Photo by Jason Drukee
With only three jams of the bout played, the Railway Banditas were up by 20 points. It was looking pretty bad for the Hilltop Aces for the majority of the first half. The two teams seemed to be rotating through several different jammers at first, then once it started to get more competitive both teams focused on using their main jammers. The Aces really only had one jammer scoring the majority of their points, Clam Jammer #212. Over 25 of the points could be attributed to her, while the other jammers had less than ten points each to their names. The Railway Banditas had two really successful jammers in the first half, Zelda Cruz #7 and D-Vine #31. Zelda scored at least 20 points and D-Vine had over 35 points. The Aces were pretty lucky that they were only down by 13 points at the middle of the bout because they made some major mistakes in the first half. In two of the jams that the Aces had the lead jammer, they let the Banditas score eight points. The Aces also had six power jams in their favor and only scored 22 points with them, while the Banditas had only three power jams in their favor and scored 31 points with them. The Aces just could not take advantage of the changing dynamics of the game. Towards the end of the first half, the Hilltop Aces started to block the jammers from the Railway Banditas well enough to earn a couple points each jam to close the large gap to a slightly smaller one. The Aces were celebrating during half time even though they were still behind, but their confidence served them well through the rest of the bout and seemed to discourage the Railway Banditas.
The most confident of all the players was Clam Jammer #212, she scored at least 40 points for the Aces in the second half. Although she was the lead scorer overall, D-Vine #31 was by far the most effective skater. She maneuvered with ease and planned her paths well while being flexible; she adapted to the changing positions of other players on the track. The Aces recognized this and prevented her from scoring in the second half. They effectively reduced D-Vine’s points from 37 in the first half to 17 in the second half, while increasing the points Clam Jammer scored from 26 to 40. This really made all the difference for the Aces. The other lead scorer on the Railway Banditas, Zelda Cruz #7, did a really great job at opposing the Aces defense. Her scores in the first and second halves were consistent, at about 20 points. Lady Octane #7 was another lead scorer of the Aces, but she was a much more conservative player than Clam Jammer. Octane obtained lead jammer status with ease the majority of the jams she played in, but balanced scoring points for the Aces with preventing the Banditas to score as well. Whenever she was lead jammer and the Banditas also had a jammer on a scoring run, she’d call the jam off. This allowed her to control the jams, making them somewhat shorter on average. Then, because they have to switch jammers between every jam, Clam Jammer would be in the game again. This gave their top scorer more time on the track and less time on the bench.
The Hilltop Aces made some major mistakes in the first half of the bout. They let the Banditas get a large lead at the beginning, they didn’t take advantage of their power jams, and they only had one jammer that scored most of their points. Between halves they assessed what mistakes they had made, focused on them, and played differently during the second half to avoid repeating said mistakes. The Railway Banditas were up in points, lost confidence and became frustrated, and couldn’t score enough to hold onto their lead. The bout ended 151 to 114 in favor of the Aces. The Hilltop Aces went from being behind 13 points to being ahead 37 points. The ladies of the Aces had enough confidence to know they could turn the game around and the Railway Banditas had enough of a lead in the first half to think the Aces wouldn’t catch up. Roller derby bouts can turn around within a number of minutes and it really is anyone’s game until the last jam is over.