Column: Packers are bringing in some competition

Published 11:20 pm Monday, December 6, 2010

The Austin boys basketball team is thinking big this year and they’re starting the season off by playing some big competition.

The Packers opened their season with a loss to Cedar Falls, Iowa, which had a junior guard that will likely be playing Division I college basketball in two years, and on Thursday they will host Minneapolis Washburn, which is ranked No. 9 in the preseason ‘AAA’ polls.

While some teams fear strong competition, Austin head coach Kris Fadness is hoping his squad will embrace it.

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“I hope they’re excited because it’s a great opportunity to show how good we are and get recognized,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said.

The matchups also give the Packers an excellent chance to try out their new hectic style of basketball against some top-notch teams. While Saturday’s game saw a lot of turnovers, Fadness is confident the games will get cleaner with time and he expects another track meet against Washburn on Thursday.

“It should be an exciting game and I think our kids like our style so far,” Fadness said. “We’ve got to learn to play fast and not in a hurry. If we can press and run with athletic teams like Cedar Falls and Washburn, then we’ll be fine in our league.”

Against Washburn, the Packer guards will face a big test against an athletic and physical back court and the game will likely come down to how the perimeter players perform.

For any area fans, it would be a great game to see as two quality squads will be playing at a frenetic pace.

As for how Austin ended up playing an Iowa team and a team from the Twin Cities — Fadness is friends with Cedar Falls head coach Tom Burdel and the Packers ended up playing at Washburn last season when both teams were looking for a solid non-conference opponent.

Austin lost that game by just five points and it’s hoping for another close battle on Thursday to get a solid season going.

“Eventually we’re going to be a handful,” Fadness said. “I haven’t been this confident about a team in a long time.”