By Jeff Steers
Brooklyn Exponent editor
(Submitted to Second Half)
Vandercook Lake High School girls bowling coach Todd Reichard likes each of his athletes to complete her toss with a hand up in the air like a bowling trophy.
Those who don’t complete their throws with a trophy pose are assigned to a two-minute penalty in the position.
Junior Malloree Ambs is the worst offender of this rule.
But last weekend she walked out of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 Bowling Finals at Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights with a trophy, two medals and an individual championship.
Reichard still held up two fingers during the Finals each time Ambs failed to assume the bowling trophy position.
Ambs finished first in the individual tournament with a win over Paige Huebel of Oscoda High School. She finished with a total of 375 pins over two games to defeat Huebel by 14 pins.
Ambs is the first Vandercook Lake bowler to win a title since Nicole Crabtree won in 2009.
She rebounded from a rocky qualifying round where she made the top 16 field by only 14 pins.
“I had a rough time of it during the qualifying round,” Ambs said. “I knew I had to come back and battle.”
Ambs, Jessica Bunch and Becky Cecil all advanced to the round of 16. Cecil – who qualified 16th – knocked off the number one seed in round one and Bunch earned an easy win in her first round.
Huebel defeated Cecil in round two (423-377 for two games[, Bunch tied with Kaitlin Gunsell of Unionville-Sebewaing but lost in a roll-off, and Ambs defeated Melissa Sleda of Sandusky (409-343).
One more pin by Bunch in regulation would have meant that she would have faced Ambs in the semifinal.
“I was somewhat relieved because I hate bowling against my teammates,” Ambs said.
Ambs defeated Gunsell 399 to 331 in the semifinals to advance to the finals.
She trailed by 11 pins after game one of the finals as a split in the sixth frame slowed her pace. Huebel experienced a split in game two in the fifth frame to open the door for Ambs.
Ambs appeared to have the match wrapped up after that, but an open in the 10th frame opened the door for Huebel. When the Oscoda bowler did not strike in the 10th frame, the victory went to Ambs.
She is the third VCL bowler to win an individual title, joining Crabtree in 2009 and Dee Dee Briggs in 2005.
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PHOTO: Vandercook Lake junior Malloree Ambs won the Division 4 individual title Saturday at Sunnybrook Lanes. (Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Exponent.)