Preview: Packer boys are not looking past Falcons

Published 11:16 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the top-seeded Austin boys basketball team hosts No. 8 seeded Faribault to open the Section 1AAA boys basketball tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m., it may look like a sure thing on paper.

The Falcons (1-24 overall) didn’t pick up their first win of the season until Jan. 27 and they lost both regular season matchups to the Packers, who are ranked No. 5 in Class ‘AAA’ by a combined 84 points.

Still, Austin head coach Kris Fadness knows there’s never a sure thing in the playoffs.

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“I have been around basketball long enough to know that you can never take any opponent lightly; bizarre stuff can happen,” Fadness said. “When you get into tournament play there is a different type of pressure on kids and sometimes that pressure is not handled well.”

Fadness said Faribault’s guards are capable of making some plays, but mostly he’s worried about the focus of his own team.

The Packers (19-5 overall) haven’t lost a home game this season, but they also haven’t gotten past the second round of the tournament in five years. Fadness hopes his squad isn’t looking ahead to a possible game on Saturday if they win.

“I am definitely worried about looking ahead, we must stay grounded and approach the now,” Fadness said. “If you get caught looking ahead you will be looking to next year.”

Still, Austin should be in pretty good shape playing in the friendly confines of Packer Gym.

“Obviously we have not lost at home this season, so playing at home is huge for us,” Fadness said. “I would hope the top seed would give our kids the confidence to know that we are the team to beat if we play like we are capable of. “

If Austin wins Wednesday, it will host the winner of No. 4 Red Wing and No. 5 Winona Saturday at 7 p.m.