They didn’t disappoint. Picking up where they left off after last July’s one-point thriller, the Brooklyn Bombshells and Manhattan Mayhem gave fans at John Jay College in New York City another instant classic last Saturday night, with the Bombshells kicking off their 2015 campaign with a 153–148 victory over the defending Gotham Girls Roller Derby league champions – their first win since August of 2013.
“2014 was definitely a struggle for Brooklyn, but we never give up, even at the end of a game we're losing, and we love playing together,” said Brooklyn MVP Hela Skelter. “Beating a really tough Manhattan team is a great way to start the season and we're so thrilled that our hard work has paid off.”
Hard work is the only recipe for success in this storied rivalry, with practically each meeting between the two a war of attrition. This one was no different, but each team went for the knockout early, Manhattan using a 24-point jam from team MVP J-Rod (59 points) to jump out to a 24-5 lead, only to be answered by the game’s leading scorer Miss Tea Maven (90 points), who put 18 points on the board to allow her team to pull within one.
The lead would change hands four times in the opening half, but after key Manhattan jammer Bruzin Brody was ejected for a misconduct foul midway through the first half, a 59–59 tie turned into a Brooklyn lead that continued to widen, with the Bombshells eventually taking a 99–78 advantage into the locker room.
Matters went even further south for the Mayhem in the second half, with injuries taking ROCKS! and All-Star skater Bonita Apple Bomb out of the lineup. Yet just when it appeared that Brooklyn was about to run away with the bout, Manhattan began chipping away at the Bombshells’ 130–97 lead, with a 19–0 jam from newcomer Rainbow Might putting a huge dent in Manhattan’s deficit.
“Having Brody get ejected and Bonita and ROCKS! out for the count gave us the opportunity to rally together and match Brooklyn's intensity, threatening their lead all while missing key players,” J-Rod said.
Now with Violet Knockout laying out the hits and Roxy Dallas quarterbacking from the pivot spot, the Mayhem went on a 13–2 run over the next three jams, making it 134–129 for Brooklyn. Six jams later, Manhattan veteran Em Dash raced through the Bombshell pack for 14 points, and just like that, the Mayhem had regained the lead, 148–137.
The miraculous comeback held for a while, but Hela, in her first game since a short-lived one-year retirement, blasted back as the seconds ticked away, with a 10–0 jam giving Brooklyn the lead that they never relinquished.
“The key to our victory was staying calm and collected and trusting each other on the track,” Hela said. “And our captains and managers were very smart about making adjustments to capitalize on what was working for us.”
In a short home season, every win counts, and though it’s only March, the Bombshells aren’t sitting back and celebrating. It’s on to the next one.
“We're already thinking ahead to our next game,” Hela said. “I'm confident that this is Brooklyn's year. We've got an incredible combination of experience, fresh skaters, and deep talent, and we just have so much fun playing together and being around each other. I have a really good feeling about this season. And now that we have a taste of victory again, nothing's going to stop the Bombshells.”
Except maybe Manhattan, a team undiscouraged by the rough start to their season.
“We knew going into this game that it would be a crowd pleaser,” J-Rod said. “Brooklyn is stronger than last year and we were ready to take on a worthy opponent. The season just started though, and Mayhem is ready to take another championship.”
BROOKLYN vs. MANHATTAN STATS
1 2 F
Brooklyn 99 54 153
Manhattan 78 70 148
Brooklyn MVP – Hela Skelter
Manhattan MVP – J-Rod
Leading Brooklyn Scorers:
Miss Tea Maven – 90 points (21 jams)
Hela Skelter – 34 points (8 jams)
Squid Vicious – 29 points (11 jams)
Leading Brooklyn Blockers:
Sexy Slaydie – 31 jams (+71)
ShadowboxHER – 22 jams (+1)
Lady Fingers – 21 jams (+2)
Leading Manhattan Scorers:
J-Rod – 59 points (15 jams)
Em Dash – 39 points (9 jams)
Cork Rebel – 24 points (11 jams)
Leading Manhattan Blockers:
Roxy Dallas – 33 jams (-9)
Violet Knockout – 30 jams (-27)
Sunshine Skate – 22 jams (+12)
Minutes in Box: 34
Jammer Box Trips: 6
Minutes in Box: 37
Jammer Box Trips: 10
Written by: Thomas Gerbasi