Republished with permission from ArchRivalRollerGirls.com.
BALLWIN, MO — The M-80s (2-1) utilized a second-half scoring barrage en route to a 153-94 win over Rebel Skate Alliance (0-3) to enter the ARRG local postseason as the second seed.
The M-80s were disappointed at their setback in December that dropped their record to .500. If not for two major miscues against the Stunt Devils, this powerful juggernaut would have been in the driver’s seat heading into Saturday’s battle with RSA.
“Last month, there were some key critical errors that we made that cost the game for us,” said M-80s’ co-captain Science Friction of December’s four-point setback. “We wanted to sweep the regular season. Of course, that didn’t happen.”
With a line-up that had been reduced to ten skaters, the firecrackers knew that a rebound would not be easy against the defending league champion on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Rebel Skate Alliance would go through a roster shift as well, a recurring theme for them this season. Veteran Smarty McFly would return to the line-up in a blocking capacity for her first bout in three months, but the absence of top-notch scorer Pink Diamond would lead to another reshuffling of the RSA jamming rotation.
RSA began the scoring with back-to-back four pointers posted by jammers Stabby McCutcha and Party Foul to grab an 8-0 lead two jams in. The M-80s’ Black Market Baby collected four of her own two jams later to cut the gap to 8-4. Another four-point pair by the McCutcha/Foul combo extended the RSA lead to 16-6 at the 24:11 mark. Foul added an eight-pointer at 19:45 to give the Rollin’ Rebs a 24-9 edge.
The M-80s then posted a 24-0 rally during the next two jams to gain their first lead of the bout. Jammer May Require Stitches began the run with five points to cut the gap to 24-14. On the next jam, RSA jammer Chewblocka was sent off for a back block, enabling the M-80s’ Black Market Baby to capitalize on a power jam. A 19-pointer ensued; as a result of the rally, the M-80s pulled ahead to a 33-24 lead with 14:00 left in the first period.
The ladies in red extended the lead as the half progressed and pounced on back-to-back power jams down the first half’s final minutes. BMB followed a 10-point power jam with a baker’s dozen two minutes later to give the M-80s a 67-43 lead with 4:30 left in the period.
RSA’s McCutcha collected eight down the stretch and pulled the Rollin Rebs to within striking distance at intermission. A 72-51 lead at halftime was anything but safe for the M-80s.
“We had lost a couple of jams in the first half, but then made some critical adjustments,” said Friction of the M-80s’ 21-point edge. “At halftime, we knew that those adjustments were working. But we also knew that if they adjusted to our adjustments, then we would have to do something else.”
And as foreshadowed, RSA adjusted and struck quickly to begin the second half. A power jam by Party Foul netted 14 points to cut the gap to 72-65.
Two jams later, Foul posted nine as lead jammer before being called off for a track cut. The M-80s’ Stitches netted 13 non-lead power jam points as a result. When the dust had settled, the M-80s held onto a 10-point lead, 85-75 with 25:40 left.
Keeping with their system of utilizing players “at any position at any time,” RSA next sent blocker Beaster Bunny to the jammer rotation. The Windy City Rollers’ transfer posted seven with 23:00 left to whittle the M-80s lead to 85-82.
Perhaps it was at this time that the M-80s decided to finally stop playing the “adjustment game” and do things their way. A 27-0 rally off the next three jams was the end result, and with 15:40 left in the bout, the M-80s had built a 112-82 lead. The M-80s’ blocking schematic also limited any potential RSA late-bout dramatics, keeping RSA scoring to a dozen points in the final 15 minutes.
The M-80s outscored RSA 81-43 in the second half to pick up the 59-point win and finish the regular season 2-1.
And once again – as proven in all regular season bouts – the M-80s were able to utilize their depth effectively despite small numbers. The firecrackers rotated five different jammers, each who scored double digits on the evening.
“The M-80s has always been a team that has sought out depth,” said Friction of her team’s balance. “We draft people based on their ability to play a lot of positions. We tell anyone when we draft them that they will play every position, whether they like it or not. It’s nice to see that we can look at a player and know that they can do anything.”
Unofficially, Black Market Baby topped M-80s’ scoring with 78 points, followed by 30 from May Require Stitches.
Party Foul and Stabby McCutcha scored 42 and 40, respectively for RSA, who finished the regular season with a 0-3 mark. Though currently winless, this squad showed that they should be considered a very dangerous fourth seed heading into February’s playoff round. With McFly back in the fold, the impending return of Diamond at jammer and the lethal emergence of McCutcha in that same capacity, RSA next month can easily erase the frustrations experienced in the regular season in very short order.
Meanwhile, for the M-80s, it’s full speed ahead into the post-season.
“Tonight, we came out guns a blazin’ and played our hardest,” said Friction. “We really want to play for the championship at Chaifetz.”
M-80s – Black Market Baby 78, May Require Stitiches 30, EnYa Nightmare 23, Rhino Might 12, The Siege 10
REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE – Party Foul 42, Stabby McCutcha 40, Beaster Bunny 9, Chewblocka 3