The 5: Packers’ top games of the year

Published 12:33am Wednesday, March 20, 2013

— Look for this story, along with features, photos, a state preview, bracket and stats in a 12-page special section out today in the Austin Daily Herald print edition!

The Packers will square off with The Blake School Bears 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Class AAA state tournament. Here’s a look back at five crucial games for Austin this year:

  1. Dec. 8: Austin 66, Edina 62Austin showed it meant business in just its second game of the season, as it took down Edina, which featured Graham Woodward, a point guard who has committed to Penn State University.The Packers shot lights out as they hit 45 percent (9-for-20) of their 3-pointers, and Joe Aase led the way with 27 points.

    Edina qualified for the Class ‘AAAA’ state tournament and is seeded No. 3.

  2.  Dec. 11: Austin 72, Albert Lea 71 (2OT)Austin junior Zach Wessels showed how clutch he can be as he kept Austin’s long winning streak against Albert Lea alive by drilling a 15-foot jump shot with 1.5 seconds left to give the Packers a win against their rivals.The Packers beat AL later in the year to push their winning streak to 14 games over the Tigers.
  3. Jan. 17: Austin 80, Rochester JM 77Austin played its best game of the season when the up-and-coming Rockets came to town on a mission to take first place in the Big Nine.In front of a packed house in Packer gym, Joe Aase netted a career-high 34 points and went 8-for-11 on 3-pointers, and Zach Wessels finished with 23 points and 8 assists.

    Austin led by as many as 19 points in the first half.

  4. March 9: Austin 51, Winona 49 (Section 1AAA semifinal)It was a worst-case scenario for the Packers — Austin came out flat and Winona was scrappy.The Winhawks led by 11 in the first half, which was Austin’s biggest home deficit in two years and its biggest total deficit this season. But the Packers had an answer.

    Austin used a 14-2 run to get back in the game, and Joe Aase and Zach Wessels made the two biggest plays of the season to close out the win.

    Aase, who scored 22 points, drilled a contested 3-pointer to tie the game at 49. Then, on Austin’s final possession, Wessels tipped a loose ball to Ajuda Nywesh for a lay-up to put the Packers ahead for good with four seconds left.

  5.  March 15: Austin 52, Red Wing 43 (OT) (Section 1AAA final)The Packers bent, but they didn’t break.Austin led for most of the second half, but when it missed two of three free throws and committed one turnover in the last two minutes, the Wingers were able to tie the game with a late put-back to force overtime.

    In the extra session, the Packers seized control as Joe Aase hit an early 3-pointer and Ajuda Nywesh put Austin up for good with an up-and-under move that made it 45-43.

    Zach Wessels had 19 points in the win, and Aase had 18.

Come back to Wednesday to follow a live play-by-play blog of the Packers state quarterfinal game with The Blake School Bears at 2 p.m.

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