High Rollers match KingPins for the league’s best record; Strikers’ bad luck continues

In Anderson, Ind., Andrew Anderson led the Las Vegas High Rollers to a 2-0 evening during Rounds 7-8 of the PBA Elite League presented by Snickers. With wins over the Akron Atom Splitters and Motown Muscle, the High Rollers move to 6-2 on the season and claim a share of the league's best record.

The New Jersey KingPins, also 6-2, hold the current tiebreaker based on their Round 6 victory over Las Vegas. The High Rollers hold the total pinfall advantage over the KingPins 3,469-3,303, which would come into play should the High Rollers win the Round 13 rematch on April 22.

Anderson said the team’s practice before their Round 7 match against Akron was as bad as any practice they’ve had all season. After falling in the first game, the High Rollers responded with a 219-206 victory to force a three-ball roll-off, which they won 30-27.

“Every team is solid, but Akron is built really well and well rounded,” Anderson said. “Winning the first match gave us so much momentum. In the second match, our opponents had some rough ball reaction. We bowled phenomenal, but we’re just riding a wave of good shots and momentum.”

All eight teams competed twice on Monday night at David Small’s Championship Lanes.

The KingPins’ six-match winning streak came to an end on Monday evening with a Round 8 loss to the Atom Splitters. 

The Portland Lumberjacks went 2-0 on the evening, defeating Lucky Strike L.A. X and the Waco Wonders, to climb into third place. Facing the league’s top two teams, the fourth-placed Atom Splitters went 1-1 as both matches went into a roll-off.

Portland holds the tiebreaker over Akron based on their Round 3 victory. The 5-3 teams meet again next week in Delaware.

For the fourth consecutive week, L.A. X went 1-1. Jason Belmonte returned and delivered a clutch double to help take down the GoBowling Dallas Strikers in Round 8.

The defending champion Waco Wonders are trending towards missing postseason altogether after dropping both matches tonight and losing six straight overall.

Waco's opponents are averaging 205.44 this season, which is the second-lowest opponent average in the league. Yet the Wonders have only mustered a 1-7 record.

The Motown Muscle pulled themselves back into sixth place with a 1-1 evening. In the Tackett brothers' home state, they picked up a high-scoring win over the Strikers in Round 7.

The Strikers, while just three pins shy of the Lumberjacks for the highest total pinfall of any team through eight rounds, went 0-2 for the third time this season. Dallas now sits at 2-6 and outside the PBA Elite League Playoffs Finals picture.

Overall, Strikers' acting manager Tommy Jones said the team doesn’t need to do anything different, but acknowledged the team needs to be sharper in tight games.

“We're making too many (bad) shots at the wrong time, where we have a chance to get back into a match or put the hammer down on somebody,” Jones said. “We're just not seeming to play to the best of our abilities, so we're gonna have to clean that up a little bit.”

The Strikers have seen their opponents average 226.56 against them — more than 10 pins per game more than the team with the next-highest opponent average.

“I think other teams know that like Bill (O’Neill) and I have bowled together for a long time and we communicate pretty well,” Jones said on why other teams have performed so well against Dallas. “Maybe that has something to do with it, or maybe it’s bad timing. I have no idea.”


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PBA Elite League action resumes next week. Rounds 9-10 will be held Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. ET in Middletown, Del.

All rounds of the PBA Elite League will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

More information on the PBA Elite League is available here.

Round 7 Results

Motown def. Dallas, 2-1 (225-227, 266-214, 30-29)
Portland def. L.A. X, 2-0 (245-227, 244-212)
New Jersey def. Waco, 2-0 (236-213, 227-196)
Las Vegas def. Akron, 2-1 (230-233, 219-206, 30-27)

Round 8 Results

Portland def. Waco, 2-1 (167-254, 227-175, 29-27)
L.A. X def. Dallas, 2-0 (239-181, 244-238)
Las Vegas def. Motown, 2-0 (259-212, 228-180)
Akron def. New Jersey, 2-1 (190-207, 202-160, 28-26)


Team, Record, Pinfall

  1. New Jersey KingPins, 6-2, 3,303
  2. Las Vegas High Rollers, 6-2, 3,469
  3. Portland Lumberjacks, 5-3, 3,488
  4. Akron Atom Splitters, 5-3, 3,225
  5. Lucky Strike L.A. X, 4-4, 3,440
  6. Motown Muscle, 3-5, 3,307
  7. GoBowling Dallas Strikers, 2-6, 3,485
  8. Waco Wonders, 1-7, 3,271