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Wenatchee High School's Kayla Musgrove reacts to a missed strike during her team's match with Eastmont Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Eastmont Lanes. Wenatchee lost the first game by six pins. For a video, see The Wenatchee World's Facebook page.

EAST WENATCHEE — The two major bowling powers in the state met Wednesday at Eastmont Lanes. Eastmont and Wenatchee have accounted for the last four 4A state bowling championships, with the Wildcats winning the past three.

Despite the accolades, this is a new season and both teams have stumbled to start. Eastmont started the season by winning the Moses Lake Invite, then losing 3-1 to Eisenhower, before rebounding to beat West Valley 3-1.

Wenatchee opened with a 3-1 win at Davis, then lost at Moses Lake on Tuesday by two pins. Of course, throw the records out when the rivals meet. It is a good-natured rivalry certainly as the girls share the same bowling alley.

The first game, Eastmont built up an 80-pin lead midway through, but the Panthers scrapped their way back thanks in large part to junior Kylah Hankins, the reigning Big 9 Bowler of the Year, bowled seven straight strikes down the stretch.

The Panthers were victimized by a number of gutter balls in the game, not the least which came in the final frames, which in essence, cost them the game. Eastmont won the first game 764-758.

“There were some key mistakes in the first game that cost us. It made it more interesting for the fans watching. We have a lot of young bowlers on the team. That’s a big thing. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we’ll get some of our veterans back,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Jeremy Anders.

Hankins finished with a sizzling 241. Cami Carter had a 147 for Wenatchee. Eastmont was led by Avila Ellington with a 177.

In game two, Wenatchee built up a lead early and held it throughout. Hankins started out where she left off in the previous game with five straight strikes. Eastmont made a late run to make it interesting at the end.

Wenatchee held a 735-704 lead going into the final bowlers, Hankins and Eastmont’s closer Colby Hull. Hankins led off with a strike while Hull picked up the spare. The Panthers held on for the game win, 765-720.

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Kyla Hankins throws one of several strikes to get the high score of 241 in the first game of her team's match with Eastmont on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Hankins led all bowlers with a 213.

“She is one of the top bowlers in the state. She proved right there. She’s the defending Bowler of the Year and in the Big 9 and she showed you why. You don’t see many bowlers bowl 450 over two games,” Anders said of Hankins.

Kayla Musgrove bowled 167 for Wenatchee. Jaden Thompson rolled a 158. For Eastmont, Samantha Heinz and Morgan Lindell bowled 158.

Wenatchee took a 2-1 lead in the match with 165-147 win in the first Baker. The Panthers held a 57-pin lead going into the second Baker. If the two teams tie, then the team with most pins wins.

Sure enough, Eastmont was rolling in the second Baker, threatening that 57-pin lead. The Panthers were able to fight back, making the final tally 185-146. So the match was tied 2-2.

Wenatchee won on total pins, 1,834 to 1,816.

“Yesterday was just a tough day for us as a team. A couple of girls were not feeling well. We were short today too. It’s good to come back and get a win. We’re down three of our top six averages. To get the win is pretty special,” Anders said.

Anders helped to start the Eastmont bowling program and was their coach in the early years. He said beating the Wildcats was bittersweet.

“There are still a couple of girls I coached on the team. I came in thinking it was special but with mixed emotions for sure,” Anders said.

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Eastmont's Colby Hull reacts to a strike in the first game of her team's match with Wenatchee Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Eastmont Head Coach Christy Bingle, once an Anders assistant, said she was pleased Anders took the job. She feels it will be a tight league race this season.

“It has been close. We had a 3-1 loss to Ike, but a 3-1 win against West Valley. Moses Lake is right there. What I saw at the Moses Lake Invitational, Davis has improved also,” Binge said. “We’re really young this year because we pretty much graduated everybody. There were some nerves going today.”

Wenatchee improved to 2-1 in league, while Eastmont fell to 1-2.

Anders said he is waiting for some of his experienced bowlers to return to action.

“Hannah Johnson is due to come back in the next week or two. We have another girl with medical issues, Mackenzie Monroe. Hopefully, she’ll be back by Dec. 1. And Alisha Ferguson. These are girls on their way back. Once we get them, we’ll have a really deep team. The second half of the year will be really strong for us,” Anders said.

Next up for Eastmont, a home match against Moses Lake (1-0, 1-1) on Dec. 3. Wenatchee hosts Sunnyside (0-0, 1-1) next Tuesday.

Ian Dunn: 664-7157

dunn@wenatcheeworld.com