Deuel and Lee go undefeated to win 22nd Annual Four Bears Classic

Corey Deuel


Corey Deuel stopped a seven-match, loss-side streak by Hui Chan Lu to win the Men's event, while Jeannette Lee, a little later, had to get by Nicole Keeney twice, and in the process, lend new meaning to the term "playing lights out" on her way to the championship. Both were winners in the 22nd Annual Four Bears Classic, a $16,500-added (total) pair of 8-ball tournaments for Men and the Ladies from April 18-21 at the Four Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, ND.

The long weekend actually began on Wednesday, April 17, when pro player Melissa Little sponsored a pool clinic for a local Boys/Girls club, at which 50 youngsters were given a pool cue and case by the Four Bears Casino Lodge. On Thursday night, events got officially under way with a $2,000-added, 9-ball tournament that was won by Joey Gray

The main event Men's and Ladies 8-ball tournaments, which began on Friday night, drew 164 and 55 entrants, respectively. Both were triple elimination tournaments, at which competitors on both sides of the bracket, were re-drawn and set up for a new double elimination tournament. The men re-drew when the field had narrowed down to 16 on each side of the bracket. The women did so with eight on each side of the bracket.

Advancing among the winners' side final four in the men's event were Shane Van Boening, Bart Good, Mark Haddad (who finished second in last year's tournament, won by Jesse Engel) and Deuel. Van Boening and Deuel advanced to the hot seat match with identical 6-1 victories over Good and Haddad, respectively. Deuel battled Van Boening for the hot seat and came out on top 6-3.

Van Boening would not make it back for a second chance against Deuel. Instead, Deuel would be challenged by Hui Chan Lu, who'd been sent west by Good, and embarked on the seven-match, loss-side streak that put him into the finals. The streak included victories over Shane Manolo and the Thursday night, 9-Ball winner, Joey Gray, which set Chan up to face Haddad. Good drew Stan Tourangeau, who'd eliminated Chip Compton and Danny Olson.

Lu and Tourangeau met in the quarterfinals once Lu had downed Haddad 6-2 and Tourangeau bested Good 6-3. Lu chalked up his sixth straight with a double hill win over Tourangeau and then finished Van Boening's weekend with a 6-3 win in the semifinals. Deuel, though, stopped Lu's bid for the title with a 6-3 win.

Had it not been for Jeanette Lee, the finals of the Ladies event might have been a carbon copy of last year's finals, in which Melissa Little and Nicole Keeney battled. This year, with Lee in the hot seat, Little and Keeney squared off in the semifinals. Lee had defeated Keeney in the battle for the hot seat 5-3, once Lee had sent Sam Matuska west and Keeney had defeated Lisa McNab.

Little, having been sent to the loss side by Lee when they were among the final eight winners, had defeated Rachel Nadue and Joanne Jacobs to pick up McNab. Matuska drew Joelle Bearstall, who'd gotten by Rene Benton and Julie Brunelle. Little and Mutuska advanced to the quarterfinals, where Little prevailed 6-1, setting up last year's final scenario in this year's semifinals. The result was the same, almost to the score. Keeney had downed Little 5-3 in last year's finals and ended her Four Bears Classic bid this year 5-2 in the semifinals.

About midway through the final match between Lee and Keeney, the lights went out. Emergency lighting stopped the scene from being a visual blackout (The Big Truck Show kept broadcasting), but the conditions stopped play. When play resumed about half an hour later, Lee ended Keeney's bid to win the Classic for the second year in a row with a 5-2 victory.

In the no-scores-kept Thursday night 9-ball tournament, Joey Gray was in the hot seat, having sent Chip Compton to the semifinals. Compton moved over to face the man he'd sent to the loss side from among the winners' side final four, Warren Kiamco. Kiamco had just defeated Jeanette Lee in the quarterfinals, and wreaked his vengeance on Compton, setting up the final against Gray. Gray prevailed 6-4 to take the title.

Tour director Ray Poitra thanked the staff and crew at the Four Bears Casino & Lodge, including  general manager Pat Packineau, Spencer Wilkinson, and Scott Wilson, as well as Trustland, Inc, PoolActionTV (The Big Truck show, which streamed matches throughout the weekend), and us here at AZBilliards. 

1st Corey Deuel $4,500
2nd Lu Hui Chan $3,000
3rd Shane Van Boening $2,000
4th Joseph Tourangeau $1,000
5th Bart Good $750
Mark Haddad
7th Danny Olson $600
Joey Gray
9th Clayton Enno $500
Shane Manolo
Chip Compton
13th Warren Kiamco $400
Tom Stevenson
17th Dan Louie $350
25th Joey Aguzin $300
Allen Witmayer
Brent Hansen
Mark Oleslager

1st Jeanette Lee $1,500
2nd Nicole Keeney $1,000
3rd Melissa Little $750
4th Sam Matuska $600
5th Lisa McNab $500
Joelle Bearstall
7th Joanne Jacobs $400
Julie Brunelle
9th Rachel Nadue $300
Rene Benton 
13th Tammy Haugen $200

9-Ball (Thursday)
1st Joey Gray $1,100
2nd Warren Kiamco $730
3rd Chip Compton $520
4th Jeanette Lee $370
5th Rory Hendrickson $310
Joseph Tourangeau
7th Jeff Nadeau $260
Mark Haddad
9th Shane Van Boening $180
George Breedlove
Tom Stevenson
13th Dean Flanders $160
Eric Durbin