Packers sweeep season series from Tigers

Austin fans were wearing their "Turn Up the Aase" shirts for Friday night's boys basketball game and the cousins didn't disappoint the faithful as they led a rout over Albert Lea.

Tom Aase scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Austin Packers in the Big Nine Conference game. Joe Aase added 15 points and a trio of blocked shots in the 62-41 win.

It was Senior Night at the Packers Gym and this tradition altered the starting lineup a bit. After the visiting Tigers took an initial 5-0 lead, the Packers got rolling on the offense end.

Senior point guard Zach Fadness hit a three-pointer to get the home team started on an 11-0 run. Joe Aase then scored inside and Tom Aase made a pair of free throws to give Austin the lead. Joe Aase followed with a basket and two free throws as the Packers led the rest of the way.

"We turned up the defensive pressure and it was nice to see the team play so well," Austin coach Kris Fadness said. "We moved really well and passed crisply. Tom did a good job with a double-double and Joe carried us in the first half."


Josh Eisenbraun of the Tigers hit a trey to temporarily stop the Packers run, but it would get no closer. Joe Aase drove to the hoop to spark another run. Senior forward Nathan Weisert canned a trey and the Packers began to run away.

Right from the start, the Packers utilized full-court defensive pressure and it wreaked havoc on the Tigers backcourt. Austin guards Jay Ettinger, Fadness, and Zach Wessels swarmed the Albert Lea ballhandlers to ignite the transition game.

A steal by Fadness led to a jumper from Max Coffey and an 18-11 lead. Ettinger next grabbed a steal and fed the ball ahead to Wessels, who buried a trey to push the lead into double-digits with four minutes left in the first half.

"Coming into the game, we knew that our press was the key," Ettinger said. "We wanted to create steals and get the ball out in transition. We had some troubles at the start, but then came on strong. It's always good to beat Albert Lea."

After a basket by the Tigers, the Packers raced off on another 12-4 run to close the first half. Joe canned a trey with two minutes left as he scored 13 points in the first half. Tom Aase began to heat up as he hit a three-pointer and then, scored inside to end the half with a big lead.

Despite their rough finish to the first half, the Tigers came out on a run to open the second half. Kyle Ooms got a steal and scored at the other end off a two-handed dunk. The visitors scored the first seven points of the second half and got their deficit under double-digits.

The dunk apparently annoyed the Packers, so they resumed their defensive thievery and blew the game open. Wessels converted on the fastbreak and added a free throw to push the lead back into double figures. It stayed there the rest of the way.

"Albert Lea came out with energy to open the second half, but we weathered their run and Wessels made a nice three-point play," coach Fadness said. "After that we took off and put them away. I saw a lot of good things from our guys on the floor. We had a big crowd and I'm happy the guys put on a good show."


Once again steals were the difference as the Packers put the game away with a 13-2 run over a three-minute span. After another steal by Wessels, the home team got a trey from Tom Aase.

Ettinger continued the fun with a steal and a pair of free throws. The Tigers got a bucket, but Tom Aase followed with a basket off an offensive rebound. He added a free throw on the play and a short time later, bombed in a long ball from beyond the arc.

"It was open in the middle of their defense and we were determined to go inside," Tom Aase said. "After than dunk, we got kind of mad and put the hammer down. We were getting open shots off the press and it was great to beat Albert Lea for our seniors."

Down the stretch, the Packers poured it on to sweep the season series from the Tigers. A basket from Joe Aase put the lead at 20 points with 11 minutes left. Tom Aase kept his hot touch and added a couple of more hoops. Ettinger then buried a three to put the lead at its zenith of 28 points.

Austin (13-10 overall, 11-6 Big Nine) finishes the regular season next Friday night at home against Rochester Century.

Austin 62, Albert Lea 41


Kyle Ooms 9, Dylan See-Rockers 7, Cameron Hove 6, Josh Eisenbraun 6, Tyler Wichmann 5, Aaron Klatt 2, Luke Ellis 2, Cameron Solie 2, Silas Randall 2.



Tom Aase 19, Joe Aase 15, Zach Wessels 8, Quinn Yocom 4, Jay Ettinger 5, Zach Fadness 3, Nathan Weisert 3, Caleb Knorr 2, Max Coffey 3.

Halftime:Austin 33, AL 17.

Free throws:AL 5-6, Austin 13-16.

Three-point goals:AL 4 (Eisenbraun 2, Rockers 1, Wichmann 1). AUS 7 (T.Aase 2, Fadness 1, J.Aase 1, Ettinger 1, Wessels 1, N.Weisert 1).

What To Read Next
Get Local