Ellison’s Jordan Garza earned the Central Texas District’s 2014 Most Valuable Bowler award by rolling a 453 two-game series Tuesday at Hallmark Lanes.

The annual award is given to the bowler with the highest season-long average.

Heading into the final match of the regular season, Garza’s average of 220 was one pin better than Copperas Cove’s James Norris. The two squared off Tuesday in the regular-season finale. To pull ahead of Garza and capture the MVB award, Norris needed to beat his opponent by 32 pins.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Garza said. “But as we continued on, I overcame that nervousness.”

Garza bowled a 275 in the first contest, while Norris rolled a 226.

“It was fun,” Norris said. “Once we got to the bowling alley, I could see that this match was a bigger deal than I thought it would be. It ended up being pretty serious the whole time. There were people behind Jordan cheering him on and there were people behind me rooting for me.”

Garza didn’t strike in the first two frames of Game 1. Then he rattled off nine straight strikes.

“I just kept thinking to myself that I needed to keep that streak going,” said Garza, a senior. “I didn’t want to look back. I kept telling myself to just keep working hard.”

After Garza’s 275, Norris needed to beat his foe by 85 pins in the second game to capture the MVB award.

“I knew that it would be extremely hard to beat Jordan by 85 pins in that second game,” said Norris, a junior. “But I thought that if I didn’t win this district title, I at least wanted to roll good.”

Garza said he took nothing for granted.

“After that first game, we both knew there was one more game to bowl and anything can happen in this sport,” he said. “You can bowl the worst game of your life.”

That didn’t happen. Garza rolled a 178. He wasn’t thrilled with that score, but it secured the crown. Norris bowled a 233, giving him a 459 series and a six-pin edge — for the day — over Garza.

Norris ended the district season with a 220.1 average, finishing runner-up to Garza who had a 221.3 average.

“Jordan earned the title,” Norris said. “He deserves this district title. He bowled well all season.”

“James and I are really good friends,” Garza said. “We like to compete with each other. James is a very good bowler, and he did well in this final match, too.

“I didn’t think about winning the MVB before the season. I was only thinking about averaging over a 220. But now I’d have to say that I feel honored to have won it. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566​ and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com

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