The South Brunswick High School girls had a very young bowling team this year. As it turns out, they were also very good.
South Brunswick finished the regular season with a record of 15-0-1. The team won the Red Division and the overall Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament. South Brunswick then topped that all off by winning the Group IV championship on Feb. 13 at Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick.
"I wasn't sure what to expect because we have such a young team," South Brunswick Coach Tara Burniston said. "It's nice to see them do as well as they did."
Of the top eight bowlers on the team, only two -- Justine Bleacher and Maxine Deines -- were seniors.
Bleacher (average score of 201) and Deines (196 average) were both outstanding, but it took the maturity and success of a lot of the younger bowlers to make South Brunswick a champion.
"As one of the younger girls on the team told me, the whole season was kind of surreal," Burniston said. "They exceeded my expectations."
South Brunswick did its best job of exceeding expectations in the Group IV championships. The top two teams in each sectional advanced to the overall Group IV finals. South Brunswick advanced by placing second in Central Jersey.
"Winning Group IV was great feeling because we were able to beat Howell, the team that won Central Jersey," Burniston said.
In the Group IV finals, each team had five girls bowl two games. The five girls then combined for a Baker game, where each girls only rolls two frames.
South Brunswick had scored of 1097, 923 and 876 (the Baker score).
"They didn't bowl that well in the Baker games, but it was good enough," Burniston said. "Baker games can be tricky because you don't get a chance to make any adjustments. You're only bowling two frames."
Deines had scores of 255 and 172 over the first two games. The 255 earned her an award for second highest individual score.
Bleacher had games of 213 and 204. Brianne Font had games of 214 and 184. Alanna Zetchus had games of 223 and 214. Amy Caruso had games of 192 and 149.
As the winner of Group IV, South Brunswick advanced on with a chance to win the overall state title, something it did two years ago. The title ended up being won by Manchester.
No one should discount South Brunswick for the 2012-13 season, though. Heck, three of the girls that bowled in the state finals were either a freshman or sophomore.
Zetchus, just a freshman, finished with an average of 167. Caruso, a freshman, had an average of 154. Font, a sophomore, had an average of 175.
Pratyusha Chamarti (junior with a 169 average), Kristin Krier (a freshman with a 160 average) and Adrianna Anghelone (a freshman with a 146 average) also are scheduled to return next season.
"We're definitely losing our two top averages, but we have a lot of talent underneath," Burniston said. "We also have several talented girls on the JV team that could help next year."