The lack of spectators was noticeable for Rachel Hines, but she wasn’t about to let that get her off her game.
The Longwood senior enjoys stepping up against the top competition in high intensity matches and she did just that Friday to lead her team to a 32-8 win over Patchogue-Medford in Suffolk I girls bowling.
Hines rolled a 227 in the second game of a 645 series and Katelyn Wheeler added a 212 in the third game for Longwood.
"I’m very grateful to be back here and to have the season going," Hines said. "The biggest difference is the lack of fans being enthusiastic but we have a great support system that’s helping us."
The match featured Suffolk’s two highest averages from last season in Hines and the Raiders' Canan Bademci.
"I definitely pay attention to how she’s doing and I watch her scores knowing that I need to try and one up her to help my team and to be the best that I can be," Hines said.
Bademci, Newsday’s 2020 girls bowler of the year, rolled a high game of 232 in a 605 series. Her teammate Gianna Guido added a match high 247 in the third game of a 616 series.
"With them being such a good team it’s always competitive," Bademci said. "I knew I needed to pick up my spares and even though I was missing them I was able to come back in the last game."
Bademci and Hines were both members of the Suffolk All-Star team that competed upstate last year.
"They’re definitely conscious of who they’re bowling against," Longwood coach David Huey said. "And Rachel thrives on competition. It’s a testament to how much she bowls and how much work she puts in. She’s so used to it that she doesn’t get nervous."
Both Hines and Wheeler agreed it will take some getting used to not having spectators at the matches but are looking forward to just being able to compete again with their friends.
"It’s great to be back here because I haven’t been able to see many people," Wheeler said. "At first it was weird but it’s just nice to be back and we’re helping each other get through it."