The Lacey Township High School girls bowling team won the state Group II championship at the 2018 Tournament of Champions at Bowlero in North Brunswick on Friday. It was the first state championship for the Lions in the program’s three-year history.

Seeded second, the Lions went on to compete in the TOC but fell 3-1 to Group IV champ and No. 3 seed Toms River North, which ultimately won the title.

In the Group II finals, the Lions were down by about 20 pins in the first game and had to rally to keep up with Manchester Township and Colts Neck.

The team rallied in the second game to bowl a 993 and retake the lead. They finished with a 970 in the third to hold on.

“They’ve been doing it all season,” Lacey coach Jack Mahar said. “ When they need to step it up, they get the job done.”

Junior Samantha Tremblay led the team earning the high series with 587 and the high game at 214. The Lions finished the tournament with a total of 2,807 pins ahead of Colts Neck with 2,748 and Manchester with 2,682.

“It honestly feels amazing,” Trembley said. “We worked really hard and when we get our energy up, we start bowling better.”

Trembley said the team is like a family and helped each other stay positive. Even though Trembley led the Lions to the title, Mahar said her team was right there with her.

“This was the most balance tournament scoring-wise we’ve had as a team,” Mahar said.

This is the second year in a row Lacey won its division and the South Jersey Group II championships. Senior Liz Schreier competed in the individual state championships with Trembley on Wednesday and finished 22nd out of 51.

Mahar said this state championship win is a bittersweet end to a “dream season” as three seniors will graduate.

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