It was two months ago when Collinsville bowling coach Sean Hay took a young and inexperienced Kahoks squad to Bowl Haven in Alton and came back with a season-opening loss.
It would be its only setback of the year.
"We had a lot of new faces and young bowlers in the lineup and Alton, especially on their homes lanes, is always tough to beat,'' Hay said. "But it's not the same team now. These girls have grown and matured as bowlers. We feel like we can compete with anybody.''
And last week at Airport Bowl in Bethalto, the Kahoks showed just how much they've matured since late November.
Led by senior and individual champion Courtney Otradovec, the Kahoks scored a 451-pin win over O'Fallon and are one of the teams to beat today at the Alton Sectional at Bowl Haven Lanes in Godfrey.
Southwestern Conference foes O'Fallon, Belleville West and Alton, along with Columbia, Triad and Highland, are also in the 12-team field, which will begin bowling at 9 a.m.
The second round will begin at 1 p.m., with the top four teams and top five individuals not on those teams advancing to the girls state bowling tournament, Feb. 21-22 at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
Along with Otradovec's big day, she averaged better than 219 over the six games, the Kahoks also got strong sectional efforts from freshman Katelynn Wirtel and junior Lindsey Collins, who both averaged over 200, to help lead to a 6,236-pin total.
"We were really consistent,'' Hay said. "Courtney had a great day, but the thing about it is that we had different girls step up.
"When one of them had an off game, we would have someone step up and shoot 200-215. And even our bad games, weren't bad. Like 170-185.''
O'Fallon's second-place finish was led by sisters Jordan and Madison Kasza, along with senior Raven LeFlore. Senior Syleena White put up the best total for West.
Columbia has a top bowler in senior Miranda Rodenhofer. Highland is led by sophomore Makayla Smith and Triad's best is junior Michelle Fresen.
Edwardsville senior Meagan Mayo, who won individual title at the Alton Regional, is another top local to watch.
Hay said he thinks it should be a good day for Southwestern Conference schools.
"I think you could possibly see four SWC teams advance. Alton, on its home lanes, will be tough to beat,'' Hay said. "Two teams to watch though are Salem and Herrin. Both are very well coached and always are tough to beat at this time of year.''