Nick Niles changes balls, leads Chaminade to CHSAA team title

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Nick Niles' approach was controlled, and his result, explosive.

After struggling slightly in the first few frames of his first game in the CHSAA team championship, the Chaminade bowler made the executive decision. His dull bowling ball went out of rotation, and a polished one came out to play.

"It's a less aggressive reaction and more controllable, especially since it won't hook too much," the junior said. "I shred the rack with it every single time."

Which is to say: he did really, really well.

Niles bowled a match-high 268 in Game 2, and was perfect through eight frames. First-seeded Chaminade was pretty perfect, too, defeating Kellenberg, 1,155-1,178, 1,203-1,129, and 1,228-1,041 to clinch its second straight title and second straight undefeated season. Niles finished with a 706 series, bowling 203 in Game 1 and 235 in Game 3. No. 3 Kellenberg finishes 9-6.

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"I'm very happy," said senior captain Phil Loeschinger, who bowled a 225 in Game 2 of a 660 series. "I really wanted this in the beginning of the year. After tryouts, I saw our potential, and I knew this was going to be a great season."

The tournament is decided on a point system, with three bowlers from each team making up the "A" squads, while another three each made up the "B." The two A squads face each other for three games, as do the B. Points are awarded for a game victory, as well as total wood. Chaminade (14-0) won four of the six games, and tied for a fifth. The Flyers also took total wood.

The setup meant some maneuvering by coach Steven Toner, who, in addition to moving bowlers in and out of teams, made the decision to bump Alex Cipollone to the "A" squad for Game 3. Cipollone bowled on "B" in Game 1 and was on the practice squad in Game 2; His 181 in Game 3 was pivotal, Toner said. "Alex struggled in the first game . . . but when he went to the practice lanes, he did well, and then he came back because they needed him," Toner said. "It was a big, big boost to us."

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