Minnesota takes gold at the Badger State Games - Badger Cup!
Minnesota was excited to be one of three Handball teams to join in on the Badger State Games for the first time in the sport. This will be an annual tournament in Wausau, Wisconsin and the first annual Badger Cup was one to remember!
Minnesota's first opponent was Milwaukee. The game started out with Minnesota taking a good lead with a sound offense and fast breaks by the running of wing player Josh Hetterick. Milwaukee crawled back to cut the lead to 3 at halftime after a strong 5-1 defense was giving Minnesota fits. The second half was back and forth before Minnesota really started going by scoring goals and stopping Milwaukee's offense. Then the last 5 min showed how good Milwaukee is. Milwaukee started stealing the ball and making every goal count to the point that it became a 1 point game with 10 seconds left. Minnesota had the ball and likely the win but a quick steal from Milwaukee caused Minnesota to foul the offensive player and set up 2 seconds left for Milwaukee to get a shot off of the 9 meter inbound. During the time out both teams set up for the last shot, the ball was passed in at the whistle, the shot was taken by Milwaukee but the buzzer sounded right before the ball went into the net. Minnesota had a little luck on their side to secure a 23-22 win over a tough Milwaukee team.
Minnesota's next and last game was against a very familiar foe, Concordia. Both teams from the land of a thousand lakes were able to be a part of the first Badger Cup. Concordia brought a great team to the Badger cup, losing to Milwaukee by only 6. The game started out neck and neck, both teams showing a bit of fatigue but soon enough both were able to grab a second wind. Minnesota kept a lead throughout the first half thanks to the well paced offense lead by backcourt veteran players Sami Khemakhem, Jens Wencker and Stephan Storch. Thanks to their effective crossing, attacking they opened up easy goals for all players on the court. This allowed Minnesota to have a comfortable lead heading into Halftime. The first 10 minuets of the second half showed how different Concordia is from years past. With great ball movement and wings sliding in as pivots the Cobbers cut the lead to 2. That would be as close as they got. Minnesota bounced back with the elevated play of newcomer, backcourt player Bennett Brackey to take a sustainable lead and in the end defeated Concordia 24-17.
Minnesota goes 2-0 and takes 1st at the Badger Cup! How sweet Gold tastes!
Big shout out to Milwaukee and Concordia for playing hard and in good spirits! We always love sharing the court with our MIDWEST brothers!
We look forward to next years Badger Cup! We'll be ready to defend our title!