East Semifinal: 2E Philly Denies 3E Charm, 153-127

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BALTIMORE, MD — Host league and playoff 3 seed hoped to guarantee themselves a trip to Championships with a win over 2 seed Philly, but Philly took over the game late in the first half and kept control to the end to win 153-127. With the win, Philly heads to the Easterns championship for the third year in a row while Charm City heads to the 3rd place game for their third year as well.

Action started very slow in a tight pack for Charm City’s I.M. Pain and Philly’s Teflon Donna; Pain eventually was declared lead over a minute into the jam and pulled out a 4-0 win to put Charm up out of the blocks; Crowella added 4-1 next. Philly got their first lead jammer status in a 4-0 to Mo Pain over Joy Collision, making it 8-5 Charm City five minutes into the bout.

The first powerjam went to Charm City when Shenita Stretcher was boxed on a 4th minor track cut, but I.M. Pain called a bit early with 2-0, apparently not realizing that she was unopposed; after an early Charm City timeout with 23:01 on the clock, Pain was right back on the line to take very quick lead jammer status against a light Philly pack of just Heavy Flo and Olivia Face; Charm’s pack of Joy Collision, Dolly Rocket, Deathany and Reckless Ndangerment picked up 16 for Pain, but Pain herself was boxed just as Shenita came out, and the jam ended up going 16-10 for Charm.

With a new score of 26-15, Philly’s Teflon Donna picked up a violent 4-0 and narrowed the gap to 7 points at 26-19 about 10 minutes into the game. Things remained quite tight, with the teams trading lead jammer status and small margins until it was 31-22 with about 17 minutes to play — Shenita Stretcher tied the game on a light Charm pack with a 9-0 that made it 31-31 with 14:39 in the half.

That was the beginning of a particularly strong run for Philly. Philly regained the lead two jams later on a 5-0 to Teflon Donna, who lapped Crowella De Vil but got punished by Charm blockers Thoroughbled and Reckless Ndangerment; Persephone added 3 more to move the score to 38-31 with about 11:41 in the half. Crowella De Vil was hammered by Olivia Face, Gloria Grindem and Teflon Donna on the next jam while Mo Pain put up 12-0. Philly was on 30-0 run and had a 52-31 lead with 9 minutes to play.

Charm City caught a tough break when their jammer Joy Collision busted out of the pack first but lost her helmet cover before doing so; she had to skate around to pick it up, during which Philly claimed lead and called a 0-0. After another 0-0, it was still 52-31 Philly with 7:38 in the first half.

Joy Collision finally broke the Charm scoring drought with a 5-0; a 3-2 to I.M. Pain made it 54-39 with 5:30 in the first. An 8-0 to Mo Pain gave Philly a little more daylight at 66-39 going into the closing minutes of the half, and a cut track major on Charm’s I.M. Pain assigned while she had lead jammer was a big break for Philly. Goldy was able to pull a 14-3 that put Philly up 80-42 with 41 seconds left in the half.

There would be a very long referee timeout following that jam, apparently to confirm a complicated Charm City penalty box situation, as it was over-full with Joy Collision, Dolly Rocket and Thoroughbled and I.M. Pain (as jammer) both standing. When it was all settled 7 minutes later, key Charm blocker Dolly Rocket had fouled out of the game — having picked up 4 penalty minutes in that jam and holding a total of 7 trips to the box. Gloria Grindem ended the half for Philly with a 5-0 that put the score at 85-42 at the break.

The intensity of the action remained at its highest pitch of the weekend into the second half, but Charm City could only cut slightly into the Philly lead in the first ten minutes; with 18:30 to play, the game stood at 98-63 — a 35 point margin favoring Philly, just 8 points fewer than the halftime margin. But Philly got a key jam for Goldy against Crowella De Vil, who could not navigate a hard-hitting Philly pack while Goldy picked up 20-0. Charm City called their second timeout with the score 118-63 and 16:23 on the clock.

It seemed like the final nails in the coffin came a few jams later, when Joy Collision had an uncharacteristically hard time getting through the Philly pack while Persephone rolled for 15-0 — and Joy was boxed at the very end of it, leaving the track open for Goldy to add 3-0. That put the score at 136-66 with 9:40 to play.

Olivia Face had a moment to shine as a solo blocker on the next jam when I.M. Pain was unopposed as Charm jammer against a 2-1 pack favoring Charm, but even though Face denied Pain from lead jammer status for about 10 seconds, it ended up being a huge 19-0 — and Philly jammer Goldy hit the box on her turn. Charm City still had a prayer with an unopposed Just Carol on the line, the score 136-85 and 7 minutes left to play, but they could only convert to 5-0, leaving them still down by 46 with 6 minutes on the clock.

In the second to last jam, Just Carol got exactly what Charm City needed when opposing jammer Shenita Stretcher went to the box on a track cut, giving Carol enough time to pick up a 15-0 that made the score 145-116; Charm City called timeout, hoping for a miracle on a 29 point deficit, but the last jam went 9-8 Philly. Although Charm City had managed to win the second half 74-68 even without the services of one of their major pack elements, they’d still take another heartbreaker of a Playoffs semifinal loss to their longtime regional rivals in a final of 153-127.

Philly goes on to face top seed Gotham on Sunday at 5pm for the third Easterns championship game between the two in three years; Charm City has one more chance to qualify for Championships if they can defeat Steel City in the third place game Sunday at 3pm.

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