After all, both of the talented teenagers had returned to Sudbury, not all that long ago, after representing the Northern Ontario Jr. men's and ladies teams at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Championships.
In fact, both skips managed to guide their teams to victory on Wednesday, though the outcome remained in doubt in both games, right through to the final stone. Marymount went to extra ends to edge Lo-Ellen 6-5, while Lockerby took the boys title, scoring twice in the eighth end in registering a 7-5 win over the Collège Notre-Dame A team.
On the girls side of the draw, the Regals and Knights emerged as the top two with convincing semifinal victories, as Marymount thumped Lasalle 14-1 while Lo-Ellen outscored Sacré-Coeur 12-2.
The Knights derailed the Regals bid for a city championship in 2013, upsetting the front-runners 6-5 in semifinal play. This matchup proved equally as close, with plenty of great shot-making, most notably from skips Krysta Burns and Megan Smith.
Tied at 1-1 in the third end, Burns calmly drew for one while facing three opposing stones, building on that momentum for a steal of one in the fourth end. A great raise by Smith in the fifth narrowed the gap to just one at 3-2, but a counter of two in the sixth from Marymount appeared to put the defending NOSSA champions in complete control at 5-2.
Lo-Ellen was limited to just one point in the seventh end, with last shot, forcing some late-game dramatics. Though Burns eventually walked away with the SDSSAA banner, Smith can take some consolation in making the shot of the day, executing an angled double raise with her final stone in end No. 8, bringing the gallery crowd to their feet, scoring two and forcing an extra end.
"It was very do-able, I thought," said Smith. "If I can visualize it, then I know I can make it. You gotta go in the hack, line up properly, think about the weight and then slide out and don’t think about anything."
Though the momentum seemed to favour Lo-Ellen heading to extra ends, last rock advantage and big-game experience tilted towards Burns and company. Burying a rock behind a boatload of cover early in the end, Marymount gave Smith very little to work with, with Burns able to bypass her final shot.
It was a somewhat similar story on the boys side as the upstart CND rink skipped by Mark Robinson kept things close throughout, before Horgan pulled away with a deuce in the eighth and final end.
Lockerby sandwiched two points between blanked ends in the first and third, with the Alouettes deadlocking the contest at 2-2, scoring a pair of their own in the fourth. A three-spot by Horgan allowed the Grade 10 Viking to take control, but only for a while, as Notre-Dame scored two with the hammer in six, and stole one in the seventh.
Again, it was big-game experience that won out in the end, with Lockerby looking very much at ease coming home. The Vikings lineup was shuffled again this year, with Kira Brunton joining the squad as vice at the behest of Horgan, longtime friends from the competitive curling scene.
"Tanner really helps me improve my skills with the girls," acknowledged Brunton after the game. "These guys throw a lot more weight than what I am used to, and I've been throwing a lot more takeouts with Tanner than I do with my (competitive) team."
Not looking the least bit uncomfortable on the ice with the Lockerby crew throughout the season, Brunton will be facing boyfriend Nick Servant and his Superior Heights team from Sault Ste. Marie at NOSSA playdowns next Monday and Tuesday in Mattawa.
Servant, of course, is also the vice for Horgan's bantam team that surprised many by winning the Northern Ontario Junior Men's crown back in early December. The winners in Mattawa will advance to the OFSAA Championships from March 19-22, with the girls heading to Brampton while the boys don't have to travel nearly as far, competing at the North Bay Granite Club.
All four city finalists have earned the right to compete at NOSSA, with Sudbury and area rewarded with two berths. Team rosters for the SDSSA representatives are as follows:
Marymount Regals (Krista Burns, Monica Graham, Cynthia Furlotte, Kayla Nickson, Kaylyn Collin and coach Brenda Thompson)
Lo-Ellen Park Knights (Megan Smith, Gilian Giroux, Courtney McCracken, Samantha Gibson and co-coaches Karen Luczak and Ryan Lafraniere)
Lockerby Vikings (Tanner Horgan, Kira Brunton, Patrick Huska, Ethan Urban, Zane Guttwillinger and coach Gerry Horgan)
College Notre-Dame Alouettes (Mark Robinson, Philippe Gareau, Nicholas Bissonette, Chad Savard, Mathieu Girouard, Sean Rochon and coach Denis Rochon)
Following is a breakdown of all scores from the city championships:
Sacré-Coeur 6 Macdonald-Cartier 4
Lasalle 8 Notre-Dame 3
Marymount 14 Lasalle 1
Lo-Ellen 12 Sacré-Coeur 2
Championship FinalMarymount 6 Lo-Ellen 5
Notre-Dame "A" 13 St Charles "B" 6
Lo-Ellen 9 Notre-Dame "B" 7
Lockerby 9 Lo-Ellen 4
Notre-Dame "A" 7 St Charles "A" 6 (extra end)
Championship FinalLockerby 7 Notre-Dame "A" 5