A Sudbury Curling Club NOCA Bantam Championship sweep was simply not meant to be.
While the girls rink of Kira Brunton (skip), Kate Sherry (vice), Sydnie Stinson (second) and Jessica Leonard (lead) showed the way from start to finish, the bantam boys foursome of Max Cull (skip), Nicholas Bissonnette (vice), Shane Robinson (second) and Ryan Laforest (lead) simply ran into a red-hot team at the worst possible time.
Team Brunton looked awfully impressive in Sault Ste Marie last week, posting seven straight wins to secure top spot in the standings, earning a berth directly in the finals.
The SCC crew then took full advantage of the additional rest time, picking up win number eight in the gold medal game by beating Cassidy Romyn from Sioux Lookout 6-4.
The Brunton quartet reeled off victories over Rebecca Ramsay (Horne Granite - 13-1), Jamie Smith (Community First - SSM - 8-3), Anika Beaudry (Fort Frances - 9-1), Bella Croisier (Idylwylde - 7-3), Tiana Gaudry (Port Arthur - 7-6), Julia Horton (Copper Cliff - 7-5) and 8-4 over Romyn, before taking down the same opponent the very next day, with much more on the line.
Meanwhile, Cull and company looked nearly as good out of the gate, starting the week with four straight wins: 5-1 over Aaron Soulliere (Thessalon), 9-4 over D.J. Edwards (Horne Granite), 7-5 over Jonathon Vellinga (Kakabeka Falls) and 6-3 over Myles Harding (Fort William).
After dropping a 5-2 decision to Nicholas Lemieux of Sault Ste Marie in draw five, the local lads bounced back nicely, defeating both Felix Lasalle from Timmins (9-2), and Chris Silver of Fort Frances (7-3), also punching their ticket directly to the final.
A three-way tie in third at 4-3 forced a pair of tie-breakers, as Lemieux doubled Silver 6-3, but was eliminated early Sunday morning by Lasalle (6-2). The Timmins crew kept on rolling in the semi-finals, edging Vellinga 7-6, and completed their come-from-behind run with a 6-3 win over Team Cull.
As for the next step for the winning bantam rinks, this is where things become slightly more convoluted.
By virtue of their win in a best of three series back in late 2015 over Kayla MacMillan of Ottawa, Brunton and Sherry, along with aged-out bantam teammates Mikaela Cheslock and Emma Johnson, will travel to Edmonton at the end of this month to compete in the 2016 Optimist International U18 Championships.
They will be joined in Alberta by the Tanner Horgan squad that includes Jacob Horgan, Maxime Blais and Scott Foy.
The current Brunton bantam team (which includes Stinson and Leonard), will ostensibly enjoy the opportunity to earn that same Optimist berth some time late in 2016, as Ontario sends a single entry, forcing the NOCA champions to play a showdown against the Southern Ontario champion.