Packers win third straight

Defense was once again the catalyst for a home win by the Austin Packers boys basketball team.

The opening minutes between the visiting Waseca Bluejays and the Packers were close until they put the press on. The Packers went on a huge run and rolled to a 58-33 win on Tuesday night.

Austin led 7-6 with 9:30 to play in the first half, when Tom Aase hit a shot to spark a huge run. The Packers would race out to a 23-2 run over the next six minutes and put the game away by halftime.

"Our defensive pressure created turnovers and we got some run outs on the break," Austin coach Kris Fadness said. "We were active on defense and it was nice to see Joe Aase get into a little offensive rhythm in the first half. We experimented with some things over the break and were able to implement the new sets into the offense."

Zach Vierkandt scored after a turnover and Bret Lukes hit a pair of free throws to extend the Packers lead. A steal by Zach Wessels followed and he made a free throw for a 14-6 lead. Jacob Sass hit a hoop for the Bluejays and then, the Packers scored the next 16 points.


Steals by the Austin guards fueled this run. Joe Aase hit a jumper and Wessels added a basket off a steal. Another turnover led to a three-pointer from Vierkandt. Joe Aase followed with another long ball and it was a 24-8 lead with six minutes left in the half.

The lead soon reached 20 points and beyond for the Packers. The Bluejays finally stopped the run, but the steals never seemed to cease for the Packers. Goliath Oboyo snagged a steal and took it the other way for a 32-10 lead. Lukes added a hoop for a 24-point lead at halftime.

"We started slow, but then picked up the energy level and started making steals," Oboyo said. "Once we got the press going, then it was a like a train rolling down the tracks and we couldn't be stopped. The fans got loud when we went on that run and they helped us out out a lot."

The lead for the Packers never dipped below 20 points the rest of the way. The Bluejays hit a couple of shots to open the second half and crept a bit closer, but a three-pointer from Lukes shot the lead to 25 at seven minutes into the second half.

A few minutes later, Oboyo got a steal and scored at the other end to put the Packers lead at its zenith of 29 points. Joe Aase scored a total of 10 points on the night and was the only player on either team to reach double figures.

"Right now, the defense is keying us on this three-game win streak," Fadness concluded. "We had some good offensive possessions where we moved the ball around and found the open shooter. Vierkandt gave us a nice lift off the bench and the team played well in front of the home fans."

Austin (5-2 overall) tries to make it four straight wins in a road game on Friday night against Mankato West.




Jacob Sass 8, Shane Streich 8, Brock Kolander 6, Zach Hiller 5, Mitch DeKruif 3, Thomas O'Neill 3.


Joe Aase 10, Zach Wessels 9, Bret Lukes 9, Nathan Schwab 8, Tom Aase 7, Goliath Oboyo 4, Zach Vierkandt 7, Collin Weisert 4.

Halftime:Austin 34, Waseca 10.

Three-point goals:WAS 5 (Streich 2, O'Neill 1, Hiller 1, DeKruif 1). AUS 4 (J.Aase 2, Lukes 1, Vierkandt 1).

Free throws:Waseca 2-9, Austin 4-8.

Rebounds:WAS 32 (Sass 14); AUS 28 (T.Aase 6).


Turnovers:Waseca 26, Austin 12.

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