TUCSON, AZ – In a tightly fought game with unexpected lead grabs and a final winner that few might have seen coming, Charm City finally claimed the win for Baltimore over the Canadians with a last minute come-from-behind that finished the game at 218-180.
Dottie Deathwish put on first points, taking the score to 10-0, with Charm City in the lead by the end of the first jam. The pack refused to divide into front and rear walls, staying mingled and struggling against one another for jammer containment, as Crazy Squirrel was boxed, Holly GoHardly took the powerjam, and fought a quick-moving pack right to the front inch of Tri-City defense to take first one round, and another, to add in 13-0 for Charm.
Tri-City had obviously been focusing on ‘manning-up’, taking one-on-one offensive tactics to contain the opposition when their jammer was coming through. When Dottie Deathwish was boxed, leaving Honey Badger to add in significant points, 20-0, for Tri-City, these tactics came to the fore. With 8 minutes into the game, the score started to even up to 30-24, with Charm still in the lead. So when Honey Badger next hit the track, even her slim 4-0 addition brought the score to a narrow 30-28, with Tri-City creeping up the back.
When in the next jam Kristy Skelton was boxed, Charm’s Niki Cash was left to clean up points, looking like it might risk Tri-City’s chances of the game lead. But then Honey Badger’s next foray onto the track claimed a key 10-0, pushing Tri-City finally into the lead, 43-40. That was then overturned to a single point differential for Charm, 44-43, rounding into the second game quarter.
By the time Tri-City reclaimed the lead, they seemed convinced they needed to hold it, and gently and persistently kept sneaking in points. By the time Crazy Squirrel took lead with 9 minutes left in the half, and added in 18-3, Tri-City had calmed their defense to a dogged control, and appeared quietly on top of the game.
By this time, Tri-City had started to recollect repeatedly in a circulating front braced three-wall, and were using this formation to contain Charm City, escalating the score to 82-47 with 4 minutes remaining in the period. Jammer penalties for Charm most affected their team’s ability to score, so while they grasped occasional single-pass additions, and the occasional extra points grab, they weren’t able to take full advantage of opportunities. In the final seconds of the last jam for the period, Crazy Squirrel was boxed, and Charm managed finally to make the most of this chance, adding in three full scoring passes and taking the jam in their favor, 15-4.They entered halftime with the score at 95-72, to Tri-City.
Crazy Squirrel claimed lead first jam back into the game, when Holly GoHardly was boxed, adding in an impressive unreplied 24-0 for Tri-City, and setting the tone for the game return. The Honey Badger then reiterated with a 10-4 addition, and then the score kept inching forward for Tri-City, relentlessly.
By 6 minutes into the second period, the score paused briefly at 136-79, for Tri-City, with that 41-7 point addition for Tri-City proving what most opponents ought to have worked out about the team by now – their ability to learn how to play their game against any opponent by learning through the half-time break is one of their key strengths.
But then Charm came back in full force like a team that had had one hell of a bench pep-talk, claiming first 20-0, taking an unexpected team time out, and then 9-0 and 20-0. By the time they put in another 9-0 jam addition, the gap had dramatically closed to 153-150, with Tri-City only barely holding their lead and Charm charged with grim determination written loud across their faces. Dottie Deathwish claimed lead and added in 6-4 on the next jam to push the score finally into Charm’s hands, 158-157.
The final ten minutes of the game started once again in the hands of Charm City, with persistent point additions, but then was paused at 7:30 by Tri-City who were keen to re-group and regain game control. It was immediately followed by a 9-0 Charm City jam however, which seemed to send the message that Charm wasn’t about to allow any shift of game control. They claimed lead after lead and added points while duo walls stayed glued on Tri-City jammers, refusing them any quarter.
Tri-City took this opportunity to call an official review that once again paused play, and resumed on an almost immediate track cut for Charm’s Dottie Deathwish, while The Honey Badger battled defensive walls till she wound up in the box herself and had to watch as Dottie claimed 10 unanswered points. By this time, with only 1:30 remaining in the game, and a still mounting score of 214-166, for Charm, the game appeared set.
When the final jam of the game rolled around, with only 52 seconds remaining on the clock, Tri-City claimed their final team time-out and put Crazy Squirrel back on the track against Holly Gohardly, who claimed lead for Charm, but then was sent to the box with a double penalty claim. Crazy Squirrel was left to take on penalty-troubled Charm’s blockers, adding in 14 points to push her team up again, but missing the equalizing mark by a large margin. Charm City’s win came in at 218-180, against Tri-City.
Charm City now goes on to play against Mad Rollin’ Dolls later today at 6pm (PDT), while Tri-City goes on to battle for the 9th place tournament departure against Arizona on Sunday, at 10am (PDT).
Keep your eye on all updates and track down the recaps over at our Tucson Central post.