Packers live holiday on the road

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 27, 2002

There's no better way to spend the holidays than at home with the family, but for some Austin-area athletic teams there's no place like home on the road.

Four Austin High School winter sports squads hit the road Thursday for the first round of their respective holiday tournaments. All of them start this afternoon and run through Saturday with guaranteed three games for each squad.

The Austin boys' hockey team kicks off the Granite City Varsity Hockey Classic at 1:30 p.m. in St. Cloud, and the Packer girls' hockey squad tried to defend its Cardinal Ice Invitational at Fairmont starting today at 2:30 p.m. against St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson.

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Both Packer basketball teams are in action later in the day. At 3 p.m., the Austin girls' basketball team takes to the court at Columbia Heights against St. Paul Johnson. The AHS boys break the ice at the Hamline University Tournament at 3:15 p.m. against Champlin Park.

The Austin girls' basketball team (4-2) is riding a three-game winning streak into their holiday tournament. The Packers pounced all over Mankato East, 78-46, to start the recent string of victories that included a 50-40 win at Owatonna and a 56-32 dismantling of host New Prague. The 32 points allowed at New Prague was a season-best for the Packer defense, which head coach Gary Peterson put under the microscope upon returning to courtside at Austin High.

With a win Austin would play Friday night at 6 p.m., while a loss would have the Packers leading off Friday's play at 1 p.m. against either Minneapolis Edison or Brooklyn Center. Minneapolis Roosevelt, West Lutheran, Columbia Heights and St. Anthony make up the opposite half of the bracket.