BEAVERCREEK — Not ending the regular season the way it was hoping, Fairborn had one goal in mind.
Win out. And so far, so good.
The Skyhawks girls bowling team fired a 4,150 team score to win the Division I District Championship on Thursday at Beaver-Vu Lanes.
The co-champions of the Miami Valley League during the regular season nearly finished with an unbeaten record in league play. In the final match of the season, the team lost to Xenia by 28 pins to share the conference crown with the Bucs.
In the league tournament four days later, the story repeated itself as Xenia won a rematch in the finals of the bracket portion of the event to force a runner-up finish for Fairborn.
The motivation was placed right in front of the team for the taking in the postseason.
“They had a let down where they didn’t win the Miami Valley League there and that turned it on,” Skyhawks head coach Jeff Fuller said. “And that was has got them going. After that, they had it in their mind they’re going to go.”
Coming off a win at the sectional tournament, Fairborn was the most consistent group of the district meet. In the 116-pin district title performance, it fired the only combined game of four digits during the tournament by scoring exactly 1,000 in the second games. During the six Baker games, the Skyhawks four times had 200-plus scores, with no other team having more than two such games.
Fairborn has not finished below second-place in any multi-team tournament it has competed in this season.
In second place on Thursday after the individual games by 14, its deficit to Troy fell by 60 pins after the first Baker game. Fairborn turned it on afterward with a 207 average to eclipse the Trojans down the stretch by 40 pins per game.
Fairborn had two top-10 individual finishers as well. Samantha Lapraire combined in her three games for a 630 series to finish in fourth place, while Natalie Hanson bowled a 612 for ninth.
More than just the top scores, Tessa Shearer bowled a 602 series and Samantha Eichman had 566. Caliyah Henry had a 213 game score, with Morgan Woods adding 134.
“Tessa came through as the three, then Natalie came through in the last two [games] after she started out slow,” Fuller said. “Both Sammy and Samantha bowled great first games out. We had three in the 600s, so I can’t argue anything they did, they were great. They did a real good job.”
Fairborn were the state runner-up two years ago. Last season, Hanson made it as an individual. Now the entire team gets to make the trip once more.
“They’ve just been bowling together so long now and they root each other,” Fuller said. “It used to be everyone worried about individual awards and all that. They’re not worried about that much this year.”
The state tournament will begin at 10:45 a.m., on March 12 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Xenia did not have a strong start but nearly made a comeback in the Baker games before settling for a seventh place finish to end its season.
“Our first game was in the 790s, and if it’s 830 or 40 then we have an opportunity,” Xenia head coach Robert Rose said. “We thought we needed to shoot 850 every game. And we were below that the first and second game, but our Baker totals pretty respectable. And then our game three was respectable, but first and second games we dug ourselves.”
Xenia’s team score of 3,654 came up 43 pins short of a spot at state. The Bucs were 111 back heading to the Baker games, but couldn’t make up much ground early before a strong finish produced the third-best team score of the Baker sessions.
Paige Rockwell, last year’s district champion, was the top finisher for the Bucs with a 572 series to finish in 20th. Her score came up 22 pins short of state qualification.
Tori McPherson had a 532 series to finish in 47th. Alison Cassanio bowled 521 and Mackenzie Barker had a 491.
Quinn Lamb had a game of 154 and Haley Kumpf at 135.
Xenia had qualified for last year’s state tournament with a top-10 finish. The team said it’s still proud for a league title this year.
“The week that we’d beat Fairborn in the duel match and then win the MVL tournament and beat Troy and Fairborn, who are going to state, during the bracket semifinals and finals, you know that we were capable, but our margin for error is minimal,” Rose said. “Today just wasn’t a fantastic game.”
Beavercreek also had its season end with a 13th place finish after a team score of 3,475.
Cierra Bolen had a 535 series to finish in 43rd place as an individual. Madison Baker bowled 513 and Allison Wolfe 508. Holleigh Hagens had a game of 182.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.