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Brothers goes undefeated to claim 1st Annual DE State Bar Box 8-Ball title

Kevin West and Josh Brothers

Delaware’s Josh Brothers and Kevin West made their first appearances in the AZBilliards database about three months apart, 22 years ago. They were both playing on the Planet Pool Tour at the time and while West beat Brothers to the database by those three months by finishing in the tie for 9th on the tour’s first stop in 2000, Brothers joined at Stop #5 in April, finishing in the tie for 13th place. West finished in the tie for 7th that weekend, one of a dozen times that he chalked up a cash finish on the tour that year. This past weekend, June 25-26, they went head-to-head twice at the 1st Annual Delaware State Bar Box 8-Ball Championships. Brothers, with a Fargo Rate one point higher than West (701/700) won both matches to claim title to the event that drew 45 entrants to Milford Billiards in Milford, DE.

Brothers got by Tom Kozloski, Chris Jenkins and Joe Scott by an aggregate score of 18-6 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Maryland State’s 2022 8-Ball Champion Steve Johnson. West, in the meantime, played one more match than Brothers to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal, opening up with an 18-2 run against Donnie Keith, Orlando Huertas (2) and Sean Mason. He then faced his first serious challenge – a double hill battle versus Eric Brobst – which he won to pick up Dave Barnes in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Brothers sent Johnson to the loss side 6-2, as West was doing likewise to Barnes 6-1. Brothers took their first match 6-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Shaun Wilkie, among the top vote-getters to win this event, had, after being sent over by Barnes in a double-hill, third-round match, defeated four opponents by an aggregate score of 20-4, recently eliminating Don Painter (3) and Joey Bean (1) in the process. He picked up his no-doubt sought for rematch against Barnes, with Brothers in the hot seat, hearing his footsteps. Johnson drew Joe Stem, who’d lost his opening round match, double hill to Chris Jenkins and embarked on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated tour director Tarek Elmalla 5-3 and survived a double hill battle against Rick Winpigler.

Wilkie won his rematch against Barnes 5-1 and in the quarterfinals, drew Stem who’d shut out Johnson. Wilkie then stopped Stem’s loss-side streak at seven with a 5-2 win in those quarterfinals.

Now there were only two pairs of footsteps left, neither one of them calculated to provide Brothers with any sort of comfort. Wilkie and West battled to double hill before West prevailed to earn his rematch against Brothers. In a repeat of their hot seat match, Brothers claimed the event title 6-3.

Tour director Elmalla thanked Leo and Sherrie Weigand and their Milford Billiards staff for their ongoing support and hospitality, along with Travis Parker for the stream and commentary, Ray Netta for remote support, Tuff Cuts, Ran Ji for “being on top of the bracket,” Andrea Thomas and Joe Norton.

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