Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North 1B Champion West Milford Loves Lodi

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North 1B Champion West Milford Loves Lodi

Article excerpt

LODI – Mike Nicholas keeps leaving Lodi Lanes with more than he had when he arrived.

At Thursday's North 1B boys bowling tournament, the West Milford sophomore shared the high game award after firing a 279 in the second game. That helped the Highlanders take home their third Group 3 title in six years, 3,021-2,905, over league rival Wayne Hills.

The last time West Milford bowled at Lodi this season, it won the Baker style playoffs at the New Year's Team Championships (NYTC) – where Nicholas won the raffle for a new bowling ball.

"I bowled with it [Thursday]," the right-hander said, adding with a grin, "I just like this house. I have no idea why."

That last bit was facetious, of course. Nicholas also reached the North Jersey Singles Championships quarterfinals at Lodi in December, and in the sectional, he rolled a 600-plus series for the second year in a row.

For his 279, he began with three strikes and got a 9-spare in the fourth before striking out. He tied individual champ Jivan Persaud (730 series) for the top game.

"I'd done that one other time," Nicholas said. "I got a 9-spare in the seventh frame, and was just like, 'Alright, I'm not getting a 300 anymore,' so there was no pressure on me."

Freshman R.J. Utter led West Milford with a 694 series, good for third place and a spot in the Feb. 14 state singles finals at Bowlero North Brunswick. Senior anchor Andrew Finke shot a 634 with a 236 high game.

The top two schools in each group advanced to the Feb. 12 state team finals in North Brunswick, where Wayne Hills will compete for the second straight year.

The Patriots were 41 pins behind West Milford after the opener, then did not have a bowler break 200 in the second game. They regrouped with a 1,043 in the finale, thanks to a 243 from Dylan Heinold and a 235 from Tom Luchetta.

"My sophomores bowled really well, Tom and Dylan," Wayne Hills coach Rich Basilicato said. "That last game was huge, it catapulted us right to second and made it a no-doubter. …

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