LANSING, MI – After a weekend full of upsets, the 3rd place game in Lansing brought together the #1 and #3 seeds, Charm City All Stars and Wasatch Roller Midnight Terror respectively. From the very first jam, it was clear this was going to be a closely matched game in both skill and determination. There was a nearly even split on lead jammer status from both teams, and with most jams only yielding a handful of points and not lasting the full two minutes, this was an exciting battle for fans and players alike.
After a continual back and forth of lead change after lead change, and strong defense and consistent jamming by each team, Charm City clenched the win in the last few seconds, and took third place overall in the Lansing D2 playoffs.
The first half saw four lead changes, which was indicative of the close match between these two teams. Wasatch’s jammer rotation brought Wreckless as their primary jammer, combined with Stache Bot and Sookie Slaphouse. This was a fierce group, but Charm’s strong and controlled defense answered accordingly.
Within the first ten jams, it also became clear that both teams were going to be a very even match on penalties – and this was proven to be true as both teams spent 23 total minutes in the box in the first half. With 16:45 left in the half, the score stood 35 to 28 with Wasatch in the lead.
Charm City’s three jammer rotation was Dottie Deathwish, I.M. Pain, and LeBrawn Maimes, with Deathwish and Pain scoring the majority of Charm’s points in the first half. Throughout this game, both teams showed precise, controlled footwork that allowed them to frequently dance through and around the strong defense coming from both sides. Dottie Deathwish used this footwork to take a big jam for Charm, giving them a fairly significant lead of 54 to 39 with 12:15 left to play in the half.
Wasatch quickly answered Charm with a 19-point jam by Sookie Slackhouse, supported by really strong Wasatch defense. While Charm City also brought defense that seemed to be exactly where it needed to be the entire time, Sookie took lap after lap, and we saw our third lead change of the game. With 10:15 left, the score was 58-54 and the crowd was beginning to really get loud with this exciting match.
At this point, Charm City began to look a bit frazzled. They took a much needed time out to regroup, and were able to gain some ground on Wasatch, who held a lead of 70 to 56 with six minutes left to play. At this point, as with the entirety of the game, the game belonged to anyone. Wasatch was not holding a comfortable enough lead, and the nearly identical match of impossible defense and jammer skill created a continuous tension on the track.
In the last jam of the half, Dottie Deathwish took lead, but went directly to the box on a high block penalty. This released Stache Bot from the box for Wasatch. She got through on her initial pass, but went to the box again. Dottie Deathwish came out and quickly scored five points. She got through again with some resistance from Wasatch’s defense, but took five more points. This resulted in the final lead change of the half. A last minute track cut by Dottie Deathwish ended the half with Charm City leading 81 and 78, but set Wasatch up for a power jam start for the second half.
Coming into the second half, both Wasatch and Charm City’s defense was even tighter and more controlled than it had been in the first half. Jammers on both sides had a difficult time getting through on their initial pass, and typically an even more difficult time getting through on their scoring pass. There were 26 jams in the first half compared to 20 in the second – the result of much longer jams with stronger defense than before.
Jammers again utilized precise footwork to get in and around packs and Wreckless obtained lead jammer several times for Wasatch in the first ten jams. Charm City answered this with defense that wouldn’t quit, and while Wasatch regained lead early in the half, Charm City was right on their heels both literally and score-wise. With 25 minutes left to play, the score was 94 to 81 in Wasatch’s favor.
By the fourth jam, we already saw the second lead change of the game. Charm City briefly overtook Wasatch, but Sookie Slaphouse came in and scored two points at the end of a jam and left the game tied at 98 with 24 minutes left to play. Wasatch quickly took back lead of the game with a series of jams that yielded a few points. With 18:30 left to play, the score stood 118 to 112 in Wasatch’s favor. Again, it was anyone’s game at this point and the nearly identical level of game play coming from both sides was more evident than ever.
Wasatch was able to hold lead for the next several jams, and seemed controlled and calm considering how close the score was and how hard both sides were fighting in each second of each jam. With 16 minutes left in the half, the score was 122 to 117 with Wasatch in the lead.
Once again, Charm fought back. With a power jam opportunity, allowing Dottie Deathwish and a pack of strong offensive blockers to reclaim lead. With 14:40 left, the score stood 127 to 122 with Charm in the lead. Keeping in the excitement of this game, Wasatch quickly took yet another lead change in the very next jam, the score 131 to 127 with 13:30 left.
Wasatch’s defense tightened even more for the next several jams. There were several penalties happening on both sides, frequently leaving Wasatch with only two blockers against Charm City’s strong jammers. This strong defense allowed them to maintain lead of the game for much of the second half. A 23-point jam led by Wreckless took them to their biggest lead of the half 161 to 139 with 7:45 left to play.
Charm City was not to allow Wasatch to maintain this momentum. They answered in the next jam with I.M. Pain utilizing her incredibly precise blockers to bring the score close yet again, 169 to 161 with 5:45 left on the clock. Wasatch’s penalty trouble got the best of them in the following jam, and LeBrawn Maimes took yet another lead change, Charm City up by one point with the time on the clock starting to really run down.
But, of course, in the battle of wits that was this game, Wasatch responded with a strong jam by Sookie Slaphouse, claiming a three point lead with 3:30 left to play. Charm took a time out at this point to regroup. Both teams still seemed remarkably calm and collected for how close this game stayed the entire time. This calm, combined with the same strong defense and jamming we saw in the rest of the game allowed Wasatch to pull ahead by eight points with 1:21 left.
While Wasatch had maintained lead for the majority of this half, the game was still very much up for grabs. In the second to last jam, the crowd began to stand and cheer loudly, as Charm took lead briefly. Sookie Slaphouse answered, and the score was 190 to 185 with 0:31 left to play.
A time out allowed both teams to steady for the final jam of the game. After a close battle in the beginning, I.M. Pain got lead for Charm City, with Wreckless hot on her heels for Wasatch. I.M. Pain took four points, but Wreckless was scoring as well. I.M. Pain pressed on and lapped the pack adding five points, but she knew that Wreckless had some that weren’t on the board yet. Calling off the jam at this point would have tied the score so Pain returned for more points, got caught up in the apex, paused, and called off the jam.
The score board showed 194-193 in Wasatch’s favor and they began to celebrate, but the referees were still discussing point totals. With a game so full of lead changes, it happened once more after the game had ended, and three more points for Charm City gave them the win, 197-194.