Sebastian Gebhard had a 224 in Game 1 of a...

Sebastian Gebhard had a 224 in Game 1 of a 647 series for five-time defending Suffolk champ East Islip on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The thrill of victory is a tradition within the East Islip boys bowling program — and it's one no team wants to break.

East Islip has won the last five Suffolk boys bowling team championships and is off to another strong start this season. East Islip defeated West Islip, 26.5-6.5, in Suffolk League I to improve to 10-1 at AMF Babylon Lanes Tuesday. West Islip falls to 3-7-1.

"It’s just discipline," senior Sebastian Gebhard said. "We work hard and we are at the bowling alley when no other team is. We’re shooting games constantly and it’s just hard work to get us to this point."

East Islip prides itself on its depth, which shined Tuesday. Gebhard had a 224 in Game 1 of a 647 series for East Islip as all four bowlers that competed in all three games totaled at least 600 pins.

"If someone is having a bad day, to have someone else to step in is amazing," junior Jack Baranek said. "Not many other teams have that right now — a reliable player to fall back on — and that’s what makes East Islip strong and such a great team."

Baranek had a 244 in Game 1 of a 641 series, Brenden Muller had a 226 in Game 2 of a 640 series, Shawn Watts had a 225 in Game 1 of a 392 two-game series and Matt Sundberg, an eighth-grader, rolled a 268 in Game 3 of a 735 series for East Islip.

Sundberg has quickly turned the heads of his older teammates.

"It’s like looking into the future," Gebhard said. "He’ll be here for another four years and we’ve been on this team for a long time and have seen the talent come and go. When we joined the team, we looked up to the older bowlers and said, ‘That’s where we want to be,’ but Matt is already there so it’s great to see the future is so strong."

East Islip also had motivation from West Islip’s Tim Smith. The Suffolk leader with a 253.3 average through 33 games, Smith had a 278 in Game 3 of a 772 series Tuesday.

"You really just have to bowl your best against him," Gebhard said. "I set out a goal today and said, ‘I just want to beat him one game.’ I didn’t get it but he’s a great bowler and he makes you want to work even harder."

But East Islip’s main goals always have to do with the end of the season. After not having state championships the last two seasons, Gebhard and the rest of his teammates hope to make the trip to Syracuse in March.

"I want to go with this team," said Gebhard, a five-year varsity bowler. "That would be amazing."

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