Mid. North bowlers on a roll this season

first_img The Middletown High School North boys bowling team currently owns a 16-6 mark — good enough for first place in the Shore Conference’s Class B North division. Coach John Oxley’s Lions are coming off a strong week that included sweeps of Shore Regional and Long Branch. The strong showings came on the heels of similar performances against Monmouth Regional and Christian Brothers Academy; in the latter match, Middletown North rolled a season-high 1,188 team game. Meanwhile, the Lions’ per-game average, which hovered in the mid-900s early in the campaign, has risen to more than 1,000 pins, and Oxley is hoping to add another 100 pins to that average by tournament time. The Lions are poised to head into the third round of conference matches — all teams in B North play each other three times during the regular season. CBA, Middletown South, Monmouth Regional, Shore Regional and Long Branch round out the conference. Oxley’s team also picked up a tournament championship during the holiday break by winning the Keyport-hosted Red Raider Classic at Airport Lanes in Hazlet. Jay Silver has been Middletown North’s top keggler. The junior leads the team with a 210 average and his calm demeanor and consistency have impressed Oxley, who is in his first season at the Lions’ helm. Four-year veteran Jeff Onorato has also helped to pace the Lions’ attack. Onorato averages 207.5 pins and has several 600-plus series to his credit, with a high game of 279. Jesse Stanton, another veteran, is averaging just above 200 pins, as is lefty Cory Widmaier. The two seniors serve as co-captains, and Oxley praised their leadership ability. Cory Diehl is the Lions’ fifth starter. The fast-improving sophomore averages 195 pins and has a 250-pin game to his credit. Ian Grant, a senior, and Nick Windle, a freshman, have also seen some playing time for the Lions. “We’ve been getting better at picking up our spares, and that’s been a big plus,” the coach said. “I keep stressing how important it is to pick up the easy spares. They just have to keep their concentration and not get frustrated that they didn’t get a strike. If we hit those spares, we’ll stay in the 1,000-pin range, and that, in turn, puts pressure on our opposition if it’s close in the 10th frame.” Oxley cited his team’s 1,188 game against CBA as a prime example. Among Middletown North’s five bowlers there were just two open frames. “You’re always going to have your 7/10 splits, but the difference between winning and losing is often your other spares,” Oxley said. “It’s all about maximizing your pin count. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img