It just seemed like a Killeen superstar and her team would come through with all the pressure of a USBC Women’s Championship title at stake.

Aaron Smith and Wishelle Banks of USBC Communications reported, “Fueled by a big second game, Lusha’s Ladies, of Frisco, Texas, moved into the Diamond Team lead at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships on Saturday.”

Sandi Charles, of Nolanville, and a Greater Killeen-Fort Hood USBC Hall of Famer, set the pace with a 701 series and helped Lusha’s Ladies to games of 817, 983 and 851 for a 2,651 total, passing the 2,628 posted by 2013 Scratch Team champion Eagle’s Edge Pro Shop, of Carpentersville, Ill., on May 14.

Charles was joined at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center by Lisa Wasson (682), Tina Williams (682) and Genie Franklin (586).

The team’s day on the lanes began hours earlier at the nearby National Bowling Stadium, where they completed their doubles and singles sets at the 2014 USBC Open Championships.

They didn’t have much time to make the crosstown trip and prepare for their team event at the RSCC, but it didn’t show.

“We ran over here, got set and tried to refocus,” Franklin said. “We had a mission to come in and bowl well, make our spares and throw some strikes. For us to bowl a 983 and follow that up with 851 to take the lead is big. We had some trouble carrying at the Open, so we decided to leave that one behind us.

“We knew the conditions would be a little softer, and we were hoping to catch a little bit better carry over here. It worked out for us.”

The tight-knit group has been competing together at the USBC Women’s Championships for the past 10 years, and although they were elated to move into the lead, the moment was bittersweet after the recent death of one of their biggest supporters, Wasson’s husband Tam.

To honor his memory, influence and inspiration, the team wore black emblems with his initials.

“All of the ladies are coming in for the Queens next week,” Franklin said. “So a lot of the high-average bowlers haven’t bowled yet. What we put up today, though, is a pretty strong number. We’re hoping it’s enough to hold on.”

Charles is the top woman bowler in the association, with a book average of 213.

Four qualifiers remain for the 18th annual Southwest Region PBA Killeen Open to be held Aug. 8-10 at Hallmark Lanes. The qualifiers are open to men and women bowlers with amateur standing. The remaining dates are June 28, July 12, July 26 and Aug. 2. All qualifiers begin at 7 p.m.

The PBA Lubbock Southwest Super Regional will be held July 11-13 at South Plains Lanes.

Lane condition will be PBA Regional Tour Chameleon, which measures 43 feet.

Bill O’Neill, of Langhorne, Pa., derailed Brian Valenta’s hopes for a first title, throwing two strikes in the 10th frame to edge Valenta 243-235 in the PBA Badger Open championship match at the Grand Casino Resort Event Center in Shawnee, Okla.

Along with his fifth career PBA Tour title — and first since the 2012 Cheetah Championship — O’Neill earned $10,000 and a berth in Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing, a special event that will conclude the Summer Swing.

Valenta was obviously disappointed about falling short of his first title, but the 29-year-old seventh-year pro was pleased about winning three matches in his first PBA television appearance.

See you on the lanes.

Don Wright has been sharing insights on area/national bowling with Herald readers for more than 25 years. Contact him at

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