FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — Consistent, poised and focused on the job at hand, the O'Fallon Panthers are halfway home.
Senior Mikaid Stewart and junior Justin Peacock both averaged better than 231 for six games as O'Fallon took a 171-pin lead after the first day of competition on Friday at the boys state bowling tournament at St. Clair Bowl.
Second at the 2013 state finals, O'Fallon was the model of consistency as it took advantage of its home lanes to finish with a total of 6,706 pins and built itself a sizable advantage over 2011 state champion Rockford Guilford.
O'Fallon began the competition with a 1,201 game and never let up, putting together team scores ranging from 1,072 to 1,144.
All five Panthers bowlers averaged 210 or better and in the 30 games it bowled Friday, O'Fallon had just six games under 200.
"I'm thrilled with how we bowled as a team," said O'Fallon coach Mike Imes. "The boys were focused and when one of them had a bad shot or a bad game, they picked each other up. They are a pretty determined group.
"This team is pretty confident in its ability. But we're only halfway home. We're in a good spot, A 171-pin lead can go away quickly. There are a lot of great teams in this tournament.''
Guilford, led by Brett Sprecher (228.2 average) is in second place with 6,535 pins, followed by three-time state champion (Tinley Park) Andrew (6,499), Alton (6,393) and Minooka (6,288).
Also qualifying for the second day of competition were Rockton Hononegah (6,263), Collinsville, which is seventh with 6,248 pins, (Machesney Park) Harlem (6,237), (Chicago) Morgan Park (6,231), defending state champion Lockport (6,176) and Oswego (6,160) and (Chicago) St. Patrick (6,160).
Belleville East finished 14th with a score of 6,062 and Belleville West was 17th at 6,059.
Action resumes Saturday at 9:45 a.m. with third-round play. The fourth and final session begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and are priced at $10.
While Stewart and Peacock led O'Fallon, the Panthers also got strong efforts from Billy Goodman (223.0 average), Daman McIntire (222.7) and Josh Brown (210.8).
While O'Fallon used its depth to take control of the team competition, Joshuan Glover of (New Lenox) Lincoln-Way West averaged 257.0 and has a 92-pin lead over Joseph Rymsza of Andrew on the individual side.
Glover, who had games of 277, 278 and 279, had series of 751 and 791. Glover has a six-game total of 1,542
Lucas Pejakovic of Alton is third with a total of 1,428.
Dakota Vostry of Romeoville (1,427) and Zach Segatto of Minooka (1,427) are tied for fourth.
Several local individuals also moved on to the final two rounds.
Zach Miller of Mascoutah is 11th with 1,375 pins, while East bowler Justin Hess is 27th with a six-game score of 1,323.
Also moving on from East were Tyler Kuykendall who is 36th at 1,293 and Thomas Peters who is 46th at 1,279.
Ethan Seaman of West is 54th and advanced with a 1,268 score.