North Central Playoffs: 8NC Arch Rival Edges 9NC Chicago Outfit, 119-116
INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The North Central playoffs started with an excellent tight bout between the 8 and the 9 seed, as Arch Rival and the Outfit played a clean contest that was in question for over 60 minutes. Though Arch Rival led for the entire second half, the Outfit stayed within 10 or fewer points for the full half hour and ended up just one lap and 3 points short of the win; Arch Rival won a nailbiter, 119-116.
Through the first few jams of the bout, it looked like Arch Rival might win handily. Four jams into the game, Arch was up 18-0, and though the Outfit got on the board in the fifth, it still went to Arch Rival 8-4 as Arch Rival's Mighty Mighty Boston was a lap up on the Outfit's Queefer Sutherland. The Outfit called their first timeout to talk it over at 26-4 ARRG and 23:12 left in the first half.
The timeout seemed to change the momentum a bit. Two jams later, the Outfit had their first jam win when Sweet Mary Pain got a natural grand slam in the course of a 7-0. After a 0-0, Maul E. Hatchet kept the Outfit momentum up with the help of Mighty Mighty Boston taking a spill away from the pack, grabbing a quick 2-0 to make it 30-13 with 17:30 left in the first. The Outfit got their first powerjam opportunity next up and Bloody Elle made the most of it by storming to a 20-0 that put Outfit in front for the first time at 33-30 with about 15:25 left in the half.
That lead was short-lived as Arch Rival's Downtown Dallis took a natural slam and Mighty Mighty Boston followed up with 3-0 to make it 38-33 with about 13 left in the half. Two jams later, Maul E. Hatchet tied it up with a 4-0 that made it 40-40 with 9:50 left in the first half, and that was followed up with a powerjam for Sweet Mary Pain, who rolled through four times for a 19-0 that gave the Outfit their biggest lead of the game at 59-40 with 7:30 left in the half.
The rest of the half, however, was almost all Arch Rival. The Outfit was only able to add 6 more points while Arch Rival steadily narrowed the gap, and the comeback climaxed on the last jam of the half when Mighty Mighty Boston converted a powerjam to 9-0. At the break, ARRG had retaken the lead by a point, 66-65.
The second half started off with a very sparse situation favoring ARRG - two blockers for each team and Mighty Mighty Boston still on a powerjam, as Outfit jammer Maul E. Hatchet's penalty was two minutes long. MMG turned it into a 9-0, and Arch Rival was up 75-65 one jam into the second half.
After a 4-0 to Lola Blow, Outfit jammer Joan Ranger and blocker Lady K pulled off a very impressive eating-the-baby maneuver on ARRG's Mighty Mighty Boston, leaving space for Joan to pick up a 3-0 and make it 75-72 Arch Rival with 25:21 left in the game.
Things were very narrow for the next ten minutes -- 4-0 Arch, 4-0 Arch, 3-0 Outfit, 0-0, 1-0 Ouftit, 3-1 Outfit and 4-3 Arch -- to make it 88-82 Arch Rival with 15 minutes left in the game. The game remained a 6 point affair going into the last 10 minutes at 92-86 Arch Rival.
The Outfit got a tough break on the next jam, where Bloody Elle picked up lead as the trailing jammer but called it off just an instant after Arch Rival's Black Market Baby cleared the pack; that 4-0 to Arch Rival made it 96-86 with 9:16 to go, and those points would end up being key in the game's final jam. But the Outfit's Sweet Mary Pain made it a one-point game next with a 9-0. Arch Rival called their first timeout with the score 96-95 and 7:20 on the clock.
Arch Rival rose the occasion, though, tying up Outfit jammers on the next two jams for back to back 4-0 jams that opened up the ARRG lead to 104-95, and Arch called their second timeout with 4:47 in the game.
The second half had seen no jammer box trips up to that point, but the Outfit suffered the first at a very inopportune time, as Sweet Mary Pain took lead but was boxed on a back block; however, strong Outfit defense avoided disaster as the jam still went 8-5 for SMP. The Outfit called their second timeout with 2:28 left to play; it was 109-103 Arch Rival.
Dallis and Sweet Mary Pain next battled to a lengthy 10-8 jam that went to Arch; the Outfit called their final timeout with 25 seconds on the clock, looking at a 119-111 deficit.
The last jam put up Bloody Elle for the Outfit against Black Market Baby for Arch Rival;. Black Market Baby was given a major penalty getting out of the pack, giving the Outfit what looked like a golden opportunity for the win, but Outfit jammer Bloody Elle picked up a fatal cut track during her first scoring pass; she got all 5 points but that was 3 fewer than the Outfit needed for the win. Time expired with Arch Rival hanging on for the victory, 119-116.
Arch Rival moves on to play top seed Windy City at 3pm; the Outfit goes to the consolation rounds.