Franklin DiGiacomo believes that every bowler “has a week,” and last week the Brick Memorial High School junior had his.
DiGiacomo bowled his third-ever 300 game, first in the Shore Conference A South, and had three 700 series last week to move to the top of the conference in average with a 228 coming into this week. The Mustangs, who finished first in A South last year, lead the way at 25-2.
“I didn’t know it [a 300 game] would come that early in the season, but I felt it as soon as I got to my eighth or ninth shot,” said DiGiacomo, who was clean all the way through on his 300 in the first game of a 732 series of a sweep against Toms River High School South on Jan. 5. He also had a sanctioned 300 game and a nonsanctioned one, both in open league play.
“We had no doubt about it. He was right on,” coach Mike Russomano said.
And DiGiacomo came close again last Thursday when he reeled off strikes on his first four balls and settled for a 279 game in a 783 series against Manchester. He ended the week with a 718 against Lakewood on Friday.
DiGiacomo and his teammates, who won NJSIAA Group IV South and Group IV titles last year, are looking to defend their Brick Tournament title that takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday at Ocean Lanes.
“We’re ready,” Russomano said. “We have our sights set on this.”
His team is slated to play Toms River High School North on Jan. 12 and Brick Township High School on Thursday in a match-postponed match from last month, because of snow.
“We really wanted to do well in the Winter Classic [a fourth-place finish on Jan. 9 at Carolier Lanes in South Brunswick] but didn’t do as well as we should have,” Russomano said. “We had a little bit of an off day and missed some spares.”
Dominick Romano was tied for second in high game for the tournament with a 279 and had a 715 series, which was second highest. The Mustangs led after the first game, slipped back in the second and recovered in the third game, but not enough to make up all of the lost ground.
But this is a new week, and confidence remains high with the Mustangs.
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to win the Brick Tournament again,” DiGiacomo said.
And with good reason.
Brick Memorial has five of the top six bowlers in A South, based on average, with Domenick Luongo and Dominick Romano following with 225 averages, Brandon Barboza just one pin behind in fourth and Matt Clark in sixth place with a 213 average.
“We’re just as good now as last year when we won the state championship,” DiGiacomo said. “We lost one starter, and Matt Clark came up from the junior varsity and is keeping up the standard. I felt this could be a great year, and we just have to make sure our shots stay consistent.”
Brick Township High School girls, meanwhile, lead Shore Conference A South with a 22-2 record and are ready to shoot for the top of the Brick Tournament, which has a loaded bracket for the morning and afternoon sessions. Brick Township was third last year. Brick Memorial girls coach David Thompson is league secretary.
“We’re doing pretty good,” said coach Linda Sarraf whose team finished third in the Winter Classic last Saturday after sitting in second place midway through behind Ashley Lane, who had the second highest game with a 255 and a 693 series. Freshman Sydney Scelfo chipped in with a 247 game and a 592 series. Brick Memorial finished in fourth place.
“We bowled very well in the Winter Classic, and I’m very happy,” Sarraf said. “The competition was absolutely fantastic. I’m very pleased with how they have done this season. We have six girls who are very strong, but everybody has to perform their very best in our [Brick] Tournament. What I like is their team concept. They stay in the game and don’t lose their composure.”
Brick Township was third in the Brick Tournament last year and this season has three bowlers among the top four in the Shore Conference in A South on average. Kaitlyn Nardiello leads the conference with a 209 average and Scelfo is second at 204 while Katarina Kiseli is fourth at 202 coming into this week.