Basha Holds off Monday for Billiards Victory
Great Southern Billiard Tour / Goldsboro, NC
by Lea Andrews
A big obstacle—Southern superstar Sam Monday—stood in Mike Basha’s way at the February 27-28 Great Southern Billiard Tour stop, but Basha stood his ground to earn his spot in the winner’s circle. Basha and Monday were among the field of 51 that gathered at Fast Eddie’s Sports Bar in Goldsboro, NC, for the $1,500-added A/B amateur event.
B-ranked Basha got past fellow B-player Justin Ward to reach the hot seat match against B-ranked Tony Williams, who’d managed to fend off Monday, who was racing to 11, 7-9. Taking care of Williams 7-2, Basha claimed the hot seat, while Williams took his spot in the semifinals.
On the left side of the bracket, B-ranked Rick Royster made his way past B-ranked Bobby Hicks 7-6 to face recent winner Tony Morrison, who’d ousted A-player Zach Wilson 9-6. After easing past Morrison 7-7, Royster moved on to Ward. Meanwhile, AA-ranked Sparky Ferrell blew through A-ranked “Pokey” 11-1 to meet up with Larry Faulk, who’d breezed by fellow A-player Montez Lloyd 9-3. Ferrell edged out Faulk hill-hill 11-8, but that score got flipped on him by Monday, and he landed in fifth. Monday advanced to the quarterfinals against Royster, who’d squeaked past Ward 7-6, and looking for the rematch with Williams in the semifinals, Monday put Royster in fourth 11-5. Against Williams, Monday more than made up for the last match, earning his spot in the finals 11-2.
In the first set of the true double-elimination final match, Basha reached the hill first, but Monday took the next two racks to make it hill-hill 10-6. His break and run in the final rack pushed the second set, which he opened with another break and run. Allowing Basha few chances at the table, Monday stretched his lead to 5-0, but after topping a safety battle, Basha got on the board, and he took advantage of some unlikely opportunities in the next racks to keep it close at 7-3. He made it 7-4 with a 3-9 carom and 7-5 with a 4-9 combination, but Monday took three in a row to reach the hill. In the alternate-break format, Basha broke open the next rack, putting more into his final break than he’d put into others in the set, but his reward was a cue ball on the floor and what looked like no more chances at the table. The ultimate reward came late, though, as Monday missed what was, for him, a routine shot on the 6 ball, allowing Basha back at the table to make it hill-hill. It was Monday’s turn to break, and after making a delicate cut on the 1 ball, he found himself bridging behind the 8 ball for a shot on the 2. He overcut it and Basha pocketed it instead, and though he was faced with tough position on the 4, a thin cut all the way down the rail put the 4 in the pocket and the cue ball in position for the 5. Basha’s win was just a matter of staying in line, and he pocketed the rest of the balls to notch his first GSBT victory 7-10.
The next $1,500-added stop will be at Raising Cain’s in Inman, SC, March 6-7.
1st Mike Basha $1,000
2nd Sam Monday $500
3rd Tony Williams $300
4th Rick Royster $200
5th Justin Ward $100
7th Tony Morrison $70
9th Bobby Hicks $40