LOS ANGELES, CA — Through the first half of Saturday night’s banked-track game between the hometown LA Ri-Ettes and San Diego Wildfires, LA’s jammers seemed magnetically drawn to the penalty box, and it ended up showing on the scoreboard. San Diego repeatedly played an effective slow-trap on powerjams, and used the margin gained on those to hold a 17 point lead at halftime. After the halftime break, though, LA cleaned up their game and rode two key 15-0 jams from ace Chargin’ Tina to once again deny San Diego a win on LA’s turf on a final score of LA 140, San Diego 115.
In the first quarter, the Ri-Ettes gave up 4 powerjams against 1 for San Diego. While the home team did leap out to a quick lead at 7-0 after a 4-0, 0-0, 3-0 opening sequence (with the 0-0 being a San Diego powerjam), it was a one-point game soon after as the Wildfires got on the board with 4 points to Summer Crush followed by 2-0 to Kiki DiAzz.
Things stayed close for the remainder of the quarter, with the teams trading the lead twice late. With 1:45 on the clock and the score 15-14 Ri-Ettes, Kiki Diazz ended the lead-trading for awhile as she went huge with a 13-0 powerjam, taking advantage of her blockers trapping Raven Seaward. It was 27-15 going into the final jam of the quarter; LA’s Chargin’ Tina landed an apex jump to cut a little bit off the lead with a 4-0 to close the first 15 minutes at 27-19 San Diego.
LA’s jammer penalty problems only got worse in the second quarter, as they allowed 5 powerjams against 2 by San Diego. Though Cris Affliction put up 4-0 for LA and narrowed the lead to 27-23 to open the second half, she committed yet another jammer penalty and it was the Wildfires’ OB Noxious answering with 5-0, giving San Diego a 32-23 advantage two jams into the quarter. After a Kung Pow Tina 3-0, LA gave up their 6th powerjam of the game, leading the track open for Kill ‘Em Al to go 7-0 and give San Diego a 20 point lead with 9:32 left in the half, 43-23.
LA finally got another chance to get the powerjam advantage, putting Raven Seaward up unopposed. She approached the pack extremely slowly, apparently keen to avoid picking up a penalty, but as it turned out she’d go to the box anyway on a failed apex jump later in the jam. While she got 5, she ended in the box and left Kiki Diazz with the track open.
That next jam turned out a little oddly as two of LADD’s blockers ran far ahead of the pack chasing Kiki while the remaining LADD blocker Laguna Beyatch was being slowed to a near stop by the Wildfires pack; unable to legally skate backwards, the frontmost LADD blockers had to stand completely still for the entire subsequent scoring pass, waiting for the pack to catch up to them. That was a 9-0, and San Diego was holding onto a fairly solid lead at 52-28 with 7 minutes in the half.
While LA cut a bit off the lead at 55-36, they continued to have major problems keeping their jammers out of the box; San Diego’s lead peaked at 60-36 with 5 minutes in the half. Although LA put up 12 unanswered points to give themselves some much needed momentum, the half ended with LA’s Kung Pow Tina taking 5-0 for a halftime score of San Diego 65, LA 48.
Through the first half, LA had given up 9 powerjams against just 3 by San Diego; more importantly, San Diego had outscored them 48-12 on powerjams, accounting for San Diego’s 17-point lead twice over. It was clear through the break that LA’s chances hung on fixing that problem, and they did exactly what they needed to do when action resumed. They only gave up 3 powerjams for the rest of the game (against 3 for San Diego); with the jammer situation equalized, there were 6 lead changes or ties through the third quarter as LA clawed their way back into the lead.
San Diego went 4-0 and 5-0 to open the second half with San Diego establishing their biggest lead of the game at 74-48. LADD continued to hand their opponents unopposed time when Cris Affliction was boxed on the third jam, but Fleetwood Smack, Haught Wheels, Raven Seward locked down Kung Pow Tina, both denying her points and forcing her into a box trip. That gave Chargin’ Tina a powerjam for LA, and she converted to a big 15-0 as LADD did an excellent job of forcing the whole San Diego pack alternately inside or outside just as Tina entered for each pass. The San Diego lead was down to 11 points at 74-63.
Three jams later, it was again Chargin’ Tina with a big jam, a 9-0 that brought the margin all the way down to one point at 76-75 with 6 minutes in the third quarter; one jam later, LA went in front 79-76 on a 4-0 to Mickispeedia. The lead was traded twice more in the next two jams as Kill Em Al and Chargin’ Tina each took a 4-0 win; LA was up 83-80.
LADD caught a tough break on the next jam when Mickispeedia was just a moment too late calling off the jam against Tough Soles, meaning that Soles was able to steal lead jammer status from her; the resulting 7-4 jam to San Diego tied the game at 87-87.
Kiki Diazz took 3-0 to put San Diego in the lead 90-87, but ended that one in the box along with two San Diego blockers; the leggy Tina pulled down 8-0 and put LA in the lead yet again, 95-90, as the third quarter closed out.
It was a close game on the scoreboard, but it felt like LA had the momentum, and the opening sequence of the final quarter bore that out. San Diego was held scoreless for the first four jams, and with about 10:41 to play in the game LA had a 12 point lead at 102-90. Kiki Diazz got her team on the board with 2-0, but it was just a bump in the road for LA. Laguna Beyatch answered that jam with a crowd-pleasing apex leap on her way to 9-0 that made it 111-92, and two jams after that, it was Chargin’ Tina dropping her second 15-0 of the game in a powerjam situation, pushing the score to 126-92 LADD with 6 minutes to play.
While Kiki Diazz took advantage of a completely full LA penalty box to match Tina’s frame with a 15-0 of her own, the clock was very much not on San Diego’s side by that point. It was 126-107 LA there with 4 minutes to play, and LA denied San Diego any late game heroics. LA claimed lead jammer status and kept San Diego off the board for the next three jams to go up 138-107 with under a minute to go; though San Diego won the last jam 8-2, it was too little too late and LA took the win 140-115.
Chargin’ Tina led LA with 63 points; Mickispeedia was second with 24. Kiki Diazz and new face Kill’em Al accounted for the great majority of San Diego’s points with 50 and 32 points, respectively.
The Ri-Ettes are next in banked action against new superteam Team Bionic on February 11th in LA; the Wildfires play on February 18 in Del Mar against a to-be-determined opponent.