Wessels hits game-winner as Packers hold off Tigers in double OT

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zach Wessels shoots a basket in the first half against Albert Lea on Tuesday. Wessels hit the game winning basket with two seconds remaining of double overtime. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

ALBERT LEA — With Albert Lea on the verge of snapping its 12-game losing streak to the Packers, Austin found an answer and got the job done in a boys basketball game in AL Tuesday.

With his team trailing by one and 10 seconds left, Austin junior guard Zach Wessels took the ball, drove towards the hoop and pulled up for a 15-foot jumper over a fallen defender and knocked the game-winning shot that made it 72-71 with 1.5 seconds left on the clock.

AL never got a look as it was out of timeouts.

Joe Aase is guarded by Albert Lea's Goding Wall Tuesday in Albert Lea. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

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“I was thinking jump shot and then (the defender) fell down in front of me and I was wide open,” said Wessels, who had 27 points in the win. “I made it and I was psyched.”

The Packers led 70-66 late in the second OT, but they missed four free throws and the Tigers hit a two and a three to take a 71-70 lead.

Austin head coach Kris Fadness didn’t hesitate to give Wessels an isolation play with the game on the line.

“He’s just a feisty competitor and I have confidence in him to finish every time,” Fadness said.

Wessels said he hit one game-winning shot while playing AAU basketball in Las Vegas this summer, but this was the first one he’s hit for the Packers.

He said the Packers are hoping to play better when they host Rochester Mayo Friday at 7:30 p.m. in their home opener.

“We didn’t play well and that’s pretty obvious. Our defense wasn’t where it usually is, but we toughened up and got the win,” Wessels said. “Last year at this time we lost to Mayo. This is our Mayo game from last year. It’s good to have close games to see where everyone is at, but hopefully we don’t have too many more of them.”

Joe Asae added 21 points for Austin (3-0 overall, 1-0 Big Nine).

AL forced the first OT with a late three at the end of regulation and Austin had a chance to win at the end of the first OT, but it couldn’t score.

The Tigers (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big Nine) stayed in the game behind the shooting of Tyler Vandenheuvel, who poured in 30 points, while hitting 8-of-13 from downtown.

“He just shot the tar out of the ball,” Fadness said. “I give Albert Lea credit. They made plays.”

Austin scoring: Zach Wessels, 27; Joe Aase, 21; Ajuda Nywesh, 9; Bret Lukes, 6; Tom Aase, 5; Tommy Olmsted, 3; Collin Wesiert, 1; free throws: 46 percent (14-for-30)