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Championships Quarterfinal: 1E Gotham Fends Off 2W Rocky Mountain, 187-134

BROOMFIELD, CO - Yesterday's victory over Nashville sent the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls 5280 Fight Club into a tough quarterfinal match against tournament-favorite Gotham Girls All-Stars, who have been acclimating themselves to the elevation for a week in Colorado Springs. Gotham came in looking to avenge last year's semifinal defeat at the hand of the hometown Coloradans and, despite a second-half scare, those preparations seem to have paid off in this grueling match.

Except for a huge powerjam by Suzy Hotrod, the first half would have finished almost dead-even, with Rocky Mountain climbing from a very early 35-point deficit to a 75-53 score at the break. Rocky Mountain put up a tremendous comeback in the first 10 minutes of the second half, taking the lead and stretching it to 100-85 at one point. But an unending series of jammer and blocker penaltes were too much of an opportunity for Gotham who went on a 74-0 run in 5 minutes to seal the 187-134 victory.

The bout began right off with lots of tight, slow packs. Bob Loblaw, Ecko, and Amanda Jamitinya initially had good success for Rocky Mountain controlling Bonnie Thunders, and DeRanged's 10 points opened up an early 11-1 lead for Rocky Mountain with a 4-2 pack advantage. But Gotham quickly reasserted control. Donna Matrix's good inside work on Frida Beater eventually drew a penalty and the first powerjam of the bout. Wild Cherri shot around the pack for 5 points until Psycho Babble knocked her out. Bonnie Thunders continued the powerjam, tacking on another 9. Suzy Hotrod then put on a great inside spurt while Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya was called off for an elbow. Suzy Hotrod put on a speed clinic against the backward-sliding pack and tallied 25 points. Sexy Slaydie's 8 and Bonnie Thunders' 4 brought the lead to 52-14 after 13 minutes.

Then a Suzy Hotrod penalty set up Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya for Rocky Mountain's first powerjam. Despite the hard-hitting efforts of Sexy Slaydie, the speedy jammer was able to cut 12 points into that lead. Gotham then controlled the next four jams with some one-and-outs, bringing the lead to 64-26. With 10 minutes to go, there was a no-lead situation and Psycho Babble's defense of Suzy Hotrod for the two minutes was the difference as Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya was able to maneuver through the strong walls of Hyper Lynx, Papierschnitt, Anna Bollocks, and Donna Matrix to win it 13-4. The red back wall of Rocky Mountain held firm for the next two jams and the lead was narrowed to 68-47 with less than 4 minutes to go.

A Gotham powerjam threatened to take back the large lead, but great penalty-killing by Assaultin' Pepa limited the damage from Bonnie Thunders to 3 points. Then, the fleet Suzy Hotrod looked to stretch it again with a quick lead capture. But Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya flew out of the box, apex jumped about 15 feet and caught the pack up to keep the jam at 4-3. DeRanged muscled her way past good positioning by Hyper Lynx and Papierschnitt to get three more and bring the halftime score to 75-53.

The second half began with more tight packs. Rocky Mountain began to hurry up their jam starts with a two-jammer rotation between DeRanged and Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya. As Amanda Jamitinya was able to hold back Bonnie Thunders for a full minute, DeRanged leapt out to a 4-0 in the initial jam. Winona Fighter dropped Suzy Hotrod and Rocky Mountain completed an 8-2 5-minute run. Then DeRanged was called for a cut on a turn 2 apex jump as Bonnie Thunders rolled behind blocks from Sweet Sherry Pie on the powerjam for 8 points. But Psycho Babble, after shaking off a shot to the jaw, recyled Bonnie Thunders long enough for DeRanged to return and rocket through for 9.

Then, as Suzy Hotrod was called for an elbow, Frida Beater used the powerjam to score 14 as Psycho Babble cleared two blockers. Suddenly, Rocky Mountain had the lead at 87-85 with 21 minutes remaining. Another powerjam for DeRanged stretched the lead up to 100-85 and an upset seemed to be in the making.

But fate did not favor the hometown red. While jamming, Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya clipped the corner on an apex jump for a major cut, and some sweet sideways skating by Suzy Hotrod slipped her around some good shorthanded blocking by Ecko and Assaultin' Pepa. Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya returned from the penalty box, only to be sent right back, a situation that would repeat itself 3 more times over the next two jams. On the uberextended powerjam, Suzy Hotrod scored 14, Bonnie Thunders scored 30, and Suzy Hotrod another 30 through a stopped pack, drawing boos from the frustrated crowd. Amidst a flurry of Rocky Mountain penalties, Psycho Babble and Amanda Jamitinya were ejected with 14 minutes remaining in the half. Gotham had jumped out to a sudden commanding lead of 159-100.

Gotham seemed content to focus on defense at this point as Rocky Mountain got a few points here and there over the next 5 minutes. Papierschnitt and Fisti Cuffs recycled Triple Shot Misto again and again but some penalty trouble for the New York blockers and jammer Wild Cherri set up a last chance for Rocky Mountain with 5 minutes remaining. Triple Shot Misto finished up the jam tying Wild Cherri's 10 and in the subsequent whistle, DeRanged skated furiously to close out the powerjam, knocking 18 points off the lead and bring the score to 169-134. But that would be the end of the scoring for Rocky Mountain, and Bonnie Thunders got back the 18 points in a powerjam after time expired to finish the game 187-134.

Gotham advances to possibly have an easier time in the semifinals later today against Texas; that game takes place at 5:30pm.