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East Islip boys bowling reclaims its spot as state champs

East Islip's boys bowling team reacts to a

East Islip's boys bowling team reacts to a shot by teammate Nick DeFazio during the NYSPHSAA Bowling Championships at the AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes in Syracuse on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Credit: Heather Ainsworth

It's great to be back on top.

After a seven-year absence, East Islip's boys bowling team owns the state championship trophy again.

John Kavanaugh led the roll to the top with a 239 game to complete his 1,238 series in the finals against Fulton at Strike 'N Spare Lanes in Syracuse.

"It was the biggest tournament ever for me," said Kavanaugh, a senior. "I really have no idea how we did it. We earned everything."

East Islip coach Bob Cheadle said that his team "never gave up on itself" and "they realized they were good enough to win in this tournament."

The first real test for East Islip happened right away, in the regular-season opener against defending county champion Sachem East. East Islip passed the test with flying colors, and beat Sachem East en route to the Suffolk title.

"We started off good," said Cheadle, who guided East Islip (14-0) to the League II title. "We had a little bit of a rocky midseason, but once we put our focus on where it belonged, we were good to go."

Senior Nick Salentino kept the good times rolling when he averaged 241.33, second best in Suffolk, to help East Islip beat Sachem East in the team final.

"It was my best match in the county tournament," Salentino said. "I'm glad I was able to deliver when it mattered most."

Senior Nick DeFazio saved his best performance for the state finals. He rolled a 233 in Game 2 of a 1,227 series, which contributed to East Islip's run at the crown.

East Islip rallied from a third-place standing after the first three games of the state tournament.

"We all zoned in during the final three games," DeFazio said. "You couldn't break our concentration. It was awesome. There wasn't a weak link in our lineup. We're all really good bowlers and pulled together at the most important time of the season."

That's why they're champs.

And back on top.

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