LONDON -- It's not the same as winning the Olympic Trials, but Kelly Scott and her B.C. foursome gladly will take their victory in the Scott Tournament of Hearts.
Scott's Kelowna team, which finished second two months ago in the Trials won by Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink, won the Scott championship yesterday, beating defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg 8-6 in front of a packed crowd of 6,674 at the Labatt Centre.
"We are so privileged to be in the red and white finally," the 29-year-old Scott said. The world championship begins March 18 in Grand Prairie, Alta.
The Scott celebrated its 25th anniversary of sponsoring the tournament, which will be re-branded next year because Scott Paper Ltd. has been sold.
The final pitted two former teammates. Scott is a native Winnipegger, who in 1995 became the national champion a year after Jones did it.
"There's a little bit of a pattern developing here, which is good for curling," Scott said.
Scott appeared headed to an easy win after leading 7-3 after seven ends when Jones missed a hit and stick for two points and surrendered a steal of one. It was one of five shots in the game she claimed her team was victimized by on-ice debris.
Jones rebounded to score two in the eighth end to cut Scott's lead in half, and then counted one in the ninth to lessen the gap to one point.
Successive misses by B.C., which decided to draw into the house instead of removing centre guards, put Team Canada into a position to tie or take the lead. Jones attempted an angle raise tapback on her shot buried in the button, but missed by inches. Scott chose not to make a play on the shot stone and go up by one with the hammer in the 10th end.
Jones appeared in good position to tie the game when Scott flashed on her first shot, missing the shot stone two-thirds buried in the eight-foot. With her last shot, Jones tried to draw into the four-foot behind the centre guard, but her rock picked up debris shortly after the release and barely crossed the hog line.
With a second try at the shot stone, Scott merely needed to remove it and made good, while her shooter stuck around.
"I had a bit of a practice shot on my first one," Scott joked.
"It was the exact same shot and I could trust that it would run straight, whereas earlier in the game we were getting a bit of curl. We had great brushing on the last rock to hold it.
"It was dicey. It was a sloppy game out there, it could have gone either way. Hey, we had the luck two months later. It's a little bit surreal right now to tell you the truth. It's pretty wild."
The dethroned champ lamented lost opportunities, including her last shot.
"If you get another one in there it puts a lot of pressure on her to make a good draw and the ice was getting a little frosty," she said. "It's really unfortunate. You don't want to lose a game that way, but she made a great shot to win."