Hulne: Packer boys basketball team must make strides
Published 10:22 pm Thursday, November 19, 2015
Last season, the Austin boys basketball team showed that it had some serious potential at times. The Packers knocked off Rochester John Marshall early in the season and it lost in overtime to a tough Red Wing team, but it also lost to Faribault and it was blown out by Kasson-Mantorville in a home playoff game to start the postseason.
The hope was that the Packers would regroup over the summer and come back as a serious force this winter. That may eventually happen, but Austin head coach Kris Fadness said that it may be time to pump the breaks a little bit on high expectations.
After hoping to play a run and gun style this season, the Packers have had to back off and slow things down for a team that will feature three sophomores in big roles.
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“We are a work in progress right now and we’ve got a lot of learning to do,” Fadness said. “I made the mistake, coming into the year, of over evaluating our talent. Quite frankly, we’re struggling with some things. We have a lot to learn.”
The Packers will have the advantage of finding their feet early on with a lot of games in Packer Gym. Austin, which opens its season against Kasson Mantorville in Packer Gym 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, will play six of its first eight games at home. However, it will close out the season with six out of its last seven games on the road.
The Packers hope to be clicking by the second half of the season, but they’ll have to figure out how to master the half court game first. Fadness said his team has plenty of athletic ability and it plays well in the open court, but the squad needs to learn how to play with discipline.
“Once we get that down, we’ll be pretty solid,” Fadness said. “We’ve had to scale back a lot. Things are going to take a little bit longer than I originally thought. That’s not on the kids, that’s just me not making the right evaluation right away.”