Pankoff wins State Championship One-Pocket event in AZ


As they have a tendency to do, the finals of the Desert Classic State Championship One-Pocket Tournament in Tempe, AZ, June 5-6, went on into the wee hours of the morning.  Mike Pankoff closed it out just before 3 a.m. on Monday morning with a double hill victory over Gus Briseno, who’d knocked him out of the hot seat match. The $1,000-added event, hosted by Kolby’s Korner Pocket in Tempe, drew 45 entrants. 

Six of the matches among the event’s final 12 players went double hill, including both the hot seat match and the extended race-to-5 finals.  There were only two outright shutouts among the 14 matches played. From among the winners’ side final four Pankoff and Briseno moved into the hot seat match, following 3-1 victories over Tony Confalone and Pete Lhotka, respectively.  Briseno gained the hot seat with a double hill win that would prove to be his last. 

On the one-loss side, Tres Kane and Rudy Alameda were waiting for Lhotka and Confalone. Kane moved into the first of the money rounds with a double hill win over Bernie Pettitpiece, and then defeated Bobby Emmons 3-1 to pick up Lhotka. Alameda got into the money rounds with a 3-1 victory over Ronnie Allen and defeated John Anderson double hill to reach Confalone.  Kane defeated Lhotka 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. Confalone joined him on the heels of a double hill win over Alameda.  

In one of the two shutouts among the final 12, Confalone dropped Kane into fourth place and turned to face the late night/early morning event winner in the semifinals. It was the first of two straight double hill matches that wrapped things up.  

Pankoff got his second crack at Briseno with a 3-2 win over Confalone.  As Sunday night turned into Monday morning, Pankoff and Briseno battled to double hill in the finals, before Pankoff won the deciding match and claimed the state championship one-pocket title.