ST. PAUL, MN â€“ The Gardas didn’t make it look easy, but winning 3rd place in a talented league like the MNRG never is. Their 76-74 victory over the Atomic Bombshells â€“ last year’s intraleague champions â€“ killed a three-game, season-long losing streak and gave Minnesota fans a tiny peek at what they might see next year from the Garda Belts.
See the longer version of this article on Minnesotarollergirls.com.
The Gardas held an early 8-2 lead, but Bombshell rookie Freeze Baby took the scoring lead back with a big 11-0, shaking off Betty LaRude and Ann E Briated while the Bombshell blockers superbly waterfalled opposing jammer Moto Fluzzi to submission. Both Lizzy and Hurtrude Stein followed up with a lead jam each, scoring 10 points to the Gardas’ 2 in the next two jams. With eleven left in the half, the Bombshells had the lead 23-10.
The Bombshells held off the Gardas for most of the rest of the half, but with 4 minutes to play, a beautiful jammer takedown on L’exi-Cuter by Garda rookie Dropkick Donna into Turn 4 allowed the Garda’s MEDUSA to sneak through and score three points, tying the score at 26-26. However, the Gardas couldn’t turn the tie into a lead, and the half ended at 36-30 Bombshells.
The lead changed twice in the second half’s first two jams — MEDUSA took 9-0 to make it 39-36 Garda Belts, but next up, Bombshell jammer Hurtrude Stein at last found her moment and answered with a double slam of her own as a refreshed Diamond Rough owned opposing jammer Sintripetal Force for several rounds of the pack. Lead change #4 had the Bombshells up again, 46-39.
The Bombshells were able to slightly increase their advantage to 61-50 with 13 minutes to play, but as the game entered the homestretch, the Gardas held the Bombshells scoreless for 6 minutes, using both the speed of MEDUSA to make up for lead jams tallied by the other side, as well as mighty forces of nature like Rumblebee and Betty LaRude battering the Bombshells. Sintripetal Force finally scored the points that gave the Gardas lead change #5 with 6 minutes to go, up by a point at 62-61. That lead changed hands two more times as first the Bombshells’ Lizzy the Axe, then Cassie Rolle for the Gardas blew past opponents in the pack over the next two jams. With three minutes left, the Garda Belts were clinging to a 71-65 lead.
L’exi-Cuter’s blockers brought the Bombshells within four as they phalanxed Garda defenders long enough for L’exi to take the lead and score. Lizzy the Axe then got the final lead jam and started roaring through the pack for the scoring pass against a flailing Sintripetal Force. However, Trippy’s Garda Belt teammate Betty LaRude forced a minor track cut on Lizzy in the middle of the pass, sending the Bombshell jammer to the box without finishing the pass. Trippy found her way through the pack and scored three points on the power jam … just a bit more than she needed to force a second scoring pass by Lizzy. Lizzy returned from the penalty box and finished her first lap of the pack, but before she could start the second, the final whistle blew. End of game. The refs called it, and the Gardas had their first win of the season when it mattered the most, 76-74.
MEDUSA (playing in her first game as a Garda Belt after transferring from cross-town North Star) led Garda Belts scoring with 31 points, followed by Sintripetal Force with 24; the Atomic Bombshells were led by Freeze Baby with 31 points and Lizzy the Axe with 20.
Photo gallery from Head Shot