LAS VEGAS — It took three attempts and a dagger from Canadian skip John Morris in the final round of skins play to finally win it for Team North America at the 2016 Continental Cup.
Team North America was leading 29.5-26 in the race to 30.5 points on Sunday evening and needed Eve Muirhead to miss on her final shot against Canada’s Jennifer Jones for the title. Instead, the Scottish veteran made her final shot to put one more point on the board for Team World.
Then, on Sheet B, Canada’s Kevin Koe had a difficult raise takeout that would have won the game, and the title, against Team World’s Niklas Edin. He missed, forcing a carry-over and leaving the 2.5 available points up for grabs, to be decided in a post-game draw to the button.
Finally, on Sheet C, in the mixed skins game, Morris would deliver the blow his team needed, making a board-weight inturn takeout to beat Torger Nergard’s team 3-2 and set off a Team North America celebration.
"I’ve never been a part of something like that, a championship that was so close," said Morris, whose mixed team was rounded out by third Allison Pottinger, second Nolan Thiessen and lead Natalie Nicholson.
"It was pretty electric in there, pretty cool to be a part of."
The Morris shot gave Team North America 30.5 points, the exact total needed to win the event.
At one point, Team North America trailed 14-10 in the overall standings before fighting back to tie the championship at 22.5 apiece going into the final draw Sunday night.
The anti-climactic shot-to-the-button between Koe and Edin was held after the Team North America celebration, and Edin covered the pin to bring Team World’s final total to 29.5 points, leaving a one-point victory margin for the hosts — easily the closest in the 12-year history of the Continental Cup.
It marked the fourth straight loss for Team World, although it was a far closer championship than the past three lopsided affairs.
"It’s a little like kissing your sister, but congratulations to Team North America," said Team World captain Andy Kapp. "They just made a few more shots at the end. We were close this year, we’re looking forward to next year."
For Jones and her teammates second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, it was their record sixth Continental Cup title.
"I’m so proud of Team North America," said Jones. "We got behind a couple days ago, and we just pulled up our socks and here we are."
Team North America won $52,000 while the World team earned $26,000 for the Continental Cup championship. Team North America also claimed a $13,000 bonus for taking the most points out of the six skins games.