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Packers beat Red Wing in OT to get back to state

ROCHESTER — Joe Aase’s head was cut open and bloody and Tom Aase’s knee was wrapped in ice, but the Packers were victors.

Austin scratched and clawed all night with a feisty Red Wing team to earn its second straight trip to state when it beat the Wingers 51-43 in overtime in the Section 1A title game in Mayo Civic Center Friday.

“They played tough and we just played better,” said Austin junior point guard Zach Wessels, who finished with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. “We played to have fun and we played to win.”

The Packers (28-0 overall) took the lead for good in overtime when Ajuda Nywesh scored on an up and under move to make it 45-43 Packers with 2:12 left in the game.

Austin’s defense shut out the Wingers for the last two minutes and the Packers put it away when Tom Aase and Joe Aase each hit two free throws in a row.

Joe, who finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, gave the Packers a boost early in the overtime period when he drained 3-pointer from the wing to put Austin up 43-41.

“It probably wasn’t as greedy as the three in regulation that I made. But I’m always gonna be confident to take that shot,” Joe said. “You never want to play overtime with a deficit, so it was good that it went in or it might have changed the outcome of the game.”

RW forced the overtime period when Isaac Toivonen scored on a put-back with four seconds left in regulation. RW finished with 13 offensive rebounds and they out-rebounded Austin 39-31.

“What was killing me was giving up some of those offensive rebounds,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “Red Wing played well. I’m just happy to get the win right now.”

Tom played the entire second half and overtime on a knee that he banged up in the second half. He still finished with seven points, eight rebounds and four blocks, but his mobility was limited.

“Running vertically was fine, but as soon as I had to do anything laterally or plant on it, then it hurt quite a bit,” Tom said. “It was really frustrating to get a hand and a half on the ball and not be able to get (rebounds).”

Fadness, who picked up his 300th career win Friday, said he never thought of taking Tom out of the lineup.

“I don’t know how hurt he is,” Fadness said. “I never thought of pulling him because he’s a senior and the trainer cleared him. It never entered my mind that he couldn’t go.”

Austin took a 39-35 lead in regulation when Collin Weisert hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 minutes left. The Wingers (15-14 overall) pulled to within 39-37 with 2:37 left, then after an Austin turnover, Red Wing got a break when Joe was knocked to the floor and the Wingers pulled down an offensive rebound.

Instead of Joe being on the line with Austin up two, the Wingers hit one of two free throws to pull within 39-38 with 58 seconds left.

“I got decked. They just weren’t calling it,” Joe said. “It was definitely physical. I felt like I was getting held all day on screens. I tried to talk to the refs, but they were just letting us play. It’s hard, but that’s what you do in basketball. You have to adjust to changes.”

The Packers also had their chances to close the game out down the stretch, but they went 1-for-3 on free throws in the last 44 seconds.

Austin led by as many 26-19 when Joe scored on a lay-up with 15:34 left, but Austin didn’t score for the next four minutes as the Wingers used a 7-0 run to tie it up and the Packers never led by more than four in the last 12 minutes.

Austin had started the game on a 12-5 run, but then it hit a seven-minute scoring drought that saw Red Wing take a 14-12 lead.

“It started off beautifully and it looked liked we were rolling,” Fadness said. “Then we got stuck and the ball wasn’t going in the basket. It’s a low scoring, tight game which it always be in the section final.”

Wessels kept Austin in the game by pouring in 14 points in the first half. He drained a key 3-pointer to make it 21-17 with 26 seconds left in the half.

At halftime, Wessels and Joe were responsible for 17 of Austin’s 21 points.

“Guys weren’t making shots to start,” Wessels said. “I was feeling good so I just kept shooting. That’s how it went.”

Austin will play in the first round of the Class ‘AAA’ state tournament Wednesday at Williams Arena, but the opponent of time of the game are to be determined.

RW 17 23 3 — 43

Austin 21 19 11 — 51

Austin scoring: Zach Wessels, 19; Joe Aase, 18; ; Tom Aase, 7; Ajuda Nywesh, 4; Collin Weisert, 3; Bret Lukes, 1; field goals: 40 percent (18-for-45); 33 percent (6-for-18); free throws: 59 percent (10-for-17)