Bersanti, Morris, Bado playing for state titles

BILLINGS — Two Butte handball players and one long-time Butte resident will play for state titles at the Montana State Handball Championships on Sunday.

Dan Bersanti, Tom Morris and Brett Badovinac will all enter the court with a state crown on the line.

Bersanti knocked off defending champion Dave Montelius of Missoula in a tiebreaker in the semifinals to earn a spot in the championship match of the 50-plus golden masters division. There, Bersanti will face Luther’s Dan Scilley.

Scilley is a three time golden masters champion who is old enough to play in the super golden masters, a group that he won five times. Bersanti won the golden masters state title in 2012 and 2008.

Morris, who now lives in Billings, will play Missoula’s Wally Page in the championship match of the 70-plus diamond masters. Morris already has seven state singles titles under his belt. He won four golden masters crowns, two super golden masters titles and one masters championship.

Badovinac, the reigning Butte singles champion, will play defending champion Moe Johnson in the championship of the 40-plus masters division in a rematch of last year’s title tilt. Badovinac beat Butte’s Don Foley, his state-champion doubles partner, in the semifinals to advance to the chipper.

The open division championship match features a pair of former champions in Billings’ Justin Balkenbush and Bozeman’s Jeremy Morton.

Balkenbush, a former Montana Tech defensive back, is gunning for his ninth open title. That would pass Butte native Steve Stanisich for the third most in Montana history. Only the late Jim Ritter of Great Falls and Bill Peoples of Butte have won more.

Morton won the title in 2004.

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