Kansas City got a chance to play for the national championship in flat-track roller derby by outracing and outblocking a dogged Carolina team in the semifinal bout of the Texas Shootout, 116 to 108.
Kansas City’s Xcelerator squeezes past Carolina pivot Denise Lightning, while Carolina jammer Princess America tries to make up the ground. Photo credit: insanitylabs
For the first twenty minutes or so of the first half, it looked like Carolina had figured out a way to answer Kansas City’s gameplan, as they quickly picked up a 5-0 on a grand slam for Zella Lugosi over Fearlys. Although Kansas City won the second jam, a full two minutes that saw Xcelerator beat out Denise Lightning, it was only a one point 8-7 win, and Carolina would win each of the next three jams by three points. That run climaxed with an exciting 10-7 win for Zella Lugosi over Dee Claw, where Zella managed to break the pack just as time ran out on another full two minute jam. The score then stood at Carolina 28, Kansas City 15 with about 19 minutes left in the half, but that was where Kansas City turned the game around rather abruptly. After a quick 2-1 for Kansas City’s Fearlys over Princess America, Kansas City’s Xcelerator had a 10-6 over Violent Femme (who passed the jammer star to pivot Denise Lightning early in the jam), and then the always dangerous Snot Rocket busted out a 7-0 jam over Princess America, who had to spend a minute of the jam in the penalty box. Suddenly, it was all tied up at 35 with about 13 minutes left in the half. Carolina would pull back ahead for a short time, but the 13th jam of the half proved to be very unlucky for them, as the Kansas City defense completely had Zella Lugosi’s number and the Carolina defense could not find a way to stop Snot Rocket, who thundered through the pack for three grand slams on her way to a 15-0 jam. The score was Kansas City 63, Carolina 46, the KC corner in turn 4 was creating a massive ruckus, and the momentum had palpably changed. Kansas City’s Xcelerator continued to impress on the final jam of the period, where she kept the momentum going by managing to claim lead jammer and barely complete a 4 point scoring pass even though there were only about 40 seconds left in the period when the jam started. After the first thirty minutes, Kansas City was sitting on a 70-50 lead.
photo credit: insanitylabs
The Kansas City lead would remain at about 20 for the majority of the second half. In the seventh jam, Carolina got a golden opportunity to close in a little bit. With the score Kansas City 91, Carolina 70, Betty Rumble took the jammer star for Carolina against Snot Rocket for Kansas City. Snot Rocket burst out of the pack first, but by cutting the track to get out, she found herself going to the box on a major penalty. However, Rumble was quite obviously tiring, and the KC defense, keyed by Princess Slay-Ya and Patti Wackin, managed to keep her on the same lap for the full minute of Snot Rocket’s penalty. As the penalty came to an end, Rocket came back out of the box … but entered the pack illegally, picking up a fourth minor and going directly back to the box. While that jam ended 0-0, it gave Carolina a chance to start the next jam with Princess America unopposed on the jammer line. She was extremely opposed in the pack, though, this time with Annie Maul, Red Ripper and Xavia all taking turns bashing Princess to the outside, keeping her stuck on her opening lap until Snot Rocket finally got out of the box, claimed lead jammer, and put up 4 points, making the score Kansas City 95, Carolina 70. In those two jams, Kansas City had managed to come out ahead on the scoreboard even though they were missing their jammer for over two minutes. Trouble continued for Carolina on the next jam, when crucial weapon Denise Lightning fell backwards hard early in the next jam, causing the action to stop for some time while the EMTs attended to her. Denise would remain in the game, but looked like she was continuing to feel the effects.
Coming into the end of the bout, though, Carolina got a series of breaks that they were almost able to turn into an improbable comeback. With about 7 minutes left in the game and Kansas City up 113-88, Betty Rumble was able to put up a grand slam over Jade Lightning in the course of running up a 9-0 margin. Just as crucially, Jade picked up her fourth minor in the waning seconds of the jam, allowing Carolina to send Princess America to the jammer line unopposed in the next jam. This time, she capitalized on the chance, quickly picking up lead jammer status and 5 points on her first scoring pass. Jade got out of the box and managed to pick up 3 points for Kansas City before Princess made another scoring pass and called it off. That narrowed Kansas City’s lead to 11 points, 116-105, which was the closest Carolina had been in the whole half. Unfortunately for the East girls, there was less than a minute left on the game clock, and the final jam wouldn’t contain enough time for Carolina jammer Denise Lightning to get more than one scoring pass in. Kansas City hung on to win, 116-108.