D1R: (3) Naptown Denies (6) No Coast, 206-144

D1R: (3) Naptown Denies (6) No Coast, 206-144 Photo: Jennifer M. Ramos.

RICHMOND, VA–In the second quarterfinal of Richmond’s D1 Playoffs, tournament 3 seed Naptown (Indianapolis, IN) went up against 6 seed No Coast (Lincoln, NE) with a trip to the final four on the line. No Coast was still in the game late, but saw two good-looking rallies snuffed out by jammer penalties; in the end, Naptown advanced to their tournament’s semifinals for the third straight year with a 206-144 win.

The story of the game was primarily stellar jamming from No Coast’s star Megan “Flash” Harrington, who put up a stunning 110 of her team’s 144 points, and equally effective blocking from Naptown’s tenacious Asian Sinsation, who often seemed to be everywhere at once to heavily frustrate the rest of the No Coast jammer rotation. Naptown jammers Anna Cassube and Christy Johnson put up only 17 points each. A more balanced Naptown jammer attack was led by 102 points from Maiden America but key support from G-Rocket (52 points), PushyCat (27 points) and Majestic (25 points).

The teams traded 4-0 hit-and-quits to leave the game tied early, but strong defense from Naptown’s Cereal Killer and Asian Sinsation on jam three set up a lap point and 8-0 for Majestic. The first power jam of the game went full-length, though, as Naptown’s PushyCat was boxed as lead and Megan Harrington flipped the scoreboard to 24-16 No Coast after about five minutes of play.

That advantage didn’t last very long for No Coast. On the next frame, it was more big Naptown defense from Asian Sinsation that eventually forced NCDG jammer Christy Johnson to the box while the No Coast pack momentarily dwindled to just one. A 25-0 from Maiden America once again changed the lead, this time to 41-24 Naptown as Christy Johnson started the next jam in the box; back to back 4-0 jams for Naptown had the Indiana crew up 49-24 with ten minutes gone in the game.

Two jams later, another jammer penalty on Christy Johnson again opened the door for Maiden America to drop another 25-0, though she was eventually forced into a track cut by No Coast blocker Jana Becher. No Coast called their first timeout there at 74-28 with 16:54 left in the first half.

Fortunately for No Coast, an extremely sparse pack greeted Megan Harrington as Maiden America served most of her penalty in the next jam; she took advantage for a much-needed 23-0 that erased most of the previous Naptown advance, making it 74-51 at the midpoint of the half.

Things started low-scoring and narrow for the next six jams as No Coast lost just a little ground to 89-61, but the Naptown defense was starting to click. Sinsation, Enya Grave and Ima Hurcha manufactured a natural 17-0 for Maiden America to make it 106-61 entering the last stretch of the half.

Naptown had extended the lead to 114-66 with 1:10 left in the half, but gave No Coast a momentum power jam to close the action with their best jammer on the track; Harrington took 9 and closed the half with No Coast still in the game but trailing 114-75.

No Coast, still offensively powered almost solely by Harrington’s jams while Anna Cassube and Christy Johnson kept No Coast from losing ground, kept it almost perfectly even over a low-scoring first 8 minutes of the second half, putting the score at 125-87.

No Coast caught a big break there as Naptown’s Maiden America kept a jam running to exploit a 3-1 pack against Anna Cassube, but America cut the single No Coast blocker, causing an unlikely power jam. That jam went 10-4 to Cassube, making it 129-97 Naptown with about 20 minutes to go.

Unfortunately for No Coast, Megan Harrington pulled her first jammer penalty of the game right there while No Coast’s pack was still very light; G-Rocket converted that to 18-0, making things tougher for No Coast at 147-97 with 17 minutes left in the game; and on the very next jam, a forearm penalty to jammer Christy Johnson increased No Coast’s woes.

NCDG caught a bit of a break as Maiden America failed to realize she was unopposed and called the jam at 0-0, but it was only a momentary reprieve. America went right back out and racked her third huge jam of the game with 24-0; that made it 42 unanswered points and a dominating 171-97 Naptown lead with about 13 to play.

It wasn’t quite over yet, though. Harrington continued to slice up the Naptown defense as jammer, giving No Coast most of their points on the way to 175-120 with about nine minutes to play. Johnson and Cassube finally started getting some consistent victory margins as well, using small ball jams to make it 175-127 with about seven minutes to play.

However, a back block penalty on lead jammer Harrington at about that moment put the brakes on the No Coast rally just when they didn’t have enough time left to afford it. The resultant full-length, high-scoring jam went 15-14 Naptown, but more importantly moved the game into its last 4:30 with Naptown holding on to a 190-131 advantage.

From that point, Naptown needed only to avoid giving up a killer power jam, and did exactly that, bringing the game in for a 206-144 landing and giving them a berth in the Saturday semifinals, likely against 2 seed Texas.