Western Regionals Capsule Recaps
De Ranged is focused on the track as Begeman goes in for a hit. Photo: Jules Doyle
Blonde an' Bitchin races to get by Valtron 3000. Photo: Jules Doyle
Frieda Beater and Scratcher in the Eye line up on the jam line. Photo: Jay Vollmar
Oly blockers Sassy and D-Bomb surround Duke City jammer Meep Meep. Photo: Jules Doyle
Rocky Mountain blockers RoboFlow and Anne Shank making a wall to hold back Tuscon jammer Luce Bandit. Photo: Jules Doyle
Semifinal: (8W) Rocky Mountain 122, (2W) Denver 107 -- This instant classic between the co-hosts of the tournament completely lived up to the feverish pre-game hype -- Denver and Rocky Mountain had shared the same city for four years, but had never faced one another in public play. Denver seemed to have a tiny advantage in speed, but Rocky Mountain had an equally tiny advantage in pack play -- and if Denver had originally held a small advantage in athleticism, that was canceled out with the recent addition of Psycho Babble and De Ranged to the RMRG crew.
Denver led for most of the first half, but Rocky Mountain made a big move with the help of a huge 25-0 jam for De Ranged with 6 minutes left in the half -- that vaulted Rocky Mountain from a 46-23 deficit to a 48-46 lead. The teams traded the advantage for the remaining jams of the half, with Denver holding a 60-56 lead with a minute left to play in the half -- but De Ranged was yet again the difference-maker for Rocky Mountain, dropping a half-closing 10-0 to put RMRG up 66-60 after the opening thirty.
Rocky Mountain's halftime lead would only last a few minutes into the second half, as DRD tied it up at 71-71 with 23:53 to play. Denver's Heather Juska pushed her team into the lead with a 9-0 at that point, making it 80-71 Denver with 22:17 left in the half. Though Denver clung to their lead, the bout's intensity didn't decrease in the least. They managed to push it to ten points at 90-80 with 16 minutes in the half, but RMRG's De Ranged made the crowd blow up with a 3-0 featuring an incredible gravity-defying opening pass to avoid losing her footing.
At 90-83 Denver, rookie Whipity Pow burst her way to lead jammer over Julie Adams and picked up 2 more for Rocky Mountain, closing the lead to 90-85 Denver with 13:30 left in the game. Denver's Teresa Rusk pulled lead and a slick 4-0 to almost erase that short RMRG run and make it 94-85 with 11:34 on an official timeout.
Still the bout hovered between double and single digits. At 99-89, RMRG's Whipity Pow grabbed lead and points in a photo-finish 3-0 -- and then both Teresa Rusk and De Ranged hit the box as jammers within seconds of one another in the following jam -- but Denver's Rusk had to go back on a fourth minor upon returning. When that chaos was over, Denver was up 103-96 with 5:35 to play -- but Rocky Mountain's Whipity Pow was on the line alone to start the next jam.
Rocky Mountain's advantage vanished instantly, though, when Whipity Pow picked up a major on her opening pass. Rusk burst out of the box to take a controversial lead, as Rocky Mountain's Psycho Babble blocked her out of bounds at the front of the pack and then turned tail and ran to the back of the pack -- but Rusk's jam ref let Rusk re-enter, judging that Psycho Babble had left the engagement zone.
That jam ended 107-100 for Denver after Rusk went back to the box, but DeRanged tore it up on the following pass as the Denver jammer was boxed again -- and Rocky Mountain took back the lead to an insane crowd response as DeRanged dropped a huge 18-0 on a confounded Denver pack. Suddenly RMRG was up 118-107 with 40 seconds to go.
What happened next was the most unlikely last jam conceivable -- RMRG sent DeRanged back out to jam unopposed, and while she broke pack without lead, there was about a minute more on the jam clock than on the period clock. When the period clock expired, the fans rushed the track, causing an early end to the jam with Rocky Mountain up 122-107 and no time left on the period clock.
The result was a very lengthy referee timeout as the refs and announcers attempted to restore order. After about five minutes of conferring, the final decision was that the jam had been called due to an unsafe condition on the track -- and with no time left on the period clock, that meant the end of the game. 8 seed Rocky Mountain claimed a shocking and historic win over longtime rivals and 2 seed Denver.
Rocky Mountain assured themselves a trip to Nationals and a date with Oly on Sunday night for the Western Region championship -- Denver will have to knock off Rat City in the third place game to get their own ticket to Philly.
Semifinal: (1W) Oly 127, (4W) Rat City 90 -- This long-awaited grudge match had Oly in the front from the jump, but Rat City never let the margin get out of hand in an extremely physical and very high-speed bout.
The intensity of the bout was clear when the first three jams all ended 0-0 as lead jammers cut things off early due to unfavorable pack setups on approach. The fourth jam went 7-0 for Oly in a jam where both teams' jammers visited the box, and that was a lead that Oly never let go of.
One of the memorable matchups in the bout was Oly's super-fast jammer Atomatrix going up against Rat City's super-heavy-hitting blocker Anya Heels -- many times in the bout, Atomatrix attempted to make a high-speed pass of Anya only to get a perfectly timed hit that sent her off her feet. Those hits made the famously tireless Atomatrix a little slower on her passes, but regardless, Oly's jammer crew of Atomatrix, Heffer and B Tease N were able to grow the lead with the help of very effective blocking from Sassy and D-Bomb. At halftime, Oly was up 53-27.
Oly added to their lead as the second half got underway, though they had to fight for every point -- making it to 78-29 about 10 minutes into the bout. Rat City's X-Khan kept Rat in the bout with a 15-0 to make it 74-44, but things spooled out in Oly's favor for the remainder of the half. They put it away in the final ten minutes, taking a 125-61 lead with about 5 minutes to go -- and while Rat City charged back to close to 127-86 going into the last jam, that wasn't a doable margin in a single jam.
Oly picked up a guaranteed trip to Nationals and goes on to the finals to face the winner of Denver v Rocky Mountain -- Rat City gets the loser of that match in the third place match, with the winner getting the final Nationals slot.
7th/8th Place: (3W) Rose City 241, (10W) Angel City 42 -- Portland's Rose City didn't waste too much time opening up a significant lead on their competition from Los Angeles, holding a 27-0 margin in the first ten minutes before Punk N Da Trunk got a 4-1 jam win for Angel City to make it 28-4.
Angel City managed to tread water during the midpoint of the half, with the score hitting 44-21 with about 10 minutes left in the first half, but Rose City's significantly more effective play at the front of the pack, featuring Cadillac and Sol Train, wouldn't let Angel City start closing the gap.
A 20-0 powerjam for Rose City's Cadillac with about 5 minutes in the half increased the Rose City lead from 30 to 50 points at 77-27. The powerjam rolled over to the subsequent jam, and Rhea DeRange added more damage with the help of Blood Clottia, Marollin Monroe, Mick U Cry and Axl Rolls. That 15-0 left Rose City up 93-27, and Rose City was in the driver's seat for good. At the half, the Portland team was up by 73 points, 102-29.
Rose City's defense locked down even harder in the second half, allowing only 9 points through the first 20 minutes while piling it on with 89 points of their own. WIth 8 minutes to go, Rose City held a 191-38 lead, and when it was all over Rose City had easily cruised to victory, just missing a 200 point margin with a 241-42 final.
Due to their seeding, Rose City was the only team in all four tournaments to only play two bouts, and finished in 7th place; Angel City, with their first-round upset of 7 seed Pikes Peak, improved on their 10 seed by finishing in 8th place overall.
Consolation Bracket: (5W) Bay Area 242, (7W) Pikes Peak 78 -- Bay Area held the advantage in almost all aspects of the bout, from energy to agility to pack awareness, and a full-length 20-0 for BAD's Nock Nock about 10 minutes into the bout had the San Francisco crew up 51-7 early.
However, the one area where Bay Area emphatically did not hold the advantage was in clean play in the first half. Bay Area continued to suffer the penalty box woes that ended up sinking them in their quarterfinal match with Rat City. For nearly ten minutes, Bay Area lost their jammers to the box over and over again, allowing Pikes Peak to sneak their way back into the bout.
The Colorado Springs crew was able to capitalize on a lengthy string of powerjams and light packs to put up 26 unanswered points and narrow it to 51-33 with about 12 minutes left in the first half. Bay Area squeaked out 5 points during a rare appearance of their jammer on the track, but with 8:52 left in the half, Pikes Peak had closed all the way to 55-40, cutting deeply into BAD's early 44 point lead.
Once Bay Area figured out how to stay out of the box, though, everything changed again. The last nine minutes of the half went 54-3 for Bay Area. A 20-0 for Burlybot quickly killed Pikes Peak's momentum, making it 75-40 with 6:53 in the first, and the margin increased in Bay Area's favor for the rest of the half, ending the opening 30 at 109-43.
The second half opened with nothing but bad news for Pikes Peak, as Bay Area took complete control, shutting out PPDD for the first 13 minutes of the half and dropping a dominating 80 unanswered points. Pikes Peak's Kamilla Bloodspilla finally got her team back on the board with 17 minutes to play, but by that point Bay Area held an insurmountable 193-45 lead and it was just a matter of time.
Bay Area will be playing Duke City in the 5th/6th place bout at 1pm on Sunday; Pikes Peak tries to stay out of last place when they take on Tucson in the 9th/10th place bout at 11am Sunday.
Consolation Bracket: (6W) Duke City 142, (9W) Tucson 62 -- Recap to come. See DNN's archived boutcast here.