Austin's Collin Weisert recovers a loose ball in the first half against Rochester John Marshall last year in Packer Gym.

Battle of Big 9 unbeatens: No. 2 Packers host John Marshall tonight

Published 6:07am Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Austin boys basketball team will have arguably its biggest test of the season tonight.

Austin's Joe Aase shoots against heavy pressure during the first half last year against Rochester John Marshall in Packer Gym.

The Packers are still a long way from winning their second Big Nine title, but they can make a major statement when Rochester John Marshall comes to Packer Gym Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The Rockets (12-2 overall, 7-0 Big Nine) are currently tied atop the conference, and all of their Big Nine wins have been by at least 12 points.

No. 2 Austin (13-0 overall, 7-0 Big Nine) has had some tests this season, including a double overtime win over Albert Lea, and non-conference wins over Eastview and Edina, but the Rockets are probably the biggest threat within the conference.

“You want to play good teams and you want to be challenged,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “They play a different style than what we’ve been going against and it’ll be a good opportunity for us to try to get better against a good team.”

JM’s only losses this season have come to Woodbury (9-3 overall) and Minnetonka (10-2 overall), and the Rockets are outscoring their opponents 77.7-60.2 points per game.

The Packers are outscoring their opponents 72.0-49.8 points per game.

Adding excitement to what will probably be a full crowd in Packer Gym is the fact that Thursday happens to be Paint the Gym Pink night in Austin.

“We should have a lot of people there and it will be a good night for our fans and our team,” Fadness said.

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