Championship Bout: #12 Detroit 109, #16 Steel City 82 — #16 Steel City put up an impressive fight against tournament favorites #12 Detroit, and held a lead with under 15 minutes to play, but Detroit managed to string a series of late-game jam wins together to escape with a deceptively large 27-point victory and the 2010 Spring Roll women’s title.
Detroit led through the first half, but a big jam for Steel City put them ahead 58-47 on the very first jam of the second half; that was a lead that would grow as large as 75-61 on the back of a 9-0 powerjam for Steel City’s The Shocker. After a well-timed timeout there, Detroit got an answer from Cookie Rumble on the following jam, who put up an 8-0 spot to narrow Steel City’s lead to 75-69 with about 16 minutes left to play.
The lead switched hands for the final time at the 11 minute mark when Detroit’s Effin’ Money was on the right side of a musical-chairs situation for the jammers. That put Detroit in front at 80-78, but the drama wasn’t quite over. Detroit’s lead inched to 10 points before Steel City had a golden opportunity on a powerjam with the score Detroit 88, Steel City 78 — but an effective penalty kill from Detroit held The Crippler to only 4 points, leaving Detroit up 88-82 with just under 6 minutes left on the clock.
Steel City caught a tough break on the next jam, where key blocker Athena took a hard fall and took just a second too long getting back up. The referees called the jam for injury even though she appeared to be all right — meaning that Steel City was without one of their most important blockers for three jams where they needed her most.
With 3:30 left to play, Steel City was still just one big jam away from the lead at 97-82, but that jam went south quickly. SCDD jammer The Shocker picked up a 4th minor and hit the penalty box while Detroit’s Cookie Rumble and Sarah Hipel combined on a clock-killing, game-sealing star pass for 12-0. Steel City squeezed two more jams out of the ensuing time, but they both went 0-0, giving Detroit the win at 109-82.
Spring Roll Undercards: Naptown put up a pretty good fight in the first half of their semifinal bout against Detroit, leading early and then hanging close in the opening ten. Detroit wasn’t able to open up more than a 10 point lead until there were 15 minutes left in the first half, but they followed that up by opening up a 45-17 lead with 11 minutes left. A strong rally from Naptown here climaxed with a 17-0 for Amuse Bouch that finished off a 28-3 Naptown run and made it 48-45 with just 2:33 left in the half, although a 4-0 followed by a 9-0 for Detroit gave them some breathing room at the break, 61-45. Detroit did not allow Naptown to make the second half quite as dramatic, though, winning the last thirty minutes 89-49 to advance to the championship bout by a final of 150-94.
Both opening-round bouts were significant blowouts, as Naptown whipped Fort Wayne 148-49 and Steel City trounced Bleeding Heartland 194-48; Fort Wayne had a slightly tougher time in their fourth-place bout against Bleeding Heartland, but FWDG won 97-68.
Championship Bout: Puget Sound 121, St. Louis 120 — The St. Louis Gatekeepers proved to be the big story of the tournament. Though they’d only had their first public match in March, they completed two dramatic comeback wins over older Twin Cities and Dallas in their preliminary bouts to reach the championship, and came within just seconds — and an extremely controversial ref call — of doing the same thing to Tacoma, WA’s Puget Sound in the championship.
Through the first half, St. Louis was hanging pretty close to Puget Sound until serious penalty trouble allowed Puget to go on a big run that looked like it might turn the game into a blowout. The score was a narrow 55-40 favoring Puget Sound with 6:30 left in the first, but St. Louis could not get any more points in the rest of the half while Puget Sound put up 30 unanswered points to make the game 85-40 at the half.
St. Louis’ comeback was slow but steady. After about 10 minutes of the second half, they’d gone on a 20-4 run to close to 89-60, though the comeback hit a bump when St. Louis held a powerjam but lost their jammer on a back block, leaving the jam to go 10-2 to Puget Sound and make it 99-62. Still, though, St. Louis was on the right side of the majority of the jams, pulling to within 25 points at 105-80 with 15 minutes to play.
At this point, Puget Sound clearly started to try to grind the clock out. Hollywood Chuck Bury took the jam star a remarkable 5 jams in a row, with a few 0-0 and narrow-margin wins keeping St. Louis from cutting significantly into the lead. Yet St. Louis kept coming — the lead was down to 19 points at 113-94 with 6 minutes left to play, and 16 points at 117-101 with 2:06 to play.
In the last two jams, jammer penalties on Puget Sound’s ace jammer Quadzilla very nearly gave St. Louis the space they needed to finish the comeback. St. Louis’s Magnum PIMP was able to get an unopposed minute that he turned into a 14-4, and St. Louis called their last timeout at the best possible moment, squeezing one more jam into the bout with the score Puget Sound 121, St. Louis 115.
Short Knox went up against Quadzilla in the final jam, and Quadzilla went to the box before completing his opening pass, driving the crowd into a frenzy as Knox got lead jammer and a 5 point pass, narrowing the score to just a one point lead for Puget Sound with no time remaining on the period clock and still plenty of time left on the jam clock. But as Knox was on his way back to the pack for what seemed certain to be the game-winning points, the jam was suddenly called off by the refs, leading to a very long conference in the infield — and a very vocally upset crowd. At the end of it all, the official ruling was that St. Louis had fielded too many players in the jam, leading to the refs calling the jam.
Spring Roll Undercards: Race City was soundly defeated in both of their 30 minute preliminary bouts, 110-29 by Puget Sound and 86-33 to Harm City; Twin Cities finished fifth by losing both of their prelims to Dallas (47-21) and St. Louis (49-35) but beating a severely understaffed Race City in a truncated bout, 82-35.
Dallas looked like they were on their way to a solid defeat of St. Louis in their prelim, up 23-5 after 10 minutes, but St. Louis nearly erased the gap at 23-17 with two quick jam wins. St. Louis could not take the lead until the last five minutes, and did so in dramatic fashion – with the score 39-38 Dallas, a triple jammer penalty ended with St. Louis taking a 4-0 and the lead at 42-39 with 2:36 left on the clock. The last three jams of the bout went 1-1, 0-0 and 0-0 to give St. Louis a 2-0 record in the prelims and a surprising berth in the championship bout with a 43-40.
Harm City jumped out to a 20-0 lead after just one jam on Puget Sound and led by 20 points at the midpoint of their prelim, but HCH utterly collapsed in the final 15 minutes and did not score a single point, losing 90-53. Harm City went on to lose again in a very closely matched third-place bout with Dallas — it was tied 86-86 with 7 minutes to play but Dallas was on the right side of the last few jams of a game that ended 110-91 for Dallas.