Hitting a milestone; Fadness gets win No. 400 as Packers topple Wingers

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Austin boys basketball team continues to play at the top of its game and Austin head coach Kris Fadness hit a major milestone when the Packers ran past Red Wing (1-4 overall, 1-2 Big Nine) 90-41 in Packer Gym Tuesday night.

Fadness notched his 400th win of his coaching career, which includes a stint in Caledonia, and he currently heads a program that is undefeated at the varsity, JV, B-Squad and freshman levels. The Packers have also played in four of the last six Minnesota Class AAA State Boys Basketball Tournaments.

Austin’s Agwa Obang takes the ball around Red Wing’s Ted Tauer during the first half Tuesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“Obviously right now we’re at a peak and you can’t keep maintaining this, but right now things are really clicking,” Fadness said of the program. “It’s nice to know that you’ve had good support groups along the way and I’ve been fortunate to coach some really good players. I’ve been very fortunate to coach with good people and I’ve been lucky to have assistants who have been friends and I’ve had the support of the administration.”

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Austin junior Medi Obang played a big role in Tuesday’s win as he poured in a career-high 23 points, while drilling six three-pointers. Obang has taken his game to new levels this year as he is averaging 15.4 points per game after not playing at the varsity level last season.

Austin’s Duoth Gach with one of several dunks Tuesday night against Red Wing in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“He’s a great shooter and he’s got an incredibly quick release,” Fadness said of Obang. “He’s given us more than I thought he could give us. He’s improved dramatically defensively and he’s a tremendous athlete.”

Obang said he’s simply played the way he has learned from Fadness.

“You’ve got to play hard and fast [for Fadness],” Obang said. “My confidence keeps rising.”

Austin’s defense led the way as it forced 26 Red Wing turnovers and the Packers committed just seven turnovers of their own. Tate Hebrink led the break as he finished with 11 points, 10 assists, three rebounds and two steals.

“We’re feeling really good, but we know the teams we’ve played are in the bottom half of the conference,” Hebrink said. “The tougher games are still to come.”

Austin’s Medi Obang takes it to the hoop early in the first half against Red Wing’s Nathan Carlson Tuesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Hebrink, who has played under Fadness for four years on the varsity team, said he’s learned a lot from his coach.

“He does a lot for us and he’s taught us a lot of the stuff we know today,” Hebrink said.

Fadness credited the parents he’s worked with and the Packer Fastbreak Club for providing a boost and he also said it’s helped to have some good athletes in the gym.

“The kids are working hard and as long as you keep winning and the kids are excited, things are going to go in the right direction,” Fadness said. “Things are in good shape right now.”

Duoth Gach had 18 points and three assists i the win for the Packers (5-0 overall, 4-0 Big Nine).

Austin’s Gavin Owens runs the perimeter during the first half against Red Wing Tuesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

RW 23  18    41

Austin 52  38    90

Austin scoring: Medi Obang, 23; Duoth Gach, 18; Tate Hebrink, 11; Ngor Deng, 8; LaHenry Gills, 7; Moses Issa, 7; Dongrin Deng, 6; Nyagoa Obany, 4; Logan Braaten, 4; Agwa Obang, 2; free throws: 71 percent (10-for-14); rebounds: 28 (Issa, 5); turnovers: 7

Austin’s Tate Hebrink cuts the corner during the first half Tuesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com