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Van Boening, Gray for DCC One-Pocket
Jan 26, 2012, 7:03 PM

ELIZABETH, Ind. -- If the game of one-pocket is best played by those with decades of experience with the cerebral discipline, the finalists in Derby City Classic one-pocket championship must be wise beyond their years. Shane Van Boening, who won last year's title, is just 28 years old; his opponent, Joey Grey, is all of 25.

The two will face off Thursday evening on the TV table in the Accu-Stats Arena at the Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, Ind. With both players on one-loss, meaning they've already exercised their re-buy options, the title will be a single race to 3.

Van Boening bought his way into the final with a relatively easy 3-0 win over five-time one-pocket champ Efren Reyes. Gray, meanwhile, ousted Darren Appleton on a satellite table with almost equal ease, topping the U.S. Open champ, 3-1.

Looking toward the $20,000 Master of the Table contest, which is awarded to the top performer in all three main divisions, Van Boening has opened up a considerable lead. With a second-place finish in the banks division, the American is guaranteed 200 points. Virginia's Brandon Shuff is in second after two events, with a total of 140 points. While the 9-ball division is just a round and a half old, Van Boening looks in prime position to repeat as the Derby City all-around champion.