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April 17, 2024

Perfect Pair

Van Daley, Moore bowl 300 games in 

Game 2 of North Regional

By Andy Collier, Sports Editor, The Bolivar Bullet

The recorded odds of someone bowling a perfect game can vary, but every statistic indicates they are not in the bowler’s favor. 

A perfect game means a bowler threw a strike 12 straight times in in a single,10 frame game. 

On Jan. 24 at Harmony Lanes in Cleveland, the Cleveland Central High School Wolves doubled down on perfection as two bowlers recorded 300 games. Wolves’ sophomore Curtis Van Daley and  junior Jayden Moore bowled perfect games in game two of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class II North Regional Boys Bowling Tournament. In calls to the MHSAA and bowling experts across the state, a high school team with two perfect games on the same day in the same game hadn’t been reported in Mississippi prior to Jan. 24. Van Daley and Moore had bowled perfect games in practice earlier this year but not in competition. 

Bleachers were brought into the bowling alley for parents and fans to watch the tournament, and they came in handy as Harmony Lanes was packed. Van Daley was positioned fourth in the line-up, while Moore was right behind him in the fifth slot. 

As the game progressed on lane 10, Van Daley and Moore matched each other strike after strike. The suspense was building as Van Daley and Moore headed into the 10th frame with history in their sights. When it was Van Daley’s turn to bowl, he dialed in his focus. Van Daley delivered a strike on his first ball of the frame and held up two fingers indicating two more to go. He bowled a strike on the next ball and threw up his right hand with his index finger pointing in the air indicating one more to go. On his last ball, he let the ball go as he hopped on that right foot on his finish in his follow through. When the ball hit its spot, all the pins fell. Van Daley threw up both fists in the air in triumph as he had his perfect game. He was warmly greeted by his teammates and gave hugs of joy to his parents. 

For Van Daley, a flood of emotions was going through him as got closer to the final frame. 

“It was kind of scary,” said Van Daley. “When you get close to that ninth frame, you’re going to be nervous and shaking. When I got up there, my legs were shaking and my heart was beating so fast. After I saw that pin fall down, I got excited. I was happy getting that 300.” 

After Van Daley accomplished his feat, it was Moore’s turn. After Moore threw his first ball of the 10th frame for a strike, everyone got quite as nobody else was bowling around him. Moore rolled his second ball of the frame and recorded his 11th straight strike which put him one away from his goal. With all eyes on him and dead silence in the entire alley, Moore, holding the ball with his signature two-hand style, released it with his hands on his right side and rolled it down the lane one more time. The ball hit its spot and knocked all the pins down enabling Moore to secure that 300. Moore was greeted by his teammates, family and friends. 

Moore said watching Van Daley’s perfect game was motivation to take care of business on his end.

“What was going on in my mind was that basically that means I would have to throw one,” said Moore. “If he throws one, I’ve got to throw one because we’re like brothers.

“At that point when Curtis bowled his 300, there was still a little bit of noise. When I got up here, everything went silent. It was very funny, but I was also very nervous. It’s just surprising that I even did it,” Moore added.

The two perfect games give CCHS three this year and four in its history. David Wardlow bowled a 300 game on Nov. 9 against Horn Lake at Cleveland. 

The first official perfect game in CCHS history was thrown by his Jamelle Moore, Jayden’s brother, on Dec. 11, 2019 at Lewisburg.

“I didn’t think of that,” said Jayden Moore about matching his brother’s feat. “I was like, ‘Man, I really did just a bowl a 300.’ Now I’m really with my brother in competition bowling a 300 together.”