Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Gorge Roller Girls won last Saturday night.
The Gorge Roller Girls hosted the Southern Oregon Rollergirls of Medford Saturday night at Hood River Valley High School in a hard-hitting and action-packed bout that brought the hundreds of fans in the bleachers to their feet for a standing ovation after it was over.
Led offensively by high-scorers Ophelia Fury (79 points) and Ginger Binger Danger Hips and defensively by Ophelia Fury and Maytag — voted MVP and Best Blocker for the night — the Gorge Roller Girls overcame a 58-69 deficit at halftime to take the win 183-136. A victory lap for the team and a round of high fives from the audience was the reward for the many months’ worth of hard work it took for the fledgling team to be ready to compete in its first official bout.
“This was by far the hardest-hitting game that the GRG All Stars have played yet,” said the team’s coach, Shannon Burns, aka Yo-Duh. “Southern Oregon came ready to play and determined to win. It showed in every action they made on the track.”
Unlike the team’s first-ever home bout last month that pitted The Cherry Bombers and the River Reapers — both made up of GRG players — against one another in an exhibition contest, Saturday’s opposition was out for bruises and blood, as was evident in the steady beat of bodies and hard plastic pads hitting the gym floor.
Gorge Roller Girls win
Gorge Roller Girls: 183
Medford Rollergirls: 136
GRG Team honors:
MVP – Ophelia Fury
Best Jammer – Wreck-Less
Best Blocker – Maytag
High scorers for GRG:
Wreck-Less – 79 points
Ginger Binger – 57 points
A tough first half saw the Medford squad take advantage of its experience as a team and the GRG’s hesitation to play all-out. The Gorge team went into the locker room down by 11 points and came out like a freight train in the opening of the second half sparked by a four-pass scoring streak from Wreck-Less, who was later voted the GRG’s best jammer by the opposing team.
“I think what changed for us in the second half was the fact that we stayed focused on the game, focused on the basic fundamentals that we have been working on and didn’t let the stress of the scoreboard bother or mess with what we were doing on the track,” Yo-Duh said. “When the jammers scored big, it was not because they were doing something any more amazing than they did the jam before; it was because the blockers were able to hold the jammer for the other team long enough to let our jammer work some magic.”
Also receiving nods from the Medford team were Ophelia Fury, voted MVP and Maytag voted best blocker. Although jammers tend to be the focus of attention, action in the pack to block and clear space for jammers was where the hardest-hitting action took place.
“I am so proud to be a Gorge Roller Girl, skating beside this incredible group of women,”Ophelia Fury commented. “We are inexperienced, but always skate as one unit and have more heart than any of our opponents; that's why we win. It felt incredible to hear hundreds of local fans cheering for us and embracing this awesome sport.”
The GRG’s next bout will be 6 p.m., May 11 at HRVHS and will be between the River Reapers and the Cherry Bombers. For tickets or more information visit www.gorgerollergirls.com. Volunteers are being recruited to help with the bout and the league.
To inquire firstname.lastname@example.org.