Hulne: Packer boys basketball team has some talent coming up

Published 9:49 pm Monday, June 16, 2014

The Austin boys basketball team has certainly had plenty of success over the past three years. The Packers have competed in three state tournaments and finished second twice.

Austin may have graduated most of its core from the last year’s team, but the Packers aren’t exactly starting from scratch just yet. The team will return some quality upper classmen who played big roles on last year’s team and the squad also has an influx of young talent that could be seeing varsity playing time as early as this coming winter.

Austin’s team made up of players that will be freshman in this fall, just wrapped up a Pacesetter state basketball title in St. Cloud Sunday and Austin’s team of players that will be sophomores in the fall will be competing in a Pacesetter state basketball tournament in St. Cloud June 22.

Email newsletter signup

Austin head coach Kris Fadness said he likes what he has in his junior and senior classes, but some of the sophomores or freshman could make an early impact.

“I’m going to have some tough decisions coming up. It’s a good problem to have. Some of them are good enough to move up at a young age. We’ve had to do it in the past and we might have to do it again,” Fadness said. “I’m very excited about the potential that we have coming up. At the same time, it’s just potential right now. The kids have got to do the their job in the class room and they’ve got to stay out of trouble. If they can do that and stay passionate about basketball, then we’re going to be very good.”

The Austin freshman team has qualified for the Pacesetter Great 4 State Championship, which will be held in Target Center June 29. The tournament includes two teams from Minnesota, two teams from N.D., two teams from S.D. and two teams from Iowa.

It’s no surprise that Austin’s freshman team includes some connections to the Packer varsity squad. Both and Duoth Gach are the twin brothers of Gach Gach and Josh Brehmer is the younger brother of Noah Brehmer. The team also includes Tate Hebrink, Moses Issa, Logan Braaten, Quentin Paulson and Josh Bollum.

Austin beat Northfield 29-26 in the Pacesetter title game after it beat Leech Lake 44-39 and topped Brainerd 48-40.

Fadness credited parents Brent Brehmer, Corey Bollum and Suzy Hebrink for putting in work with the squad and helping them improve.

“We’ve had some very supportive parents in that group that have done a great job of getting them in tournaments,” Fadness said. “I always try to tell our youth groups, when we have good teams it’s because we have aggressive parents at the youth levels who get their kids to play a lot of basketball.”

Of course it also helps that the players are willing to put in a lot of time on the basketball court over the summer.

“We’ve got young kids that love to play basketball right now and they want to do it as much as possible,” Fadness said.