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Morris bowlers steamroll conference teams at tournament

DIXON – Not only did the Morris girls bowling team win the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference tournament Monday night – the Redskins did it in landslide fashion.

The Redskins not only won the event, they dominated, winning by 745 pins against the hosts at Plum Hollow Lanes in Dixon.

Morris coach Harry Banks said his team was simply ready for that particular event.

“We were going to have a good day when we walked in the door,” Banks said. “Last year these exact same girls lost by one pin [to Sycamore]. They have been gearing for that tournament all season.”

Morris had a team pin total of 7,230 on Monday while Dixon ended with 6,485. Streator was third at 6,167.

Amber Benson said the team remembered the league tournament last year.

“We lost by one pin in Sycamore ... but we’ve gotten really good and dominated this year,” she said.

Junior Jessica Winter led all Morris bowlers with a pin count of 1,291 (215 average). She said the team was determined not to let happen what happened last year in Sycamore happen again.

“I think we did really well. Everyone was amazing. I think we all had good faith that we were going to win it,” Winter said. “Harry brought it up right before we started. It was like we weren’t going to let that happen again. We felt that we were really going to push and totally destroy everyone.”

Banks admitted he used last year’s conference tournament as motivation this time around.

“It was very much on our radar. One of our goals was to win that tournament,” he said. “Walking in that door [at Plum Hollow], we knew that we had bowled well against all of those schools at the tournament and they proceeded to bowl good the whole day.”

Winter said she had a good feel that things were right on for the Redskins early.

“After the first couple of games I had a good feeling,” she said. “We were all in a really good mood, which was helpful. It was a good day.”

Both Benson and Winter said this year’s team really has started to figure it out.

“We’ve learned that we have to keep our head in the game and do our best and I think this year we have really worked more as a team,” Benson said. “We help each other out.”

“I think we all just love bowling and that helps us,” Winter said. “Whether we win or not, it’s for the fun. It does take the pressure off. We all love winning, but at the end, the fun of bowling helps a lot.”

Other scores Monday for Morris came from: junior Taylor Warwick (1,226), senior Skylar Easson (1,187), senior Imelda Garcia (1,184), senior Savannah Strange (1,177) and Benson (1,165).

Morris finished with an 8-1 league record and is guaranteed no less than a tie for the NIB12 championship, depending on how Dixon fares against Streator this week.

“This is the best we have bowled all season and we are doing it at the right time,” Banks said. “You can’t really ask for anything more than that.”

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