by darren reese
Greeneville bowling coach Johnny Painter wanted his boys' team to come out with a sense of urgency Monday in the Devils' state sectional matchup against Sevier County.
That's exactly what they did.
Greeneville was dominant from the opening frame, winning 15 of the first 16 points and rolling to a 25-2 victory over the Smoky Bears at Olympia Lanes.
With the victory, the GHS boys' team earned its first trip to the state tournament since 2010.
"Our kids came out in that first game and made a statement," Painter said.
"I wish I could pinpoint every single thing that every one of my guys did today, but there were so many great efforts. All I can say is that each one of them stepped up and did their part."
This was the third time that Greeneville and Sevier County matched up this season. In their previous meeting at Olympia Lanes, the match was tied 8-8 after the second game.
"I didn't expect what I saw today," Painter said. "We had beaten them twice this year, but it was close. Coming in, I expected it to be close."
"Our guys were just determined today."
The Devils went over their pin-fall goal of 1,050 in every game, and only dropped two individual matchups the entire day.
They swept game one by taking all six pairings and holding a 1,078-923 advantage in pins.
Mattew Bowers and Caleb Nunn had the high scores for GHS in game one with a 227 and 200, respectively.
"We definitely stepped it up today," Nunn said. "We had high scores from guys across the board. Thanks to them, we were able to come out and perform well as a team."
Three other Greeneville bowlers eclipsed the 200-mark in game two. Tyler Logenbach had a 202, Spenser Moore a 201 and Garrison King a 200.
Daley Dockery finally got Sevier County on the board when he defeated Bowers and substitute Zac Miller. But the Devils won the rest of the matchups in game two and had a pinfall advantage of 1,086-879 to take an unsurmountable 15-1 lead.
With the outcome already decided headed into the final game, Painter sat Logenbach - a senior who had been bowling with an injured finger the entire day.
"He was in here practicing the other day, and went to pick up his ball and hit his ring finger on the dryer," Painter explained. "He gave it a pretty good scrape."
"He actually bowled the first two games today without putting that ring finger into the ball."
Even without one of their senior leaders, though, the Devils closed out the afternoon in commanding fashion.
Miller rolled a 235 in game three, while King (216) and Nunn (210) also went over 200. Greeneville took five of the six individual points and added the two-point bonus for a 1,092-834 pinfall advantage.
For the day, the Devils held a 3,256-2636 margin in pins, which gained them three more team points at the end and made the final 25-2 score.
Daley Dockery accounted for Sevier County's only other point, coming in game three.
Nunn, Logenbach and John Seaton Pilkington are the three seniors on this year's GHS roster. They combined to go 8-0 in individual matches Monday.
Pilkington's high score was a 179, coming in game two.
King finished the day with a three-game total of 610, marking the first time in his career he eclipsed the 600-mark.
"It couldn't have come at a better time," Painter noted.
Greeneville will now turn its sights to the state tournament, which begins Friday at the Smyrna Bowling Center.
This will mark the Devils' third trip to state. They have never won a match there.
Nunn is the only current player who was on the last state team in 2009-10.