Mat Mikesell

Begeman making sacrifices while at state tournament

 17gbb_Mendon-Unity-vs-Calhound_150
February 24, 2017 - Normal, IL - Unity head coach Brad Begeman yells instructions to his players during their Class 1A semifinal at the IHSA Girls State Basketball Finals on Friday. The Lady Mustangs defeated the Warriors, 42-34 to the title game against the Bravettes from Annawan. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Clark Brooks
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 24, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 25, 2017 3:15 am

NORMAL, Ill. -- Brad Begeman's heart is in three different places this weekend.

The Unity girls basketball coach is guiding the Mustangs in their first state tournament appearance and preparing for Saturday's Class 1A state championship game against Annawan, but he wishes he could be with his family.

His daughter, Breanne, is a senior on the Culver-Stockton College women's basketball team that will celebrate senior day before Saturday's game against Benedictine College. His son, Brennan, is a senior on the Unity boys basketball team that played for a Class 1A regional championship Friday night in Astoria.

Begeman missed his son's game and will miss his daughter's collegiate finale to coach the Mustangs.

"I want to be with my family," Begeman said after Unity beat Hardin Calhoun 42-34 on Friday to earn a spot in the state title game. "It just all fell on the same weekend."

Begeman could have made the trip to Astoria for a 7 p.m. tipoff, but that would have taken time away from his team and the preparation needed for the state championship game. He said Brennan told him to stay in Normal and prepare.

Begeman agreed.

"I wasn't going to leave the girls," he said. "I told (the players) we started this together, and we're going to end it together."

His children felt the initial disappointment their dad wasn't going to make it to either game, but they realized the magnitude of what this team could accomplish.

"I know how much this means to him," Breanne said. "It's something he's been striving for for a long time. That's where he wants to be."

Begeman's wife, Kelle, is made the trip from Redbird Arena to Brennan's game, and she will be in Canton, Mo., on Saturday to walk with her daughter for senior day festivities.

Breanne said she will still feel her dad's presence.

"We know he'll still be thinking about us," she said. "We just have to go out there and play like he's watching."