For a while in the second half of Saturday’s Gotham Girls Roller Derby league bout between the Brooklyn Bombshells and the Bronx Gridlock at the Abe Stark Arena in Coney Island, the three-time champions from the Bronx looked like their old selves.
It wasn’t the scrappy but erratic 2012 version of the Gridlock anymore, but the team that had dominated the league for so long – one that would beat you down with technique and patience. Down 25 at halftime, they began chipping away at the lead – four points by rookie sensation and team MVP Slambda Phage here, three points from another newcomer, transfer 9KILLAMETER there.
By the time leading Bronx scorer Claire D. Way put a 14-0 jam on the board with a little over 14 minutes left, the Brooklyn lead was still 25, but there was a sense that the Gridlock were just waiting for a Bombshell mistake to erupt with a barrage of points that would send them back to the GGRD championship game in October for the sixth consecutive year.
But Brooklyn wouldn’t break. A time out not only allowed a drying of the often slippery track in the sweltering heat that filled the arena, but it gave the gals in blue a chance to recharge for their own final run. Two jams later, Phage was sent to the penalty box, giving Brooklyn a power jam that produced 13 points from their leading scorer, Score of Babylon, and a 126-92 advantage. That’s all they needed, as they cruised the rest of the way to a 150-101 victory.
The win propelled the defending champion Bombshells into their second straight title bout, this one taking place on October 6 against the currently unbeaten Manhattan Mayhem, who handed Brooklyn their only defeat of 2012, 147-134, on June 16. The title bout will be the first for Manhattan since 2009, and the first for the league since 2006 that will not have the Gridlock on the track.