March 23, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. - It's a fine line, really.
Bobby Henderson knows the defending CIAA champion Fayetteville State Lady Broncos are playing their best. He knows they can beat anybody in the league at the CIAA Championships this weekend.
But he also knows it can all change in the blink of an eye. It's happened before, and it could happen again.
"You can be confident, and you can be overconfident," says Henderson, who guided the Lady Broncos to their ninth straight Southern Division title last week, and 11th in the last 12 seasons. "And you never know what might happen. You won't know what happens until it's done."
All Fayetteville State (66-13, 55-4) has done again this season is dominate CIAA play. Fayetteville State, which won its 600th game under Henderson in January, topped 60 wins in a single season for the seventh time this year. With four more wins, Fayetteville State can reach 70 wins in a single season for the fifth time.
A year after the "Fab Five" led the Lady Broncos to their second CIAA title in the last four years, Fayetteville State boasts six of the league's best bowlers, including All-CIAA selections Kiara Reid
(Jr., Rocky Mount, N.C.), De'Andrea Bethea
(So., Raleigh, N.C.) and Crystal Mujica
(Fr., Fayetteville, N.C.), who make up three of the CIAA's top six averages this season. All six of Fayetteville State's bowlers hold a season average of 157 or better.
And the Lady Broncos were brilliant in their most recent competition, cruising through the last division event of the season with a 15-0 mark in which they were hardly threatened. All six Fayetteville State bowlers finished among the top nine in scoring average at the meet.
No wonder Henderson feels good about the way the Lady Broncos are rolling it.
"Right now I feel like we are really playing well," Henderson says. "I think we're reaching our peak. The question now, though, is whether we can all continue to peak at the same time and all arrive at the same place."
That would be in Durham this weekend, where tournament play begins on Saturday. Best-of-seven quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches will be played on Monday at AMF Bowling Lanes.
"This is it," Henderson says. "This is when everything counts. Every pin counts now. We can't hold a single thing back."
Henderson says the Lady Broncos will continue to follow the same philosophy that was benefitted them so well over the last decade.
"We really do just take it one game at a time," he says. "We don't overlook anyone and we don't take anything for granted. We know that anything can happen at this time of year, and we have a healthy respect for everyone."
Still, if the Lady Broncos are rolling the thunder...
"We know we're capable of beating anybody," Henderson says. "All we have to do is perform. If we bring our `A' Game, then we're going to be awful tough to beat."