South Central 5th Place: 5SC Houston Survives 7SC No Coasts Comeback, 173 – 157

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KANSAS CITY, MO — When 5 seed Houston and 7 seed No Coast last met in the playoffs, Houston beat them by a factor of four to one — 183-45 at the 2009 South Central tournament. No Coast has been slowly marching up the rankings since that time and came into this game in a much stronger position. Though their improvement showed in the form of erasing a 65 point Houston lead, it wasn’t quite enough to jump the last hurdle of victory and Houston took 5th with a nail-biting, last-jam 173 – 157 win.

The first 15 minutes were almost perfectly even, as back and forth play resulted in both teams picking up grand slams; with a quarter of the game gone, Houston had the smallest lead possible at 27 – 26. But almost the entire rest of the half was run by Houston as they got lead after lead, and amazing pack work kept No Coast’s jammers stuck in the pack. Houston produced heaps of grand slams that expanded their lead to 97 – 32 with just two minutes left in the period.

Yet things weren’t to be so easy for Houston, and No Coast began a staggering comeback. In the last jam of the period No Coast’s Flash Gloria picked up lead while Houston’s Beverly Kills was sent to the box twice, effectively giving Flash a two minute power jam. She picked up 30 points and closed the gap to 97 – 53 as the half clock ended.

No Coast continued their amazing rally during the second half, with Flash Gloria and Slam Anderson taking 22 points on back to back powerjams and putting the score at 102 – 76. Just as No Coast’s Slam Anderson went into the box herself, Houston’s jammer Mistilla the Killa released her giving No Coast ample scoring opportunity. The pair of powerjams closed it up a little more, and the score lay at 110 – 90, still in Houston’s favor. No Coast’s jammer Flash Gloria picked up another 4 points and with 22 minutes left Houston called a timeout to reassess the game.

The last half was a back and forth knock down drag out fight as the two teams fought for every lead and point, but neither team seemed able to gain any big advantage – every point scored was a point lost to the other team. With just over 5 minutes left on the clock the score was 145 – 135. No Coast called for a time out, and both teams huddled to plan their endgame strategy. Three more intense jams saw No Coast tie it up after a 9 point jam by No Coast’s Flash Gloria. 144 – 144.

With just slightly more than 2 minutes left on the clock, the teams lined up on the track knowing that the next person to get lead would likely determine who won the game. Houston’s Mistilla the Killa burst through the pack and claimed lead while her blocking team dominated No Coast’s jammer, allowing Mistilla to take home 20 precious points; Houston had the lead again at 164 – 144. With just four seconds left after the jam ended, No Coast called a time out. While No Coast’s Flash Gloria managed to pick up lead after a brutal fight through the pack she was too worn out by the struggle to capitalize on it, and as the jam timer reached its end Houston remained in the lead, 173 – 157.

With the conclusion of this game Houston goes 2-2 and is the tournament’s 5th place finisher, while No Coast is the 6th place finisher, also going 2-2.

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