Austin's Tom Aase dunks off a pass from Zach Wessels in the first half against Rochester Mayo last year in Packer Gym. -- Herald file photo

No. 2-ranked Packers ready for home debut

Published 11:26am Thursday, December 13, 2012

A 3-0 start isn’t good enough for Packer head coach Kris Fadness.

The Austin boys basketball team won its first three games on the road and it’s currently ranked No. 2 in Class ‘AAA,’ but Fadness knows there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

The Packers (3-0 overall, 1-0 Big Nine) needed a last-second Zach Wessels jump shot to get past Albert Lea Tuesday, and now they’re looking to turn things around when they host Rochester Mayo (0-3 overall) in their home opener 7:15 p.m. Friday in Packer Gym.

“We’re trying to go to a more up-tempo offense, and it’s not happening the way I want it to be happening,” Fadness said. “We’re not comfortable with it yet, and we may have to go back to what we ran last season.”

If Austin needs a little push to get its new offense going, it’ll probably come from its home crowd. The Packers went unbeaten at home last season, and none of those wins came down to the last possession.

“We get great crowd support at home,” Fadness said. “That helps get kids jacked up, and it’s like a sixth man out there with us.”

Fadness would also like to see his team shore up its defense as the Packers are giving up 62.3 points per game.

Austin is going through a little bit of transition, as last year’s defensive specialists Goliath Oboyo and Nate Schwab graduated, and the Packers had to make some changes to their zone defense.

“I want to see us play the zone much better,” Fadness said. “I thought we played better defense against Edina than we did against Albert Lea.”

While all of Austin’s starting five has state tournament experience, the Packers are hoping Ajuda Nywesh and Gach Gach can continue to progress as the a season goes along.

“If we give those two guys time, they’ll get better with every game,” Fadness said.

The Packers have three starters back from last year: guard Zach Wessels, Joe Aase, who signed with Division I Davidson College, and Tom Aase, who signed with Division II University of Sioux Falls.

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