Packer boys hope to keep winning in section semifinals

Published 8:18pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

It’s been a long time since the Packers lost a boys basketball game.

It’s been even longer since they lost a home game.

The Packers (26-0 overall), who haven’t lost in Packer Gym since March 4 of 2011 are looking to keep their 25-game home winning streak as they play their last game in Austin this season when they host No. 4 Winona in a Section 1AAA semifinal game Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Packers beat Winona 63-38 Jan. 15, but the most recent meeting, which was held Feb. 19 was much closer as Austin had to put together a late rally to win 61-53. Austin never trailed in that second meeting, but it was a little too close for comfort.

“Winona has won nine out of eleven,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “They have been playing well, we will have to play better than the last time we saw them.”

The Packers, who are outscoring their opponents 70.6 to 47.8 points per game have played in just four games decided by five points or less and three of those games were in December. The Winhawks (16-11 overall) , have also played in six games decided by four points or less, including Wednesday’s 68-64 win over Waseca in the quarterfinals.

Winona is outscoring its opponents 64.2 to 59.9, but it brings a strong perimeter attack that could give Austin’s zone defense a little bit of trouble.

“They have a very good ball handling group with a lot of three point shooters,” Fadness said.

The night will likely be an emotional one for Austin seniors Collin Weisert, Joe Aase, Tom Aase and Tommy Olmsted. It will be their last game in Packer Gym of their basketball careers.

Those seniors had a big impact on Austin winning back-to-back Big Nine titles and they helped the Packers earn their first trip to state in 30 years last season.

“We have a confident group,” Fadness said. “It’s our last home game for a group of seniors that have accomplished a great deal here. We could use the support of our sixth man on Saturday.”


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