ST. PAUL, MN – The first half of the game went into the hands of the home team, as Minnesota visibly responded to familiar grounds and a crowd that roared approval, to carefully capture repeat lead jammer calls, and add 4 point additions to take and solidify game lead. A final second use of their official review to extend the half, however, resulted in a 12-0 addition for Texas, shepherded by Hauss The Boss, leaving them with only a 6-point advantage, 100-94 for halftime.
The second half was full of tense play and constantly switching game leads, while the Minnesota locals were nearly impossible to bring down, as they responded in glee to crowd enthusiasm, celebrating every small victory.
The first whistle saw 4 unreplied points go up for Minnesota. Then the second jam continued with Fifi Nomenon jamming, but Second Hand Smoke earned lead as first jammer out, even as she was re-engulfed into the pack. She was still able to add 4 more, making the game score 8-0. Visibly buoyed by their fans, Minnesota pushed on, and fist-pumped into the audience, pulling out quick lead jammer grabs and 4-0 additions to earn lead game points consistently.
At 4 minutes into the game, Bloody Mary bucked that trend, taking lead jammer, but was still held back from the kind of score-busting additions she needed, adding only 3 points even as Minnesota went for their consistent 4 point plug again.
Taking the following lead, Jacked Pipes went again for a 4-0 addition, to keep the plan as it seemed to have been working thus far – with a lead jammer claim and then a single scoring pass addition. By jam 6, the unexpected happened though, as Minnesota strayed from their careful additions to grab for a 15-9 addition, taking the score to 35-12, and widened the lead in their favor. In fact, by the end of the first game quarter, Minnesota was firmly ahead, with approximately three times the points that Texas had, and a solid majority of lead jammer calls.
Texas went on to carefully add points across the second game quarter, as walls clustered and split apart with repeatedly interjecting opposing players riddled through them – braces and hip alignments being repeatedly broken open.
By the time what seemed like the final jam of the half had happened, Minnesota still held game lead, 100-82. But then MNRG called their official review, using it as a time-out in the final 4 seconds of the period, and allowed for another jam to play. Unfortunately, this didn’t work in their favor, as Hauss The Boss claimed lead, and 12 points, bringing the half-time score to a far narrower 100-94.
In the first jam back, with Fifi at the helm, Texas inched their points past Minnesota with a 14-4 gain that forced Second Hand Smoke to pass the star. They had continuously let jams run long and even allow Minnesota to score, and this time it worked to earn them the lead 112-108.
But then a 5-0 addition from Shiver Me Kimbers pushed the lead back to Minnesota. The two teams then took turns to trade game and jam leads, often splitting into front-and-rear walls and forcing jammers to push and press, and frequently repeat recycle. Despite the closeness of the game by this point, Minnesota seemed impossible to dispirit, cheering themselves and their fans on, dancing and singing to themselves, and playing their hearts out in every new jam.
Several jams later, a 4-0 addition from Fifi Nomenon brought the game to a 133 tie game at the final game quarter, a challenge that Minnesota quickly rose to, taking 4-0 for themselves in reply.
The score stayed close throughout the rest of the game, with little predicting which direction the lead might stray towards. With barely under 5 minutes remaining, and a score of 165-152 back in Texas’ favor, Minnesota took the first of their team time-outs, but were rewarded with a lead jammer call for Fifi and 4-0 further for Texas.
At this point, Texas seemed grimly convinced they would not let go of their lead now, but Minnesota hadn’t gotten the memo, grabbing lead and 4-0 again, and then calling an official review with only two minutes remaining. The final jam saw Minnesota’s Shiver Me Kimbers take lead to rapturous crowd approval, as she added in 17-4 in the last remaining game seconds while Hauss the Boss struggled in the pack. The clock had ticked down though, and as Kimbers called the game, their two remaining timeouts went unused, and the 17 point addition wasn’t enough to take the lead back. Texas came out victorious by 12 points, but MNRG’s rapturous fans continued to roar their approval for that narrow loss, 185-173.
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