D1C Quarterfinal: Texas Takes Atlanta, 227-134

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MILWAUKEE, WI– Saturday’s first quarterfinal match at the WFTDA Championships saw a rematch of the 2012 Atlanta / Texas South Central final, a classic that saw Texas survive by 20 points on a dramatic last-jam resolution.The first half of this bout looked just as competitive — Texas’ 109-65 halftime lead was basically the result of a single early 37-0 power jam for Bloody Mary — but the Texecutioners pulled away in the second half as Atlanta’s offense seemed to struggle. Texas ultimately skated away with a 227-134 win and will progress to meet Denver in the final four on Saturday night

Texas brought a combination of heavy, frequently stationary, defense and consistently strong offense. While Atlanta put up a good fight with equally strong defense, their jammers generally had no answer for Texas’ relentless three-blocker walls. Neither team saw excessive penalties, but jammer penalties in the second half had an impact on both team’s progress. Olivia Shootin’ John scored a remarkable 119 points for Texas overall, over half of the total points scored by the Texecutioners.

An early power jam in jam six for Texas resulted from a major forearm call on Atlanta’s Belle of the Brawl. This allowed Bloody Mary to score 35 points, calling the jam after Belle was released from the penalty box. Texas repeatedly got lead jammer, scoring a few points at a time because of Atlanta’s strong defense, coupled with their jammers getting out of the pack frequently just after Texas gained lead. In the ninth jam, Atlanta’s Hollicidal found herself stuck behind one of Texas’ unyielding defensive walls, and was continually recycled to the back of the pack.

This seemed to be Texas’ main defensive strategy for the majority of the game, and it was quite effective. With Hollicidal stuck, Bloody Mary was able to quickly get lead jammer, scoring two natural grand slams for Texas and bringing the score to 63-16 for the Texecutioners with just over 19 minutes left to play.

Atlanta closed the gap to within 30 points a few minutes later, as Jammunition ran for points over a boxed Sarah Hipel–but Bloody Mary erased that gain a couple of jams later with several natural grand slams against Jammunition, bringing the score to 80-40 with Texas in the lead. A lowblock call on Bell of the Brawl afforded Texas a power jam, and they took full advantage of this, widening their lead to 65 points.

In the following jam, Hauss the Boss is sent to the box on a backblock penalty and Atlanta scored just 3 points, despite the power jam advantage. The remainder of the first half saw continued relentless Texas defense and very few jammer penalties. Because of this, Texas maintained their approximate 50-point lead, each team taking turns scoring under four points per jam.

Atlanta showed an incredible, stopped defensive wall near the end of the first half, sending Bloody Mary to the box along with two Texas blockers. Atlanta used this to their advantage, and the half ended with a 109 to 65 Texas lead. Texas challenged a penalty called against Polly Gone that resulted in the original call standing.

The second half began with both teams playing strong offense. After nearly 45 seconds of play, Texas’ Olivia Shootin’ John got lead but Jammunition was hot on her heels, forcing OJ to call the jam after a single pass–but too late to hold Atlanta scoreless, as Jammunition picked up a point at the back of the pack.

Both teams went neck and neck for the next few jams and the score was at its closest for this half five jams in, with Texas leading 118-81. The Texecutioners responded with a 14-point power jam before the sides traded power jams, with Merchant of Menace visiting the box, followed by Olivia Shootin’ John. Atlanta came out of this with a 5-point gain and Texas called a time out immediately to regroup.

Atlanta began the next jam with a power jam but Bruze Orman scored only five points against Texas’ strong defense. This was followed by two more consecutive jammer penalties on Hollicidal, releasing Olivia Shootin’ John. Hollicidal left the box quickly, leaving a score of 144 to 99 with a Texas advantage.

Texas quickly challenged Hollicidal’s release from the penalty box and after several minutes of discussion, the officials reported that Hollicidal had been released from the box early; she returned to serve the remainder of her time, but no additional penalty was assessed. Penalty timing had been a previous point of contention in the game, with Atlanta commenting on clock issues earlier in the match.

Halfway through the second period, Olivia Shootin’ John broke the game wide open with several natural grand slams after a crowdpleasing leap over a fallen Atlanta blocker to gain lead jammer status. Jammunition struggled with a tough Texas wall and left the jam looking quite gassed, with the score at 177-101.

The next jam saw Sarah Hipel going to the box for two minutes after being called on a back block and subsequently being assessed an insubordination penalty for verbally contesting the call, affording Atlanta a much-needed extended power jam. They couldn’t make all that much of it, however–Hipel’s penalties spanned two jams, which went just 19-4 in Atlanta’s favour.

In the remainder of the second half, Atlanta showed stronger defense, especially from Queen Loseyteefa who held back Texas jammers singlehandedly in several jams. Atlanta saw some penalty trouble, and Texas maintained their lead steadily. Atlanta took a late time out with under two minutes remaining, but Texas responded with continued scoring from Olivia Shootin’ John and took the win 227-134.

The Texecutioners go on to play the winner of the Denver versus Angel City Game at 6:30 PM tonight.

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