Ava Mazella of Longwood bowls during the New York State boys...

Ava Mazella of Longwood bowls during the New York State boys and girls bowling championships on Friday, March 10, 2023, at AMF Strike-N-Spare Lanes in Syracuse, N.Y. Credit: Mark McGauley

SYRACUSE — A teary-eyed Longwood girls bowling team stepped off the lanes knowing that their comeback had fallen just short. At first the tears flowed from a state of dejection, but they soon turned to joy in knowing that they gave it their all.

“We know what we are capable of. We know any girl on this team can get a strike any time,” senior Samantha Felice said. “The energy our team gave was immaculate. If I could do this again and get second, I would, just because of this team.”

Longwood earned a second-place finish for the second consecutive year at the state championships on Friday at Strike ’N Spare Lanes. Longwood totaled 5,651 pins in the Division I championship. Section III’s Baldwinsville won the title with 5,680 pins.

Longwood entered the fourth of six games in first place by eight pins. By the beginning of the sixth game, the Lions were down 114 pins. They totaled 931 pins in the final game and fell 29 short of a first-place finish.

Felice bowled at least a 200 in each of the final three games, with a high game of 204 in the sixth game. Jolie Penney rolled a 1,209 series for Longwood, the second-highest in the tournament. She threw a 234 in the second game and a 204 in the sixth game as the back-to-back Suffolk county champions made their push.

“When we come together, the energy goes from zero to 110,” Penney said. “We know how to pick each other up.”

Cassandra Edwards had the fourth-highest total of the championship, knocking down 1,156 pins. Ava Mazella added a 1,100 series for Longwood.

“Obviously it was emotional, we all wanted to achieve the main goal, but the pins didn’t fall,” Penney said. “We have a special group, and it was amazing to be a part of history. It was a crazy experience.”

Nassau also was represented by a back-to-back county champion.

The Mineola girls bowling team earned an eighth-place finish with a six-game total of 4,823. Kelsey Morrison rolled a 1,066 series.

“Last year was a little nerve-wracking, and we thought since we won counties that we were just as good as everyone else here,” Morrison said. “Everyone really surprised us last year, so we knew we had to try and step things up.”

Michaela Palumbo, who finished this season with the second-best average (192.56) in Nassau, had a 1,060 six-game total. Mineola entered the championship with hopes of at least improving on its  ninth-place finish a year ago.

“We wanted to at a minimum place one spot higher than we did last year,” Palumbo said. “Throughout the morning session we struggled, but in the last three games, I think we pulled it together.”

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