CALUMET - Celtics and Lakers. Packers and Bears. Duke and North Carolina.
Appleton Assassins and Boomtown Saints?
Perhaps head-scratching for most, but for members of the small but passionate Guts Frisbee community, that list makes a lot of sense.
The Boomtown Saints juggle the disc during the championship match of the 56th Annual Coca-Cola International Frisbee Tournament at Agassiz Field in Calumet. The Saints won their fourth IFT?crown and third in the last three times they’ve entered. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
Saturday and Sunday at the 56th Annual Coca-Cola International Frisbee Tournament at Agassiz Field in Calumet, Guts followers got to see a bit of everything over two sunshine-filled days. There were wicked backhands, sprawling catches and participants ranged from AARP-card carrying to middle-school I.D. bearing for the nine total teams.
But by Sunday's twilight, the final lined up as expected. Appleton (Wis.) Assassins, the young defending champions with five tournament wins to their name over the last season and a half against the Boomtown Saints (Lansing), three-time victors in their own right who skipped the IFT last season to participate in the World Championships in Japan.
In a best of three scenario - of course, they needed all three - it was Boomtown who prevailed this time, winning 21-12, 19-21, 21-18 over a tense two-hour match. It was the Saints second win over Appleton in the last three tournament finals and gave Boomtown its fourth total IFT crown, and third in the last four years.
Expect more from those two in the future.
"We are old rivals now," Boomtown captain Ryan Scott said. "For as young as they are we are still old rivals. They've got a few and so have we."
In the first set, it looked as if Boomtown would carry the day with relative ease. Up against Scott and Mike Banghart's power backhands, the Assassins kept hemorrhaging points and couldn't get the disc in the hands of Alex Tews or captain Josh Tews consistently enough to strike back.
In the second set Appleton subbed Brian Tews - father of Alex and Josh - for Ben Nommensen and the move paid immediate dividends as Nommensen held his own defensively and scored a few points of his own.
The Assassins overcame a six-point deficit to take a 16-15 lead before holding on to a two-point win with Josh Tews taking command late.
"There was just a huge momentum swing," Scott said. "We had to do out best to quiet them down, because when they are chirping and talking and having fun, that is bad for whoever they are facing. You just have to quiet them down as much as possible."
In the deciding set, the score never ranged more than three points one way or another, but Scott edged Boomtown into the victors box in the end with three straight successful throws and catches over the final three points.
He showed nothing but respect for the former-reigning champs when accepting the Julius T. Nachazel Cup - knowing he will probably be seeing them again soon in the future.
"They are probably the best team to face," Scott said. "They call it like they see it. They don't argue. They have the gentlemanly manner that Guts has instilled."
The key, according to Scott, for slowing down the Assassins' success, has been figuring out a way to compete against Alex and Josh Tews backhands at least some of the time.
Alex briefly set the world speed record with his backhand, and Josh adds the unfamiliarity of a lefty.
Still, there was nothing the pair of brothers could do but tip their heads in respect several times as Boomtown figured out a way to catch the Tews now and again.
"They are incredible. They are definitely top guys in the world without a shadow of a doubt," Scott said. "No one catches them. But we have seen them a couple of times, and me and Mike (Banghart) have comparable backhands to the Tews brothers, so they other teammates get to see those shots and that speed in practice."