The Neshoba Central bowling team is in its second season of existence, and the scores are going up.

"I keep a spreadsheet of our scores in practices and matches," said Rockets bowling coach Joey Blount. "Compared to last year, our lowest average this season equals our highest average last year.

"I didn't know a lot about bowling when we started last year. One of our parents, Lisa Stanfill, really encouraged the school to start the program and we had our first team. We have had a lot of fun with it and the kids have worked hard to improve their scores. Right now, our averages are up 20 to 30 points now as compared to when we first start practice.

Neshoba Central has a varsity boys and girls team and a boys junior varsity team. There are eight bowlers on the two varsity teams.

Members of the boys team are Tyler Dill, Devin Skinner, Graham Winstead, Emilio Saruez, Ryan Gradener, Kavante McCarty, Preston Breazeale and Blaine Gardener.

Members of the girls team are Marissa Stanfill, Samantha Stanfill, Shandrea Moore, Hannah Wallace, Genesis Ferris, Hailey Copeland, Kelsey Copeland and Ali Witcher.

The Rockets practice and hold their home matches at Depot Lanes.

"We are a little limited in how much we can do," Blount said. "They (Depot Lanes) have been great to us, but that is a business and they have their leagues and other things going on. We can't tie up their lanes every day."

The Rockets usually bowl twice a week, either through practice or matches. They also share Depot Lanes with Philadelphia High School.

Neshoba Central competes in Region 2 North and will host the region tournament this year on Feb. 15. Other teams in the region include Tupelo, Starkville, Meridian, Olive Branch and Northwest Rankin.

Last year's girls team competed in the state tournament, and Blount is hoping both varsity teams make it to state this year.

"The top two teams in the region go to state," Blount said. "Then they go back and look at the averages of the remaining teams and the top two teams from that go in as at-large teams."

Blount noted that Tupelo has been the team to beat since bowling was started by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

"They have had bowling for about 10 years and the Tupelo girls have won it every year," Blount said. "The Tupelo boys didn't win it last year but they have won it seven or eight times."

The Neshoba Central boys are currently 3-0-1 with two wins over Starkville and one over Philadelphia. The girls are 2-1-1 with wins over Starkville and Philadelphia.

Neshoba Central bowls against Philadelphia on Jan. 9, and will host Madison Central the following week.