Lizard wins Arizona State Barbox 10-Ball Title

Steve Smith and Terry Osborne

A field of 48 players made their way to Alexanders Sports Bar in Phoenix for the 5th stop on the Arizona State All Around Tour – The Arizona State Barbox 10-Ball Championship. The field was packed with top barbox talent from all over Arizona including State Barbox 8-Ball Champion Doug Hale, State Barbox 9-Ball Champion Mike Pankoff, defending All Around Champion Tony Confalone as well notables such as Terry Osborne, Tres Kane and Jimmy Mendoza. The field also included four female players; multiple time Az State Champion Angel Paglia, former AWBT president Susan Williams, one of the most feared female bar box players in the state Justine Karber and All Around Tour regular Mindy Crase.

Since Mike Pankoff had won the last all around event at Alexanders, a bounty was announced for the player who could knock him out of the tournament. Tres Kane got first shot at Pankoff on the winners side and it looked like a quick victory for Pankoff as he took complete control and raced to an 8-2 lead. They say the first and last games are the hardest to win and Pankoff found that to be true as Tres rattled off seven games and sent Mike packing to the one-loss side with a 9-8 win.

Pankoff was quickly joined on the one-loss side by “the Hale Storm” Doug Hale, courtesy of a fearless Troy Ridder. The two players waged an all-out war that ended up knotted at 9-9. As has happened so many times in the past, Hale came with a little extra when it counted and maneuvered his way through the rack to leave himself perfect on the final ball. Maybe he was too perfect as he took the shot for advantage and jarred it. He wouldn’t get a second chance as Ridder took complete advantage of the unexpected reprieve.

With these two champions on the one-loss side, it was anyone’s guess who would end the tournament on the winners side. The final two players on the winners side were a player fans are very familiar with and a player that only the old timers really knew well. Terry Osborne, who has won more major events in the state than most people have played in, faced off against partime Arizona resident Steve ‘The Lizard’ Smith. If anyone is unfamiliar with The Lizard’s ability on the table, just take a look at his undefeated path through the winners side: Jose Gonzales, Chris Bradford, Tony Confalone and Jimmy Mendoza. The Lizard wasn’t done though, as he took on Osborne for the hot-seat. Osborne drew first blood and held an early 2-0 lead. That didn’t last as Smith took control and reminded all on-lookers just how easy the game can look when it is played by someone with his level of talent.

Osborne took a short trip to the one-loss side where he showed that the loss to Smith had done nothing to his own game. Osborne made quick work of Doug Hale to earn another shot at Smith in the finals.

Unfortunately for Osborne, the extended one race finals were more of the same thing he dealt with in the first match with Smith. Smith ran out from everywhere and made it look effortless. On this day, we would have been hard pressed to find anyone in the state who could have stopped Smith from his march to first place. The runner up finish for Osborne, his second in straight events, was enough to propel him into first place on the All Around points list.

Complete Results:
1st Steve Smith $1535
2nd Terry Osborne $710
3rd Doug Hale $455
4th Jimmy Mendoza $310
5th/6th Justin Whitehead, Dennis Orender $200
7th/8th Tony Confalone, Chris Adams $150
9th/12th Mike Williams, Evans Bishop, Tres Kane, Sean Brooks