In a match against North Bullitt last month the junior Jo Jo Miller — perfect through nine frames — needed just one more strike to complete a 300 game.
“It really hit me when I got to the 10th frame. I was shaking and nervous,” said the 16-year-old with a 221 average.
Everyone and everything in Derby Lanes froze as Miller zeroed in. Using his signature two-hand release, Miller delivered the ball on a crash course down lane 34.
Two excruciating seconds passed before the fifteen-pounder smashed into the 1-3 pocket.
Not a pin was left standing.
“I turned around and everybody was yelling, cheering, clapping,” said Miller. “A weight came off my chest.”
It was Miller’s fifth career perfect game, but it was first in the state to go down in KHSAA record books.
Bowling, the first new sport to be sanctioned by the KHSAA since fast-pitch softball in 1995, is enjoying a high profile in its inaugural season with 80 schools competing.
Tigers coach Randy Cook believes the sport is trending upward: “We’ve picked up quite a few teams so I hope it will grow and get competitive.”
Miller explained that sanctioning has not been a dramatic change for those who competed in years past as part of the Kentucky High School Bowling League.
“There is more incentive now because it’s widely recognized,” said Miller.
The state championship will be contested March 23-24 in Louisville Executive Bowl on Phillips Lane.
“I see it growing exponentially,” Miller said. “Everybody is going to come out and realize how much fun it is and bring all their friends to join the team.”
Girls – 18
Take four star seniors, throw in a strong bench and add the motivation that comes from a second-place finish at last year’s state tournament.
What you get is the state’s best girls’ basketball team.
Manual — ranked No. 1 in both The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings and The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Cantrall Ratings — entered this week undefeated through its first 15 games and has outscored Kentucky opponents by an average of 37.1 points.
Head coach Stacy Pendleton said there are significant differences between this year’s team and last season’s squad that fell to Rockcastle County 56-54 in the state championship game.
“The basketball IQ on the team is a lot higher,” said Pendleton. “We can do more things and change up quicker. They have a calm and a quiet confidence that I really like.”
Jan. 14 the Lady Crimsons travel to No. 2 Marion County for a 6:30 p.m. tilt.
The Lady Knights (13-2) are also undefeated against in-state competition with their only losses coming to Winward School (Calif.) and Mater Dei (Calif.) at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix last month.
“Playing them is always a big deal,” said senior guard April Wilson. “I don’t think we’ve ever been more ready.”
Wilson (13.1 ppg.), Wright (13.2), Lauren Bodine (7.8) and LeAsia Wright (8.3) make up a senior class Pendleton called “the best I’ve ever had.”
Six-foot-two junior center Kayla Styles has been sidelined with a sprained knee but should be back in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game.
Junior Katie Long and sophomore Tabitha Mitchell chip in valuable minutes and “have come a long way” according to Pendleton.
“Developing our seventh and eighth kids is paramount to our success,” he said. “I’m looking to get more contributions from those kids.”
This weekend’s matchup with Marion County kicks off a two-week stretch that will see the Lady Crimsons face a Ryle team with only two losses (Jan. 20) and defending Ohio state champion, Twinsburg (Jan. 21), before Louisville Invitational Tournament play begins at Bellarmine Jan. 24.
Post-season awards and honors continue to pile up for the state and national champion Trinity High School football team.
Coach Bob Beatty was named the Russell Athletic Coach of the Year on Jan. 6 at a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.
Voted by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee, the award honors the nation’s top coach and recognizes exceptional coaching abilities and leadership skills.
Beatty, in his 12th year at the helm, led the Shamrocks to a flawless 14-0 record and their ninth state title in 11 years.
In addition, MaxPreps named wide receiver James Quick a first-team U.S. Air Force Junior All-American. Quick caught 82 passes for 1,434 yards and 21 TDs. He is now a star on Trinity’s No. 1 basketball team.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.