RICHMOND, VA — In the final game of Saturday action, surprising low seeds Jacksonville (8th) and Terminal City (10th) found themselves competing for a spot in the 5th place game against Kansas City. Both teams featured remarkably speedy jammers, but Jacksonville’s defense was just a bit better; an enjoyably old-school game defined by track play rather than penalty pileups ended with Jacksonville triumphant 162-127.
The game guaranteed that both teams will improve on their tournament entry; Jacksonville will play 5th seed KCRW for 5th at 2pm on Sunday while Terminal City faces 9th seed New Hampshire for 7th.
Unlike most of the tournament’s other games, the score in this one was mostly built from natural single-pass frames. Terminal City established an 8-0 lead over the first two jams before Jacksonville nicked most of that lead away with 4-0 and 2-0 on the followup jams. With the board showing 8-6 Terminal City, a lead jam for Ms. Jax’Em led to 3-0 and the first lead change with Jacksonville on top 9-8 after five minutes.
Jacksonville’s fortunes continued to improve on jam 5, when Terminal City not only gave up a power jam but was stuck with a single blocker on the track for two full passes. Crash Register had little trouble putting up a 24-0 on that one, making it 33-8, and the speedy Jamsterella added 5 more to put Jacksonville up by 30 with 21:30 in the first half.
Things went right back to tight and low-scoring for the next 15 minutes, though. Terminal City picked up the next seven lead jammer calls in a row, but the impressive speed of Jacksonville’s jammers forced TCRG to call off four of them at 0-0 under pressure. The other three were small-ball shutout wins that made the score 38-19 Jacksonville with about 14 minutes left in the half.
The next six jams all went 4-0 — but Jacksonville took four of them to Terminal City’s two, leaving things at 54-23 with about 7 minutes left in the half. A high-scoring jam finally came up when Terminal’s luludemon found herself boxed and Ms. Jax’Em was free to rack points — but it ended up being nearly a wash when Jax’Em couldn’t quite get the jam called before cutting track and going to the box herself. The frame went 15-14 Jacksonville, putting the score at 69-37 Jacksonville with 5:14 in the half.
Jacksonville attempted to use an official review to overturn Jax’Em’s cut call, but did not get satisfaction, giving Terminal City jammer Evada Peron a little bit of unopposed time on the other side of the break to put up 5-0. It was 69-41 with 4 minutes in the half.
The next jam ended before scoring when Jacksonville jammer Crash Register went down awkwardly and had to be helped off, unable to put weight on her left leg; she wouldn’t return to the game with a reported knee injury. After the injury timeout, there was about 3:30 left on the period clock; the half ended two jams later on a power jam to Ms. Jax’Em, who racked 15 and moved the score to 84-43.
With Crash Register gone from their roster, Jacksonville promoted Legs R Us and Nuke to the jammer rotation along with Ms. Jax’Em and Jamsterella; Legs represented the third of three Jacksonville shutout wins to start the half, helping put her team up 94-43. Luludemon put up an increasingly common 4-0 to slow the bleeding, but Terminal City was still doubled up at 94-47 about 5 minutes into the half.
Three jams later, Jamsterella gambled a bit by keeping a lead jam running with a 4-2 pack advantage against Barbarich; it worked out as the Jacksonville defense manufactured a natural 17-4 to put Jacksonville up 113-51.
Terminal City rallied there, stringing five lead jammer calls together for four 4-0 jams and a 9-0, making it 113-76 with just over 15 minutes to play; on the sixth, Terminal City finally got a power jam advantage when Jamsterella was boxed. Barbarich converted it to 18-0 and suddenly it was a one-jam game at 113-94 with 14 minutes to play. Jacksonville called their first timeout there.
After a 3-0 to Terminal City, there was a full-length jam between luludemon and Jamsterella when both hit the box almost simultaneously; it ended as a complete wash at 12-12, pushing the score to 125-109 with exactly 11 minutes to play. Jacksonville’s Nuke was expelled from the game on that one.
Things remained narrow going into the bout’s last ten minutes, with Jacksonville up by 20 at 129-109, but a high hit from Terminal City’s jammer Kim Janna gave Ms. Jax’Em a chance to put up a rare lopsided jam; although looking a little tired in the late game, she did claim 24 critical points to give Jacksonville a cushion at 153-109 with 6:40 to play.
TCRG’s Evada Peron took 4-0 to make it a 40 point game with 6:09 as Terminal City called their second timeout, but Jacksonville’s Ms. Jax’Em took lead on the next one and was quite happy to play jammer cat-and-mouse away from the pack with Barbarich for nearly the full two minutes, draining critically important time off the clock. Jax’Em eventually called it at 0-0 but moved the clock into the last 4 minutes.
When the next jam also went full-length at 11-9 Terminal City, it was 162-124 with under two minutes to play and Terminal City was simply out of time. TCRG called their final timeout down by 35 at 162-127 with 56 seconds left on the clock, but when Jacksonville’s Jamsterella picked up lead jammer status after the break, Terminal City’s Hail Mary hopes were snuffed out. It ended scoreless, and Jacksonville celebrated a hard-fought win that sent them to play Kansas City for 5th place.