COLUMBIA, SC – Just like Game 2, the fifth game of day this round of playoffs was a game of momentum shifts with lead changes, and after #5 Crime City held a 14-point lead at the half, #4 Atlanta pulled their game together in the second half and outscored Crime City by more than double. With a 52-0 run in the final four jams, Atlanta ensured their win and a spot in the semi-finals with a score of 155-112.
To start the game, Atlanta’s braced three-wall held a strong and slow defensive front while Crime City’s braced and rotating quad seemed to be scrambling to stay on top of their game. This led to the Malmö team to pick up seven blocker penalties in the first six jams and left them at a disadvantage at the start of many jams. After two jams, Atlanta led 23-0 before Hanna P picked up Crime City’s first lead and three points.
The Dirty South Derby Girls held onto such a solid quad formation, that even hard offensive hits by Crime City’s Below Me couldn’t move their pack an inch. However, Prince Sofia had time to continue her pushing efforts as her defenders continued to recycle Choke Cherry at the back. Both packs continued to work and with 15 seconds left in the jam, Choke Cherry was finally able to escape the pack and get around for five points.
Crime City finally got to make up some ground in the score when Slams McKenzie gave up a double power jam and Prince Sofia took advantage, scoring 20 points. Slams started from the box in the next jam, but was able to return for lead status and five points. With about 15 minutes left in the first half, Atlanta led 51-23 but Crime City’s game was starting to come together.
Of the first 15 jams, Atlanta’s Baller Shot Caller pivoted in 11 of them, and was the hinge between packs who could jump forward and play offense or fall back and brace her blockers. Their defense was able to lock in well enough that other blockers such as Madditude Adjustment could split off and usher jammers through the pack. Hitting the track with Atlanta this year, Blaque Jac also returned from injury in 2016 and was a force to reckon with for many Crime City jammers.
After Atlanta dominated the first quarter of the game, Crime City stole the momentum and went on a scoring spree with seven straight lead statuses. It started when Slams McKenzie picked up her third penalty while jamming but Curly Håår could only earn four points on Atlanta’s efficient recycling through Crime City’s swarming offense. Atlanta continued to pick up penalties though, and with about ten minutes left in the first half, Crime City still trailed but closed the gap on Atlanta 51-42.
Playing opposite to Baller Shot Caller, Below Me was the key blocker for Crime City. She often attacked the Atlanta pack with offensive hits, but could also turn around and catch opposing jammers as they nearly broke out of the pack. Her hard work came at a price though, and she barely finished the game with six penalties.
After a 13 and 14 point jam for Crime City, they tied Atlanta at 56 points with 5:56 left on the clock. For the rest of the half, Crime City held pack advantages and continued to earn lead, but Atlanta also forced call offs with star stashes and passes. In the last jam of the half, neither jammer got out of the initial pass and heading into the break Crime City held the lead 71-57.
The slow grind of the pack continued with the return of the game, but after earning lead status in the second jam, Curly Håår went to the box, but returned to score seven points. A few jams later she scored 10 more and after that jam, points were few and far between for Crime City.
Slams McKenzie seemed to have shook off her penalty troubles from the first half, and in her first two jams of the second half she put up 15 and then 7 points. Atlanta fielded a deeper jammer rotation of Slams, Trouble MakeHer, Afro Dykee, and Choke Cherry which may have helped carry them through the end of the game. With 17 minutes left in the second half, Atlanta closed Crime City’s lead to just six points, 88-82.
Atlanta upped their lead jammer percentage to 66.7% in the second half, and as it neared ten minutes left in the game, it was Atlanta’s turn to first tie it up at 94 and then take the lead with four more points by Afro Dykee after that.
The remainder of the game sped up and got a bit messy as each team was eager to get lead, pass the star, or get their jammer out of the pack. There were moments of both packs coming back together and revisiting the slow grind of the start of the half, and scoring slowed down momentarily. Without lead status on their side, Crime City was also stashing or passing the star, and after Hanna P handed it off to Curly Håår who turned around to speed away, but a crazy collision with Blaque Jac earned her an egregious forearm and had to exit the game. Hanna P took her spot in the box and picked up Crime City’s last lead and final 16 points to bring the score back to Crime City’s lead 112-103.
After that, Atlanta seemed to dig in and focus hard on defense and were able to shut out Crime City for the rest of the game. They took the lead back with a 19-point jam, and then finished the game with a 155-112 victory. Atlanta will take on #1 Rose City tomorrow in the semi-finals, while Crime City will take on #10 Steel City in the consolation bracket.