Packer defense steps it up

Published 11:10 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

Austin's Zach Wessels tries to go underneath with the ball during the second half Friday night in Packer Gym. - Eric Johnson/

With his team facing a big scoring lull, Austin senior guard Matt Duren didn’t hesitate and it paid off as the Packers boys basketball team beat Rochester Mayo 53-35 in Packer Gym Friday.

Duren came off the bench with Austin (3-4 overall, 3-1 Big Nine) leading just 26-23 with 12:22 left in the game and he scored 11 points over the next four minutes to push his team to a 39-28 lead after he knocked down his third three of the half with 7:56 left in the game.

“Matt’s been coming off the bench and we just love the emotion and energy he has coming off the bench,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “He’s a scorer and he has that mentality. We needed somebody besides Joe (Aase) to step up offensively and tonight Matt was that guy.”

Email newsletter signup

Duren, who had 15 points and two steals, was able to get his shots off, in part, due to the post presence of sophomore center Joe Aase, who led Austin with 19 points.

Austin's Tom Aase puts up a shot in the first half against Faribault Friday night. - Eric Johnson/

Duren scored on a lay-up to make it 28-23 and he drilled a three to make it 31-23 to kick-start Austin.

“We needed to get it inside and go out and that’s what we were able to do,” Duren said. “Mayo had a 6-8 guy (Michael Idso), but Joe took it to him and he didn’t back down. That’s what we needed.”

While Duren and Joe Aase led the offense, players like Tom Aase, who had five points, five rebounds, and three assists, and Jay Ettinger were making hustle plays on defense. The Packers forced 25 Mayo turnovers.

“Defensively we did the job,” Fadness said. “Our pressure gave them fits and it was a great team effort on the defensive end.”

While Fadness is pleased with the play of Joe Aase so far, he’s hoping he can continue to develop as the season goes on.

“Joe is really confident right now offensively and you can just see him looking for the ball,” Fadness said. “He’s still got a ways to go. He’s getting better as a passer and I like him hitting threes, but we’ve got to keep him inside at times.”

The win was the first home victory for Austin and they’re first against a quality opponent.

“We beat JM and Faribault by thirty, but they’re in the bottom of the conference,” Duren said. “We needed a good win and we got it here tonight.”

Mayo 21 14 — 35

Austin 22 31 — 53

Austin scoring: Joe Aase, 19; Matt Duren, 15; Zach Fadness, 6; Tom Aase, 5; Jay Ettinger, 4; Zach Wessels, 2; Max Coffey, 2; field goals: 37 percent (20-for-54); three-pointers: 36 percent (9-for-25); free throws: 50 percent (4-for-8); rebounds: 24 (Tom Aase, 5); turnovers: 11