The first turning point of the game happened in the third end when Geall missed on his final attempt, allowing Cotter to steal one for a 2-0 lead.However, had Geall made that attempt, the rink would have scored four.“I think a quarter inch less curl and we would have scored four,” Geall lamented.“It was one of those situation in the game where we just came out on the wrong end of it.”The second turning point occurred in the eighth end when Geall again had the opportunity to steal a point after closing the gap to 4-3 with a deuce in the seventh.This time, however, Geall’s final stone was a bit heavy allowing Cotter to pull off the double takeout to score three and grab a 7-3 lead.“They had us in trouble there in the third end and if Sean makes that it could have been a different game . . . and he wasn’t far off,” Griffith explained.“He was only maybe an inch away from making that shot. But fortunately we got a couple of breaks — his rock came a little heavy in eight, and left Jimmy a great opportunity to score three.”Cotter & Company now have a few weeks off to prepare for Ottawa March 5-13.Griffith said the rink will return to a bit of normalcy, work and family life, but will be back on the rink training to represent BC in at the Tim Horton’s Brier.Which Geall believes the rink will do just fine.“They’re a classy bunch,” said Geall, who was at the Brier representing BC in 2009.“They’re a heck of a good team . . . they do a lot of things right and they’ll compete hard in a couple of weeks.”EXTRA END: Of course in any major event there are a few hiccups along with way. Saturday night, when Sportsnet was setting up to televise the final two game Sunday, a manlift used to install new glass in the lounge area, caused a huge crack in the ice. Icemakers worked until 5 a.m. Sunday morning to make sure the ice was ready for the final two games. . . .The final two games saw the best crowds of the week as curling fans from throughout the West Kootenay turned out to watch the best in BC.Story originate at The Nelson Daily There are going to be a lot of familiar faces at the 2016 Tim Horton’s Brier in Ottawa.And Jim Cotter is one of them.The Vernon skip reeled off six consecutive victories en route to his third consecutive BC Men’s title at the 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance Curling Championships Sunday night at the Nelson Curling Club.The clincher came in the final as Cotter, third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrell Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky defeated Sean Geall of New Westminster 7-6.“It feels great,” Cotter said following the victory. “I owe it all to my teammates. They are phenomenal guys who made a ton of shots, more shots than I made.”“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said second Tyrell Griffith.“We’ve been going through the process all week, but this feels phenomenal. Anytime you can win this event to go to represent your province is just amazing. And when that last rock hits that’s when you mind can kind of come off the game.”Sunday was the second time in as many days that Cotter had knocked off Geall, who advanced to the final by stopping Dean Joanisse of New Westminster 4-2 in the semi final earlier in the day.The Geall rink includes third Andrew Bilesky, Steve Kopf and lead Mark Olsen.Saturday, the score was 5-1 in favour of the Okanagan rink in the Page Playoff 1-2 contest after Cotter won the A event and Geall the B event.Sunday, Geall gave the defending champion all he could handle, coming within a few key shots of pulling off the upset.
Northwestern State has won seven straight times, the last three in the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, toppling No. 1 Lamar 61-60 in the semifinals and whipping No. 2 Stephen F. Austin 62-44 Sunday in Katy, Texas, to punch its first ticket to March Madness since 2004 and third all-time, along with four Women’s NIT appearances. “I think these young ladies will be prepared,” said Stoehr. “They will have the confidence to compete and execute and do whatever they have to do to go out and get a win. Postseason play will be brand new for nearly the entire Northwestern State team, but playing against a prime-time opponent is not. Their reaction was pure elation. The 16th-seeded, surprise Southland Conference Tournament champions (21-12) will square off against the Lady Vols (27-5) at 3 p.m. CST Saturday in fabled Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with the winner to meet the survivor of the 8-9 coastal pairing of St. John’s (22-10) and Southern California (22-12). Second-year co-head coaches Brooke and Scott Stoehr clapped and smiled broadly as their nearly 4-year-old daughter Aubrey happily waved a purple and white pom-pom in celebration, while team members exchanged high fives and hugs at Chili’s Restaurant, where Northwestern State fans filled every seat and open spaces to share the rather unexpected moment of triumph by a program that won just six games in the season before the Stoehrs arrived. “Scott and I have experienced an NCAA Tournament, but nobody else in our program has yet. It’s a unique experience, and an exciting one,” she said. “But we have played this season at Baylor, at Texas, at Arkansas, venues that have really good crowds and can be intimidating environments. We schedule like that for moments like this, when we do reach an NCAA Tournament, and I think that can help us not be overwhelmed.” “To watch our players see our name jump up there across that screen was a fun feeling and a great moment for them, one they’ll always remember, one we will always treasure,” said Brooke Stoehr, who played in four NCAA Tournaments as a point guard at Louisiana Tech. Their opponents have returned to their normal status among the game’s elite. Getting the chance to face off against the Lady Vols is a challenge embraced by the Stoehrs and their players. “Tennessee is one of the most storied programs in the history of women’s college basketball. For our team to experience that is a great opportunity,” said Brooke Stoehr. “Hopefully we’ll not be in too much awe of it, and we’ll come out relaxed, compete and play loose like we have the last three weeks.” While her team’s reaction to its tournament triumphs and postseason plans has been fun to experience, Stoehr has been gratified by what she’s seen and heard from fans, former players and legendary coaches like James Smith and Pat Nolen Pierson. “Those were good matchups to prepare us for this type challenge, to play on a stage like this. It’s a very exciting opportunity to compete against a great team, and a legendary program,” said Armstead. NATCHITOCHES, La. – When Northwestern State’s first-round NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament matchup against top-seeded Tennessee popped onto the television screen Monday evening at a packed house for the team’s watch party, there was no sign of trepidation from the upstart Lady Demons. The matchup was not a shock. The first-ever meeting between the programs was projected by ESPN’s “Bracketology” on Sunday. The Stoehrs’ second Northwestern State squad has restored the luster to one of the game’s more successful mid-major programs – one that ranks among the top 40 winningest in Division I history, and owns victories over Notre Dame, Duke, LSU, Louisville, Iowa, Texas A&M, LSU and many other high profile teams. Northwestern State, which had only one losing season in a 26-year span, ended a recent skid of four straight sub-.500 records by surpassing preseason projections of an eighth-place finish in the 14-team Southland Conference. “They’re going to be a difficult matchup, but we’re going to approach this the same way we went into the conference tournament, with a lot of determination and focus,” said Armstead. Senior forward Trudy Armstead, the Southland Tournament Most Valuable Player, echoed her coach. “It’s pretty darned great. The neatest thing for us is to see this community rally around our team, and support us. When you look back at the history of the program, the people who came before us, it’s almost for them,” said Stoehr. “When our players can feel like they’re part of that great tradition, that they’ve helped restore some of that, it’s pretty special. They’ll go down in this program’s history forever. Seeing their overjoyed expressions after all three games during the weekend was really, really neat.” After Monday night’s excitement, the Lady Demons’ staff will be developing a game plan and counting on their young team to continue its winning approach. “This team always does pretty well in an underdog role. Some of that is the personality they’ve adopted after being picked eighth in the league. We’ve told them since we’ve been here, we need to be playing our best, most complete basketball in March. We got better throughout the season and we have been able to meet that goal, to get to this point much earlier than anybody might have expected.”