MUSKEGON – One of Yogi Berra’s classic Yogisms goes as follows: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
While Berra’s point was tongue-in-cheek, senior leaders on Orchard View’s boys bowling team can relate when it comes to their sport of choice.
“It’s definitely 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical. It’s all in your head,” Cardinals senior Jeremy Broughton said about bowling’s challenges.
For the most part this season, Orchard View’s bowling squad has been on point.
Led by Konner Maus, Korbin TenBrink and Broughton – three seniors ranking within the top six of the West Michigan Conference individual boys leaderboard – the Cardinals have enjoyed their perch atop the league standings.
“It’s been amazing. We have amazing teammates and everything. The coaches, they get along really well with us. It’s a great experience,” TenBrink said.
Orchard View finished 7-1 in the regular-season portion of the WMC. The Cardinals’ lone loss came against rival Oakridge in a recent head-to-head matchup. The Eagles currently sit at 6-1 in the WMC standings with a match against third-place Holton remaining.
The conference championship will be up for grabs Feb. 13 at Northway Lanes. Winning the WMC has been a goal for Orchard View for the season, but a bigger one is getting to the state finals as a team.
In order to get to the Division 3 state finals March 3-4 at JAX 60 in Jackson, the Cardinals will have to qualify during the Feb. 24-25 regional at Sherman Bowling Center.
“Individually, I want to try to get to state this year, which hopefully I can do, and try to get top 10. I think that would be a really good achievement to be top 10 in the state for sure,” said Maus, who qualified individually for the state finals as a sophomore but came up just short last season.
“Team-wise, make it to state, 100 percent. Our team has not done that yet, so I think it would be cool.”
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
Maus led the WMC in season average for a good stretch this season before Ravenna’s Dylan Gordan recently moved into the top spot. Gordan is currently averaging 192 (2691 pins in 14 games), while Maus is at 189 (2642 in 14 games).
Nos. 3-6 in average for WMC boys bowlers include Holton’s Scott Tuff (179), TenBrink (176), Holton’s Bo Larabee (173) and Broughton (170), respectively.
Orchard View has proven fully capable of getting hot, however. The Cardinals have shot in the low- to mid-900s as team in a handful of games this season, including during a match against Whitehall when they went 951-938. In that match, TenBrink shot 254-172 and Broughton 201-254.
With the difficult Phantom oil pattern, those scores are quite impressive, according to Orchard View head coach Bob Larabee and assistant coach Jeff Maus. That’s the oil pattern on which the Cardinals typically bowl, including at their home house at Northway Lanes. It’s also the pattern used in the MHSAA state tournament.
“It’s very hard to keep a good score usually, most of the time. I mean, you have to rely heavily on your spares,” Konner Maus said about the Phantom pattern. “You can’t really string out strikes like a house shot. Very sensitive shot.”
Maus should know. He’s been around bowling since a young age. It’s in his blood.
His grandfather, Richard Maus, was inducted into the Greater Muskegon Hall of Fame in 1999. His father, the aforementioned Jeff Maus, has been bowling in adult leagues for 30 years but got his start in the sport well before that.
Konner Maus earned all-conference honors for Orchard View as a sophomore and junior and he appears to be a lock to receive more accolades this season.
Broughton is less experienced than Maus, picking up bowling as a freshman, but he also earned all-league honors last season. TenBrink is even less experienced than Broughton, joining the bowling team last year.
“The biggest thing is, for us as seniors, once you know what your ball is going to do you kind of learn to adjust quickly,” Broughton said. “The underclassmen, they’re just getting into it. They don’t feel comfortable moving and moving your mark, that kind of thing.”
Bob Larabee stresses to his team that anybody can throw a strike, but to be a good bowler, one has to pick up spares.
Being able to regroup when things don’t necessarily go your way is critical in bowling.
Again, it’s that mental component.
“Very mental. I’ve seen it destroy people before in tournaments. It’s definitely a mental game,” Konner Maus said.
Added Broughton: “If you’re bowling a bad game and you get down on yourself, it gets everybody else down, too. What I’ve learned is, you’ve always got to stay positive. There’s always another game, there’s always another frame – you’ve just got to restart.”
Photos by Billy Mann | CatchMark
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