SYRACUSE - Alissa Fontana said she had the "best experience ever" in her first year on the Suffolk All-Star girls bowling team.
Who could blame her?
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The Sachem East sophomore had the best showing for Suffolk in its second-place finish Sunday at Strike 'N Spare Lanes.
Fontana bowled a 239 in Game 5 of a 1,247 series, the highest pinfall of the day. She had a 207.83 average, ahead of Angela Gabriele (Section VI), who had a 205.33.
"This was so much fun. I loved every minute of it," Fontana said. "We kept cheering, didn't get down on each other, and kept each other going."
Suffolk finished with a 5,717 series. Section VI placed first with a 5,786 series.
"I mean, during the second game, we had some trouble, but we got better and better because we adjusted and talked things over," Fontana said of Game 2, when Suffolk bowled a series-low 836. "We worked on throwing the ball faster and not worrying about one miss so much. Just forget about it."
Middle Country's Brooke Kelsey didn't sweat the small stuff either, even if the lanes weren't exactly perfect.
"We didn't get fresh oil after the first three games. It was all burnt," said Kelsey, who rolled a 194 in Game 1 of a 1,067 series. "Some bowl better on dry lanes and then some bowl better on oily conditions. For me personally, I bowl better in between."
Suffolk coach Harold Cooley, of East Islip, said the bottom line was that his All-Stars surpassed last season's fifth-place showing. "I think the girls hung in there and battled," Cooley said. "We had one tough game in Game 2, but other than that, we bowled real well. They'll be back."
Kelsey gave a shout-out to Patchogue-Medford's Brittany Arne, who rolled a 199 average, as well as the rest of her teammates. "I love all the girls," Kelsey said. "I'm going to miss them. Second place is one heck of an accomplishment."
So is fourth place, which is where Nassau finished with a 5,501 series. Syosset's Mackenzie Wagner shined, bowling a 211 in Game 6 of a 1,164 series.
"I felt like I was trying real hard to get to the pocket," said Wagner, who was seventh overall. "That was the biggest thing today. Hitting my mark."
Section VI hit its mark all day, winning by 69 pins.
Emily McLaughlin, of Island Trees, said there was nothing for Nassau to hang its head about. "This was one of the best teams I've ever been on," said McLaughlin, who won the All-Star Sportsmanship Award and rolled a 220 in Game 3 of an 1,109 series. "We held our own and picked each other up when a spare was needed."
Nassau coach Donna Weikman called the All-Star tournament "a wholesome, good place for the kids to be in."
The Bethpage coach added: "They're all very nice kids who deserved to be amongst the best of the best."