Pack looking to put up pointsPublished 12:23am Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Austin’s defense has been solid, but team is looking to score
— Look for this story, along with features, photos, a state preview, bracket and stats in a 12-page special section out Tuesday in the Austin Daily Herald print edition!
The Packers hope to get out and run when they take on The Blake School in the Class ‘AAA’ state boys basketball quarterfinals at Williams Arena 2 p.m. Wednesday. (Click here for live coverage of the game)
Austin, 28-0 and seeded No. 2 in the state tournament, is coming off a 52-43 overtime win over Red Wing and a 51-49 win over Winona.
Austin’s defense has been strong throughout the postseason, but the Packers would like to get their offense going.
“We forced 20 turnovers per game this year, and the last couple of games we’re not getting them,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “We’ve got to find a way to create more turnovers because we thrive off that. I want us to jack up the pressure a little more than what it’s been.”
The Blake School Bears (22-7 overall) have four standout players: a pair of 6-foot-7-inch post players, a 6-3 senior guard who has played varsity ball since he was a seventh-grader, and John Veil, a junior captain who played AAU basketball with Austin’s Zach Wessels last summer.
Wessels knows Veil well, but he’s not about to be friendly on the court with his former teammate.
“We’re really good friends now. We spent three or four months together, and he’s a pretty good player,” Wessels said. “It’ll be fun to play against him.”
The Packers won’t be playing in Williams Arena for the first time, as all five of their starters played there last year, and the team attended camp in the arena over the summer.
Austin senior Joe Aase said the Packers need to pick up the tempo from the last two games.
“We’ve kind of played down to our opponents’ pace,” he said. “We want to get out and run and play the style we’ve played most of the year. We’re definitely capable of doing it. We think we’re the better team, so we’re going to go in there and play our game and see what we can do.”
Fadness wants to see his team get back into scoring in the 60s or 70s after they were held to less than 55 points in their last two contests. He also expects another fight to the finish.
“You just assume it’ll come down to who makes the plays in the last three minutes of the game,” Fadness said. “I think it’s going to be a close game.”
Wessels said he’s feeling some nerves, but he doesn’t view that as a bad thing when the stakes are as high as they will be this week.
“I get nervous all of the time, but nerves are a good thing; and I think we’re gonna be fine,” Wessels said.
If Austin wins Wednesday, it will play the winner of No. 3 Marshall (27-2 overall) and Grand Rapids (20-9 overall) 2 p.m. Thursday at the Target Center.