MRDA Semifinal: #2 St Louis Stops #3 New York, 199-167

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BALLWIN, MO — In the second semifinal of the MRDA championship tournament, the second seed St. Louis GateKeepers proved that they still had the New York Shock Exchange’s number. A nightmare 68-4 sequence midway through the second half killed New York’s hopes of repeating as MRDA champions, although they managed to make it a little nerve-wracking for St. Louis’ hometown crowd by manufacturing an opportunity for a Hail Mary last jam after falling behind by over 100 points. The GateKeepers still won 199-167, and with the win proceeded to the final game of the tournament, where they’ll face top seed Your Mom at 7pm Central.

The St. Louis win meant that three of New York’s four losses in their six-year team history have come at the hands of St. Louis. #3 New York plays #4 Magic City for third place at 5pm.

NYSE took the first lead jammer call in a very fast pack, as Ladies Knight and Magnum PIMP had to roll though quite a few physical laps just for Knight to catch up and call at 1-0. There was a very lengthy referee timeout there, which was then somewhat comically followed by a nearly 1 minute delay on the jammer release — but after all that waiting, jam 2 only resulted in 3 more points as NYSE took 3-0 and moved it to 4-0.

NYSE made it three lead jams in a row on the next, but Ladies Knight mysteriously waited too long to call it, letting a certain 4-0 turn into a 4-3; on the next, the hometown crowd finally got a chance to blow up for an STL lead jammer call. Shanego Fett twice lapped opposing jammer Ronnie Mako, who had a lot of trouble with Double Excel, Neil Death Experience and Percy Controll, and Shanego’s 15-0 put the GateKeepers ahead 18-8 after seven minutes.

Things got a lot worse for NYSE in the next two jams as Magnum PIMP scored 3-0 and then an illegal star pass from Ladies Knight to Ace of Skates ended with both skaters in the box and the NYSE jammer star lying lonely on the track. New York completely filled their box during the jam and Debaucherous Prime racked up a huge 34-0 to make it 55-8 with less than ten minutes gone in the game. Although there were quite a few momentum shifts through the remainder of the game, those 34 points ended up accounting for St. Louis’ margin of victory in the end.

New York tried to calm things down by calling their first timeout there; though they gave up another 4-0 next, they got pretty much exactly what they needed after that when it was St. Louis completely filling their own box while Jonathan R racked a 30-0 against the super-light pack. It was 59-38 St. Louis with 17 minutes in the half. Two jams later, St. Louis again got in a bad penalty situation as Debaucherous Prime was boxed after losing his balance and sliding into the pack’s legs from behind. Ronnie Mako had only a 2-2 pack to navigate and scored 19, making it a 63-57 game with about 14 to play.

The teams traded 4-0 jams next to make things 67-61 next, but STL dropped four unanswered jams after that to advance their advantage to 87-61 with about five minutes to play in the first half. However, then it was New York’s turn to run off a solid series of jams, as they kept St. Louis off the board for the last five minutes and went into the halftime break at a fairly close score of 87-73 St. Louis.

NYSE kept the rally going on the second half opener, though Percy Controll and Double Excel managed to hold Ronnie Mako to just 2-0; on the followup, STL’s Wrecking Bill and Gnat King Kill did a solid job of holding up Jonathan R long enough for Bat Wing to break the GateKeeper scoring drought with 4-0. It was 91-75 early in the half.

St. Louis got a power jam to Shanego Fett as Ladies Knight cut track on his opening pass; tough defense from Baneana, Brando and Abe Drinkin held up Fett for a little while, but he eventually burst through for a big 15, giving the GateKeepers a crowd-pumping 106-75 lead. Two jams later it was another power jam to Shanego Fett, though he was in a bad situation with Jefferee, Bane-Ana, Abe Drinkin and Filthy McNasty opposing him and just one St Louis blocker available — he’d call after one scoring pass at a new score of 117-79 with 20:11 left in the game.

That proved the beginning of the end for New York. The next jam started with a 3-2 pack favoring NY, but Magnum PIMP unopposed as jammer — New York had a lot of trouble holding back Magnum’s spins and toe stop work, and things got worse for New York as Ronnie Mako back-blocked his way to the box almost as soon as he got back out of the box. Magnum took 24-0 and the next jam started with Mako still boxed; Bat Wing added 13 more points and suddenly St. Louis’ 154-79 lead was looking very imposing.

The wheels continued to come off for New York on the next jam as STL lead jammer Debaucherous Prime gambled a bit by keeping a jam running against Ladies Knight — and it worked out, as Knight committed a high block and created yet another power jam opportunity for St. Louis. At the end of that one, St Louis had their boot on New York’s neck with the score 171-83, 14:37 left on the game clock and Shanego Fett lining up as an unopposed jammer against a 2-2 pack. Jonathan R and Jefferee did their best to hold Fett, but he took 14-0 to put New York in a triple-digit hole at 185-83 with 12:50 to play.

Although the next jam went 0-0, it was a huge crowd pleaser for the home crowd as NYSE’s Bane-ana finally took lead for his team but got decked on his way out of the pack by opposing jammer Magnum PIMP and was forced to call it. STL lost key blocker Double Excel on that jam, expelled for an egregious elbow.

New York was able to significantly cut into the GateKeepers lead over the last ten minutes — helped along a bit by the expulsion of Excel and a slightly later foul out for another key blocker in Percy Controll — but they needed an extra few minutes that they just didn’t have. A power jam in the last three minutes saw Ladies Knight put up a huge whack that made it 199-154 with 44 seconds left in the game; Jonathan R added 4-0 on the next and called time quickly to force a final jam with NYSE down by 41 points, 199-158, with 16 seconds left to play.

The Shock Exchange kept their extraordinarily dim hopes alive by taking lead on a 4-2 pack advantage, but when Jonathan R was boxed on his first scoring pass, the final chance was snuffed out. Opposing Debacherous Prime played the remaining time extremely conservatively, allowing New York to win the jam 9-0, but when the two minutes were up, New York was still 32 points away at a final score of 199-167.

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