Ussery takes small field on snowbound Jacoby Carolina tour

They don't get a lot of snow in North Carolina, and when they do, it can wreak havoc on the roads, and elsewhere.  Burlington, NC got somewhere in the vicinity of 8” of it on the last weekend in January, and the havoc it wreaked included a dramatic reduction in the normal roster of pool players signing on to a stop on the Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour. The show, however, must go on, and it did.

B.J. Ussery took home the first-place, $1,000 prize, in the $1,000-added Open event, hosted by Family Billiards in Burlington, which drew a total of four entrants. As if the storm hadn't happened, TD Doug Ennis also held his normal, Friday night Early Bird Tournament and a Sunday afternoon Second Chance Tournament.  The Early Bird drew two entrants and was won by Tony Morrison, in a single match race to 7, against Chris Turner 7-5. The Second Chance tournament, though, drew only a single competitor – Derek Leonard - who (guess what?) won the event. Gladys Ratliff was on hand to take home the Ladies title (and win the Jacoby Cue that was raffled), and Devon Gibson was declared the Juniors winner.

The rundown of the entire Open tournament is the story of six matches. Ussery and Morrison faced each other, as Leonard and Jason Carter did likewise. Ussery defeated Morrison 7-4, as Leonard bested Carter 7-2. This sent Morrison and Carter to the quarterfinals, as Ussery and Leonard moved into the hot seat match. Ussery gained the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Leonard, and waited for what turned out to be Morrison's return.

Morrison lost only three games getting back to the finals. He shut out Carter in the quarterfinals and gave up the three in the semifinal win over Leonard.  

Morrison also won the lag in the final race to 11, but Ussery took command early, winning the first three games and capping it with a break and run. Morrison fought back to win two, before Ussery really got into gear, winning the next five to take a 7-2 lead. They traded racks back and forth to 9-4, when Morrison took two in a row. They'd prove to be his last, as Ussery finished his three-match, undefeated weekend with two in a row, including a break and run on the last rack.

“We put a two-hour delay on the tournament,” said Ennis, “and we actually held off for another couple of hours to give people a chance to get here.”

“I do what I say I'm going to do,” he added of forging ahead with the limited field in the midst of a North Carolina snowstorm, “and I did it.”