D1R: (2) Texas Stuffs (3) Naptown, 295-136

D1R: (2) Texas Stuffs (3) Naptown, 295-136 Photo: Jennifer M. Ramos.

RICHMOND, VA — In the second semifinal of the Richmond playoffs, it looked very promising early for third seed Naptown, who led highly favored second seed Texas for much of the first 15 minutes and trailed by only 16 points early in the second half — but the extremely experienced Texas crew reacted coolly and got the job done. A brutal three-jam, 75-0 sequence for Texas with 19 minutes to play turned a potential historic upset into an expected blowout, as Texas skated into the tournament final with a 295-136 win.

The teams traded single-pass jams to start the game, with Naptown barely getting the better of it at 5-4 after two minutes; the third went 0-0 when Bloody Mary took lead and tried to eat the baby on Maiden America but couldn’t quite keep the lock. The lead was traded on each of the next four jams, leaving it a very narrow game at 12-11 Naptown early.

It looked like a lopsided jam might finally go up when Hauss the Boss received the first jammer penalty of the game there, but some exceptional Texas defense from Polly Gone and Sarah Hipel kept the damage to just 5-0 and 4-0 over two jams. Naptown built a 21-11 lead out of it, but Texas jammer Bloody Mary gave Naptown another bite at the apple when she was boxed on a forearm next. That time, G-Rocket was able to put up 12 and ice Bloody Mary in the box. Texas called their first time looking at a surprising score of 33-11 Naptown with 19:20 left in the first half.

After three more extremely low-scoring jams, Naptown still held the early advantage at 41-16 — but then Texas suddenly woke up, only allowing 4 Naptown points over the next 11 minutes of play. After a Bloody Mary 3-0, a extremely tight defense of Barbara Ambush, DeBella DeBall and Molotov M Pale stuffed PushyCat for nearly a full two minutes as Olivia Shootin’ John racked 21 points, erasing almost all of the Naptown lead at 41-40.

The Texas rally continued on the followup as Hauss the Boss ran wild on a 2-2 pack while Polly Gone and Smarty Pants created a natural 19-0 for her. Texas called an official review at 11:11 on the clock, holding a 59-41 lead. That review didn’t work out for Texas, and Naptown managed to break the Texas run with a 2-0 on the other side of the short break — but a 3-0 for Texas moved the score to 62-43 going into the last ten minutes of the half.

The half ended on a storm of jammer penalties, as the last five minutes saw the teams split 4 daisy-chained penalties. While it did help Naptown get their scoring moving again with 15-0 and 4-0 jams, it also allowed Texas to grow their lead to 104-64 at the break.

Naptown started the second half working on the very end of a jammer penalty on Olivia Shootin’ John, and G-Rocket got her team out to a good start with 9-0 to narrow things to 104-73. An extremely impressive Naptown string capped off by excellent boundary work from Dora the Destroyer then let Maiden America add 9 more, and suddenly Naptown was threatening again at 104-82.

Although Texas took the next two lead jammer calls, they narrowly lost both of those frames, the second when Olivia Shootin’ John was boxed with lead; when the sequence was over, it was a 19-point game at 118-99.

Naptown caught a bit of a break on the next one as Fifi Nomenon was having a very good run in her first turn as Texas jammer but received another Texas jammer penalty near the end of it; Naptown lost ground on the 20-13 jam but ended it with Fifi boxed and the score still a very manageable 138-112 with 21:19 left in the game. G-Rocket added 10 on the other side of the power jam, making it a 16 point game at 138-122 with 19 to play.

However, just when they were finally back in striking distance, their momentum was brought to a grinding halt by three jammer penalties over two jams to PushyCat. Hauss the Boss used both speed and strength to rack up a 25-0 followed by a 30-0 bomb to Olivia Shootin’ John. With PushyCat still boxed on the third penalty, Bloody Mary ended the sequence with 20-0. That finished turning a 16-point game into a 91-point game in just three jams; the score was 213-122 Texas with 11 minutes to play, severely quieting a crowd that had been pulling for a huge upset.

As if things weren’t bad enough for Naptown, they lost one of their key blockers when Asian Sinsation fouled out on the followup jam; two jams later, the Texas lead hit triple digits during a jam that saw Naptown once again suffer two jammer penalties in the same jam. That left the scoreboard at 240-129 Texas with 7 minutes to play, and from there it was a foregone conclusion; Texas ended the game on a 157-14 run and won 295-136.