Van Boening dominates 2nd Annual Gem City Classic

Shane Van Boening

By the time he got into the finals of the 2nd annual Gem City Classic in Marietta, GA, just ahead of midnight on Sunday, July 11, Shane Van Boening was playing as though he were late for a bus.  He won a total of seven matches, beginning with Darin Brewer on Friday and ending with Charlie Williams on Sunday night, and on average, allowed opponents only three racks.  Brewer, in fact, in the opening round of play, served up his toughest challenge, managing six racks. Nobody else managed more than four. The $11,500-added Seminole Pro Tour event drew 64 entrants to Johnny Archer's pool room, The Marietta Billiard Club in Marietta, GA.

With four wins behind him (Brewer, Mark Gregory, James Roberts, and Donnie Mills, by a combined score of 36-12), Van Boening moved among the winners' side final four to face Williams for the first time. Mike Dechaine, in the meantime, fresh off a 9-6 victory over Johnny Archer, faced off against Adam Smith.  Van Boening sent Williams to the one-loss bracket 9-2, as Dechaine survived a double hill battle against Smith. Van Boening got into the hot seat with a 9-4 win over Dechaine, and waited for Williams to come back. 

Over on the one-loss side, a ‘Who's Who' of 21st century pool talent was on hand, fighting for a chance to face Van Boening in the finals. The final money round – the 13-16 slots – went to Nick Varner, Cliff Joyner, John Brumback and Sylver Ochoa. Coming out of those matches, Shaun Wilkie would advance to meet Williams. He got by Stevie Moore and Johnny Archer, both double hill, to do it. Smith picked up Corey Deuel, who'd defeated James Baraks 9-6 and Donnie Mills 9-5.  Williams defeated Wilkie 9-5, advancing to the quarterfinals against Smith, who'd downed Deuel 9-4. 

Williams then got into two straight double hill matches, winning them both. He defeated Smith in the quarterfinals and after a few concerns about a shot clock in operation during the semifinals, he defeated Dechaine, as well.  

Two straight double hill matches took their toll, which, combined with Van Boening's air of confidence as he stepped to the tables for the final match, spelled trouble for Williams. Van Boening got out to an 8-1 lead, before Williams put two racks together. They would be his last. Van Boening responded with three straight to finish the tournament and become the annual event's second winner (Archer won it in 2009).