SEMIFINAL BOUT ENDS WITH LAST-JAM SQUEAKER!
by Muckety Muck – ARRG Bout Co-Announcer – Photos by Bob Dunnell
In the #1 vs. #4 semi-final, the top-seeded M-80s overpowered fourth-seeded Rebel Skate Alliance, 248-105. Meanwhile in the nightcap, the second-seeded Smashinistas utilized late-bout heroics to topple the third-seeded Stunt Devils, 188-183.
The winners now face each other for the League’s trophy at the 2014 ARRG Local Championships, set for Friday, March 7 at Chaifetz Arena.
M-80s 248 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 105
The M-80s – who last won an ARRG title in 2012 at Chaifetz – implemented effective scoring, strategy, and most importantly, adaptation en route to the 143-point victory that pushed the team’s record to 4-0.
“What we’ve been doing this season is play differently against the other (three) teams because they are all so completely different,” said M-80s’ blocker Tupac Shank-Her following her team’s semifinal win. ”Finding a way to adapt to their styles gives us our biggest opportunities. We are hard hitters. That’s what we do. But sometimes roller derby isn’t just about hitting someone hard.”
Adjustments became necessary as Rebel Skate Alliance gave the top seed fits early. Sleazy E’s bout-opening 10-pointer kicked things off for RSA. The M-80s countered on the next rotation as IDA the Living Dead scored nine to make the bout a one-point affair.
The Rollin’ Rebs rebounded and notched 19 uncontested points. Following jammer Pink Diamond’s 14-point power jam, RSA sported a 33-32 lead with 19:10 left in the period.
The M-80s countered on the next rotation and regained the lead as IDA collected 30 points via a power jam to give her squad a 62-33 advantage.
Sleazy E’s niner scored in jam 10 narrowed the gap to 20 points, but RSA’s momentum gained was stifled on the next rotation with a jammer track cut and a slew of blocker penalties. A 20-point power jam for M-80s’ multi-specialist May Require Stitches ensued and extended the Firecracker’s lead to 82-44 with 12:00 left in the period.
The differential widened as the period progressed and the M-80s sported a 107-55 lead at intermission.
RSA posted 15 straight points on the next two rotations. Following Shear-Ra Powers’ five-pointer, Sleazy E collected 10 with 24:40 left to make the score 131-70.
Scoring would be comparable over the next few rotations, but then the top seed started to pull away midway through the frame via power jams.
IDA’s non-lead power jam that yielded 22 points was followed by Stitches’ 15-pointer that push the M-80s’ lead to 184-83 with 15:05 left in the bout.
Meanwhile, M-80s’ blocking, paced by the aforementioned Shank-Her and Stitches, as well as The Ginger Assassin, Rhino-Might, Nikki Trixx, Jamheiser Bush and Sp!ce Rack, and supplemented by Stray Touhell, Tragedy Ann, Carmina Piranha and Winchester Witch, kept RSA scoring to a minimum.
The M-80s outscored Rebel Skate Alliance 131-55 in the second period to earn its trip to March’s Championship bout.
RSA (0-4) knew that the task to take down the top seed would be difficult in the playoff semifinal. The team readily admits that adjustments are still needed heading into their third place bout in March.
“We’ve been working really hard on getting our walls together, building them and slowing down, but since we haven’t focused enough on offense, it really messed with s tonight,” said RSA’s Prof. Rumbledore after the bout.
But optimism still shines for the intergalactic skating schematic. Sleazy E and Powers scored 45 and 27 points, respectively, against a stubborn M-80s’ defense. Recent addition Black Market Baby collected 17 points in her ARRG return and longtime vets Diamond, Party Foul, Science Friction, Ginny Beastly, Eveready and Deuce Bomber are continuing to improve their collective play and recent additions AKA Rouge and Fletch A Sketch are getting some quality minutes on the flat track.
In short, the talent is most certainly there. Now it’s matter of putting the pieces properly together for a third place bout victory over the Stunt Devils at Chaifetz.
“We have easy fixes,” said Rumbledore. “We need to watch our jammer and destruction penalties. If we utilize the training that we used this month, we have a fighting chance against them.”
M-80s (248): IDA the Living Dead 130, May Require Stitches 58, Molecular Mayhem 54, Tupac Shank-Her 4, Jamheiser Bush 2
RSA (105): Sleazy E 45, Shear-Ra Powers 27, Black Market Baby 17, Pink Diamond 16
SMASHINISTAS 188 STUNT DEVILS 183
Whereas the evening’s opener was decided early, the battle between the middle seeds featured eight lead changes and a five-point victory decided as the period clock expired. The 188-183 Smashinistas’ win gave the defending ARRG champions (3-1) its second consecutive title bout trip.
“That was so much fun,” said Smashinistas’ blocker Downtown Dallis after the nail biter. “We are really rallied right now and our camaraderie is better than ever before.”
Rallies were the theme, but neither squad was able to post a sizable margin in the first period.
Following a 0-0 open jam, the Stunts got on the scoreboard first as co-captain Chokehold Chanel collected a four-pointer. Mighty Mighty Boston followed with a 15-3 non-lead power jam at 26:10 to extend the Stunt’s lead to 19-3.
Smashinistas’ jammer Brickyard countered with a 10-pointer, narrowing the gap to 19-13. Points were then comparable over the next four rotations and the Stunts held on to a 23-19 edge with 18:45 left in the period.
Boston’s 10-pointer on the next rotation regained the lead for the Stunts, 40-33.
The Smashies saw momentum swing back in its direction midway through the first period. A 31-6 run in the next seven minutes resulted in a 64-46 lead with 8:15 left.
The Stunts rebounded with a 27-0 rally over the next five jams. Boston launched the scoreboard shift with a 12-point power jam to narrow the margin to six points, 64-58. Following Chanel’s four-pointer on the next rotation, Boston posted a pair of points to tie the score, 64-64, with 4:45 left in the period.
Dirt Diggler contributed four in jam 21 and Boston ended the run with a grand slam to extend the Stunt’s lead to 73-64.
A chaotic 26-13 final jam in favor of the Smashinistas extended their lead to 100-86 at intermission. However it came at a price as Brickyard was called for a low block as the jam clock reached its conclusion. The infraction sent the jammer to the penalty box and resulted in a power jam for the Stunt Devils to start the second period.
The third seed capitalized as Boston scored 15, resulting in a 101-100 scoreboard flip in favor of the Stunt Devils. Chanel added three on the next rotation to push the lead to 104-100.
Brickyard made amends in jam three and collected a 19-4 strike to push the lead back in the favor of the Smashinistas, 119-108. The Educator followed with 17-3 jam at 22:13 to extend the lead, 136-111.
Following a pair of Stunt points in jam five, Chanel notched nine with 20:00 to play that whittled the margin to 136-122.
As the period progressed, both teams’ blocking schemas kept the other in check. The Smashie walls, paced by Dallis, Eli Wallop, The Forecloser, Girl Fawkes, Party Rockher, Cloak N’ Drag-her, Megalodominator, Dixie Wolf and Sly Davanita went toestop-to-toestop with the Stunts’ Grave Danger, Mayor Francis Slayer, Artemischief, Vendetta VanGo, Morgan LeFaetal, Yo Adrian-na and Danisaurus Rex.
As a result, the differential remained almost constant. With 9:30 to play, the Smashinistas maintained a 154-142 lead.
The Smashies delivered what appeared to be the crushing blow with back-to-back nine pointers from The Educator and Brickyard. The 18-0 run extended the camo-lead to 30 points, 172-142, with 6:20 left to play.
But the Stunts had other things in mind. More specifically, a 38-1 run over the next four jams. A power jam for Boston yielded 10 points with 5:00 to play. Diggler followed with a baker’s dozen on the next rotation to narrow the gap to 172-165. Boston added another 10 with under 2:00 to play that resulted in another lead change, 175-172, in favor of the purple rollers.
Diggler added a 5-1 sprint in the bout’s penultimate jam that extended the Stunts’ lead to 180-173 with under :45 left in the bout.
In the final jam, and with the other coveted Championship invitation well within grasp for both teams, Smashies’ jammer Brickyard raced to the front of the pack to grab lead while the Stunts’ Boston closely pursued. As time expired on the period clock (and play continued within the bout’s official jam clock), Boston was whistled for a track cut and sent to the penalty box, resulting in a power jam for the Smashinistas.
In short, the Smashies knew that they had just finished a flat-track war.
“We had to change a few things at the beginning of the game due to the way that they started,” said Dallis afterwards. “They ran fast packs we had to adjust to that. They’re an amazing team and we have a lot of fun playing against them.”
Brickyard paced the Smashinistas (3-1) with 102 points, followed by the Educator’s 71.
Meanwhile the Stunts, who saw its streak of seven straight ARRG Championship appearances snapped with the loss, did find some solace afterwards. They knew that they have collectively made great strides since the start of the local season.
Keep in mind that this was the same nucleus that lost to the Smashies three months ago by a margin of 157 points.
“It was a really hard game to lose because we wanted to go to championships again,” said Stunt Devils’ blocker Morgan Le Faetal afterwards. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t win but we’re also really proud that we have come so far this season. When we played them in November, we lost by a significant amount. To lose this bout by five points is a huge step for us.”
The Stunts (1-3) was paced in scoring by Boston’s 106 points. They’ll face RSA in the League’s third place bout on Friday, March 7.
SMASHINISTAS (188): Brickyard 102, The Educator 71, EnYa Nightmare 15
STUNT DEVILS (183): Mighty Mighty Boston 106, Chokehold Chanel 38, Dirt Diggler 37, Artemischief 2
For post-bout interviews with skaters from all four squads, head on over to ARRG’s Official Facebook page.
Muckety Muck and Magilla Guerilla are bout co-announcers for the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Check back in this section on Monday for the latest in ARRG news and information.