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Big Nine rivals Austin, Winona square off in Section 1AAA title game

Defense and rebounding could be a big factor in the Section 1AAA boys basketball title game between No. 1 Austin and No. 3 Winona

Jasper Hedin dribbles the ball.jpg
Winona's Jasper Hedin dribbles the ball up court against Stewartville during Section 1AAA boys basketball semifinal play on Saturday, March 12, 2022 in Stewartville. Winona will face Austin in the section title game on Friday, March 18, 2022, at Mayo Civic Arena. Hedin is averaging 21.1 points per game this season.
Guy N. Limbeck / Post Bulletin

Section 1AAA Boys Basketball

WHAT: Section 1AAA championship game

WHO: No. 1 seed Austin (16-12) vs. No. 3 Winona (18-10)

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Mayo Civic Center Arena

THE MATCHUP: Austin has defeated Big Nine Conference foe Winona twice this season in a pair of tight games — 55-48 and 83-76 in overtime — but the third meeting will have more importance. The winner will advance to the Class AAA state tournament.

Austin coach Kris Fadness is also trying to extend his career by earning one more state tournament berth. He will retire following the season. Fadness anticipates the game being more like the first contest between the two teams, lower scoring.

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“I would expect a defensive battle and a possession-by-possession game,” he said.

Winona coach Kyle Martin agrees and said the bigger floor at Mayo Civic Arena should also be a factor. Both coaches say that defense and rebounding could be the key. Austin uses a zone defense and tries to wear teams down and create turnovers with a full-court press.

“We thrive off of turnovers and if we get them, we’re pretty good,” Fadness said. “When we don’t get them, it’s usually a dog fight. For us that’s a huge part of the game.”

“I think the key is to control the ball and not turn it over,” Martin said. “They’re long, they’re lanky, they’re athletic and they’re a really good team.”

Austin will have to try to limit Jasper Hedin, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward who is an elite scorer and all-around player for the Winhawks. For Austin, Cham Okey has had two big games against the Winhawks this season.

“But they’re a threat from outside everywhere,” Martin said. “So we’re going to try and lock them up, run a little zone, a little man (defense). It depends on how they’re shooting.”

Winona prides itself on defense and rebounding and the Winhawks aren’t afraid to aggressively go for offensive rebounds.

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“For us it’s going to come down to two things: rebounding and turnovers,” Fadness said. “Winona is a very good rebounding team and they are very physical defensively .”

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Austin leaders: Victor Idris 12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.7 apg,1.2 bpg; Cham Okey 11.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.6 apg; Kaden Murley 7.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg; Gage Manahan 7.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 3.9 spg, Jack Lang 6.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg. Team: Score 62.8 ppg., allow 55.6; has won two straight games.

Winona leaders: Jasper Hedin 21.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.5 apg; Bryan Cassellius 13.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg; Shane Scharmach 8.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg; Marcus Winter 7.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg. 2.5 apg; Brandon Butenhoff 2.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg. Team: Score 59.8 ppg., allow 54.0; has won six straight games.

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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