Just like the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, Hometown Heroes night has come and gone. Just like the Dark Knight movies, it was filled with some tense moments, but in the end the good guys came out on top as the #38 Black Sheep defeated the #52 Killamazoo Derby Darlins 322-213. The Sheep got the W, but just like the end of The Dark Knight Rises, it was definitely not the ending I was expecting.
Killamazoo has been playing inspired this year, and they brought that fighting spirit with them to the historic Cincinnati Gardens on Saturday night. When it was 4 on 4 in the pack, they were more than able to hold their own against Cincinnati. CRG’s constant attacking of the other team’s jammer isn’t a complex strategy, but it is effective. The opposing team can basically do two things: 1) Try to attack the Cincinnati blockers to open up holes for their own jammer or 2) do what Cincinnati does and let their jammer try to pick her way through while checking or stall blocking CRG’s jammer. Killamazoo went with the latter counter strategy, and it proved quite effective, as there was many times in the first half where the Derby Darlins would get lead jammer and trap CRG’s point scorer.
So far, the two-jammer approach of K Lethal and Wheezy has worked, but this game showed that the Black Sheep aren’t ready to step back in the ring with the top tier teams in the region just yet. K. doesn’t need much of a hole to get through, consistently threading needles like her name was Susan B. Anthony all year long, but she does need a hole to get through. Luckily, this is the type of situation where Wheezy shines. Just like Superman, she left her glasses in the locker room and used her brawn to gore her way through three-woman walls and shrug off checks like the Man of Steel deflects machine fire.
Sadistic Sadie got some time with the star as well, but as she only jams here and there in games, she is way more effective in the pack as an on the track general, directing her fellow players. So what does this mean? The Sheep could use a third jammer, and with Black Sheep mainstay blocker Karma Krash leaving for California this month, there is going to be an open spot. I would love to see Ruthless Chris get a shot on the A level. She stays out of the box, doesn’t panic no matter what the situation and gets lead jammer more then Lindsey Lohan cleans out hotel mini bars.
So how did the Sheep end up winning this game by over 100 points? POWER JAMS, which is ironic since CRG Quad Almighty just wrote an article on them which you can read here. CRG’s attacking defense made this possible, forcing the Derby Darlins’ jammers into multiple track cuts and other rules infractions. With their jammer off the track, the Sheep immediately started to play “sausage derby” and started racking up points. This is where K. Lethal really shines as her speed allows her to get around the track quickly and shreds opponents with scoring runs that regularly get her team a quick 20 to 30 points.
It was also enjoyable to watch Nuk’em skate out of the “conga line” to form a pack with the other team and immediately race back to create no-pack situations, which made it so that if the CRG jammer was hit, the opposing team’s blockers would go to the box for out of player. Every once in a while Nuke would get hit with a destruction of pack penalty, but usually it would work out for her and proving that there are things that are worth the penalty.
Now Cincy is out to a 5-1 start and in the midst of a five-game win streak. They are playing as a unit and really starting to find some magic. Do they have weaknesses? Yes. Are they working to fix them? Definitely. They have figured out what their game plan is; now they just need to figure out what to do when it isn’t working. This bout proved that they are making it work and learning something new about themselves every time they set foot on the flat track.
The opening bout of the night saw members of the Flock Ewes and Violent Lambs don black and white shirts, change their names, and take each other on in a 60-minute game that pitted Heroes against Villains. Honestly, I really hope that Hot Slice permanently changes her name to “Boxcutter.” Pride was on the line in this one and the two one night only teams tore into each other without remorse. When the dust settled, the Villains won because as Darth Helmet said in Spaceballs, “evil will always triumph because good is dumb.” He said that ladies; I didn’t. I think you are all talented athletes and really don’t want you hip checking me and using me as your own short, fat man piñata.
Unfortunately, like any great comic book saga, there was a very sad moment during the night. Truxtal, who was playing in her first game in the historic Cincinnati Gardens, broke her ankle when she got caught up in a sea of skaters. To add insult to injury, this was her first home game back since she was out all of last season recovering from surgery on her left hip. I thought they broke the mold when Hannah Barbaric was carved out of dried leather and coffin nails, but apparently Trux was made from the same one. She took the pain like few athletes I have ever seen and was escorted out of the arena to a warrior’s welcome. Will she be back? I think so. She definitely has that get knocked down seven times, get up eight attitude and I can’t wait to see her on the flat track again sooner then later. Godspeed to your healing process, Trux, and we can’t wait to see you back on the flat track.
With two games left at home, CRG is going international and taking on two Canadian teams. First up is Toronto, who come to the Gardens with a very deceptive 4-5 record. They have been taking on some of the best competition that the North Central has to offer and lost to Ohio by less then 50 points recently at Quad City Chaos. Join me next week for my full preview.
Cincinnati Black Sheep vs. Killamazoo Stats
K. Lethal – 140 (7.37 points per jam)
Wheezy – 126 (8.4 points per jam)
Sadistic Sadie – 56 (18.67 points per jam)
Doobie Trap – 47 (5.22 points per jam)
Rosie Furocious – 47 (6.71 points per jam)
Heckler – 44 (4.4 points per jam)
TOP BLOCKERS (based on combined offensive/defensive actions)
Buckhead Betty – 4
Penn Tupanga – 2
Sailor Scary – 2
Neva – 11
Javelin – 8
Jessie Girl – 7
Black Sheep – 36
Killamazoo – 29
Cincinnati Heroes vs. Cincinnati Villains Stats
I, Caramba! – 70 (6.36 points per jam)
Sista Shovechild – 64 (4 points per jam)
Bombtrack – 61 (7.63 points per jam)
Ruthless Chris – 191 (10.05 points per jam)
Hot Slice – 74 (6.17 points per jam)
TOP BLOCKERS (based on combined offensive/defensive actions)
Big Ugly – 7
Bombtrack – 3
Juwana Hurt – 8
Cherry Choke – 6
La Bruja – 6
Annie Tomical – 6
Heroes – 33
Villains – 34