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Detroit Derby Girls: The Grudge Match

On May 19th, in the Grudge Match bout of the 2012 season, the D-Funk Allstars battled the Pistolwhippers for 3rd place. (Check out this summary of the rules if some of the short-hand references seem confusing)

These two teams played each other in bout 6 of the regular season, with the Pistolwhippers winning 100-72. That bout was highly defensive, with neither team making huge scoring runs. They both entered the grudge match with a 2-2 record.

The 1st jam went the Pistolwhippers' way. Meli Ali achieved a grand-slam jamming for the 'Whippers by lapping D-Funk's Tinja, and scored 6 points to Tinja's 1. Tinja garnered the first lead change of the night in the 4th jam, when she scored 5, and put D-Funk ahead 10-9.

Lazer Beam scored 4 for the 'Whippers in the 6th for another lead change, 13-10. This was followed by Ally Sin Shoverland scoring 8 for D-Funk in the 7th, causing (you guessed it...) another lead change. D-Funk held onto this lead until the 18th jam, when Honey Suckit scored 8 unanswered points, putting the 'Whippers ahead 36-35. D-Funk took that lead right back in the 19th, when Fatal Femme scored 4 unanswered points, making the score 39-36. In the 22nd and last jam of the first half, Honey Suckit scored 4, allowing her team to head to the locker room with a 42-39 lead.

The second half started with another immediate lead change. Ally Sin Shoverland made a grand-slam and scored 5 for D-Funk. The 2nd jam was the most explosive of the whole bout. Tinja gets sent to the penalty box early in the jam just after gaining lead jammer status, leaving D-Funk without a jammer for a full minute. In that time Lazer Beam made a double grand-slam and scored 15 points. After Tinja got out of the box she played as hard as she could with the time remaining. She scored a grand-slam of her own, and 8 points. The 'Whippers were ahead again, 57-52.

The 'Whippers held onto the lead until the 7th jam. Black Eyed Skeez scored 5 for D-Funk, making the score 63-62. The 'Whippers took the lead back again in the 9th with a 4 point performance from Meli Ali.

The tenth jam showcased the Pistolwhippers' defense at its finest. Their jammer Lazer Beam went to the penalty box, leaving Tinja to jam for D-Funk unnopposed. The Pistolwhippers' wall formation was airtight, and Tinja couldn't sneak through.

The 13th jam had another lead change in D-Funk's favor, with a 2 point play by Ally Sin Shoverland. While it seemed like just another lead change by way of a small scoring increment, it was the beginning of a big momentum shift. It was the start of 4 jam shut-out against the Pistolwhippers. In the 14th jam Tinja scored a grand-slam and 10 points. Black Eyed Skeez scored another 5 in the 15th, as Meli Ali watched from the penalty box. Meli was still serving out her sentence at the start of the 16th jam, where Polly Fester would add another 9 to the D-Funk's score. This hot streak put them ahead 94-68.

Lazer Beam broke the scoreless streak in the 17th jam with 6 points. She had to do that without much help from her team, because at one point in that jam 3 blockers from the 'Whippers were in the penalty box.

In the 19th jam Tinja had lead jammer status, and the second the game clock wound down, she employed her perogative to end the jam, thereby also ending the game. D-Funk secured a 3rd place finish for the season with a 104-75 victory. Ally Sin Shoverland was awarded MVP of the bout. While there is only one founding player still remaining on the Pistolwhippers (Diesel Doll), the team still seems so similar to how they've been through-out the history of the league. Stand-out plays from individual offensive and defensive phenoms, yet often being undone when their jammers go to the penalty box.

Captain Lazer Beam, and Co-Captain Diesel Doll of the Pistolwhippers:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your initial thoughts on the bout?
Lazer Beam: We fought hard. I'm disappointed that we didn't win, but we went in, said "We'll take third. If not, we'll get a better draft pick for next season". Next season is the Pistolwhippers' season, we're going all the way.
Diesel Doll: I think our girls played really hard. Lots of hard hits out there. D-Funk definitely came out hitting, but we brought it too.
Detroit Area Dork: Did you have penalty trouble at the end? [Lazer], you went to the box yourself a lot.
Lazer Beam: Yes we did. I went three times this bout. Normally if I go, I go about once. Yeah, we had penalty troubles. We went into the second half penalty heavy. We talked about it at halftime and we just couldn't get it under control.
Diesel Doll: I agree with that.
Detroit Area Dork: What happened in the second half? You guys kind of lost momentum.
Lazer Beam: We messed with our rotation a little bit. We normally skate with six lines, we skated with five lines this bout. So girls were skating more than normal, and it's hot in here. We've always had penalty troubles, so that's no big surprise.
Diesel Doll: I think it's incredibly hot in here, and I think the spirit was there, but we just couldn't deliver it at the end. We were getting tired and separated, and our walls kind of fell apart at the end too.
Detroit Area Dork: What did D-Funk do to pull ahead in the second half?
Lazer Beam: They didn't go to the box as much as us. They recycled very well, and their jammers fought and got through.
Diesel Doll: I think they have a deeper bench than we do. They have a couple more players they can throw in there on the fly. They just played awesome.
Lazer Beam: They have fifteen returning skaters, we have seven. Even in the first half our jammers had penalty troubles. At on point in the first half, all of our people in the jammer rotation had three minors. So we were playing blockers to jam that don't normally jam.
Detroit Area Dork: How many players did you have out this game?
Lazer Beam: We had Tara To Pieces, who is one of our primary jammers, and we had Vera Toss, who is an excellent blocker. She snapped her leg in half, so she was out. We were out two players this bout that skate a lot when we play. Not that it's an excuse. They're not our whole team. I'm not taking anything away from D-Funk.
Detroit Area Dork: What will you be looking for in the draft?
Lazer Beam: Big. (laughs) Big girls. We're the smallest team, we definitely need some weight. So if they can hit hard, they're bigger than us, they're stable on their skates, they're going to be a 'Whipper.
Diesel Doll: A lot of athleticism and determination too, and dedication is what we're looking for. I think we have some really strong jammers on our team. Some of them are up and coming still. We need more blockers, to build some big-ass walls.

Co-Captain Mad Hatcher of the D-Funk Allstars:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your initial thoughts?
Mad Hatcher: I feel like we made a real effort this game to give more equal playing time to all of our players, and to just go out with a bang with everybody feeling they contributed on the track. We also happened to win at the same time, so it was really exciting.
Detroit Area Dork: Do you feel vindicated after losing to this team during the regular season?
Mad Hatcher: It's funny, we didn't go into this game with any kind of revenge notion. We felt like we worked really hard this season, and we just wanted to end feeling good about the work we did together as a team, and not so much focus on what they were doing, but just focus on what we were doing together.
Detroit Area Dork: You ended the first half down a few points, but you won by nearly 30 points. What did you change inthe second half?
Mad Hatcher: We talked about a few things. There were a few blockers on the opposing team that were doing a lot of work on our jammers, keeping them behind, so we wanted to ramp up our offensive help for our jammers. We appointed a few more people to be playing offense. We also encourage our jammers to fight a little bit harder out of their walls, even if they didn't have offensive help, and take advantage of the times that they were down on penalties. We noticed going into the second half that there were a number of blockers on their team that had 3 [minor] penalties, and they might go to the box. We wanted to watch for that, and take advanted of it.
Detroit Area Dork: Did you learn a lot from the regular season game against the Pistolwhippers?
Mad Hatcher: Absolutely. We knew their style of playing, we knew what they were going to do, we knew how they were going to attack our walls. We've been practicing a lot of that in our drills, about how to combat those particular players, and their particular strategies.
Detroit Area Dork: What are you going to be looking for in the draft?
Mad Hatcher: Yeah, that's really interesting. I think we're just going to have to assess, and see what players, if any, are going to retire, and what kind of gaps we'll have. D-Funk always looks for people that have a lot of heart, and a lot of positive energy, because we know we can train and mentor them into a lot of different positions. We try to train everybody to play everything, so it's really someone who has the attitude and the drive.

All photos by Scott Lipiec

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I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera