this weekend’s state championships, you will notice a familiar pitter-patter of feet.
It comes from Doug Wagner, the father of Knights coach Dean Wagner, who searches out a specific square pattern in the floor to stand within — and cheer on the team.
He often growls at folks who try and invade that small space. And he only leaves it if Bremerton struggles for a long stretch.
“If the team gets on (a) roll, my dad is one of the worst for superstitions,” Wagner said. “He will stand in (the) same place, say the same thing, and does it all the same — until we mess up.”
Like Wagner’s father, the Knights were all over the place Saturday after being the first-day leaders in the Class 3A/2A/1A state team finals at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
But it’s better to start slow and end strong, which Bremerton did in the 14-game Baker format, capturing its first state championship since 2008. The Knights totaled 7,658 pins, just ahead of the Timberline Blazers (7,613).
Leaders by 88 pins over Timberline entering the final day, Bremerton lost all of it by the third game. There were six lead changes between the two schools — until the Knights took the lead for good in the 10th game.
In that 10th game, Bremerton bowled a 187 game to Timberline’s 160, to seize a 15-pin lead. From there, the Knights built a 50-pin lead over the Blazers entering the final game.
Megan Wittenberg rolled a strike in the ninth frame for the Knights, and anchor Abby King — who carried the team in the final five games — added another strike to start the 10th frame to clinch it.
It was another valiant showing by the Blazers, who are now two-time runners-up at state. They came out with games of 177 and 182 — coupled with Bremerton’s two games of 135 and 130 — to take the overall lead.
“I think we are one of the most consistent teams here,” Timberline’s Brooke Collins said. “Bremerton was able to come back with some good games after struggling for a while. It was good for them.”
From the fourth through 12th games, the Knights’ lowest score was a 173. They also had games of 216, 211 and 200 — which are high in this format.
“We totally were (watching),” Collins said. “We wouldn’t tell each other we were doing it, but we all looked to see how far behind we were, and what we needed to do to get it.”
Losing four seniors, including co-captains Collins and Sydney Robertson, Timberline now goes into rebuilding mode.
“That will have a big impact,” Timberline co-coach John Wilson said.
In the 4A race, it wasn’t much of one at all. Two-time defending champion Battle Ground broke out to a large lead after the first day, led by state individual winner Wylicia Faley, and cruised to its third 4A crown.
“We work on being an elite program,” Battle Ground coach Harold Lysne said.
The Tigers totaled 8,224 pins. Wenatchee finished second with 7,638, and WCD champion South Kitsap placed fourth with 6,930.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com