Packers douse Fire in boys’ state semifinals
Published 12:17 am Friday, March 14, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS — The Packers are playing as loose and as confident as just about any team in the state, but they out-did their own expectations in the Class AAA state boys’ basketball semifinals in Target Center Thursday.
The Packers (28-3 overall) dominated in just about every statistical category as they took over from the start in a 70-42 win over Holy Family Catholic to get back to the state finals for the second consecutive season.
The Packers, who played in the last three state tournaments, will get a title-game rematch with DeLaSalle Saturday at 6 p.m. in Target Center. The Islanders ended Austin’s season last year.
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Austin point guard Zach Wessels opened the door early on and the rest of his teammates walked right in. Wessels, who finished with 14 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals, scored on three early athletic finishes to put the Packers up 15-5 in the game’s first five minutes. Holy Family never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“Their guards weren’t as good as their tall guys,” Wessels said. “They were still good. We just kept our pressure up and got it to them.”
Austin forced 25 turnovers in the win as it held the Fire (28-3 overall) to 36 percent shooting from the field. Austin had a 38-20 lead at the half, and it played even better in the second half. The Packers opened the half on a 21-9 spurt that broke the game open. Gach Gach hit a contested 3-pointer and threw down a one-handed jam that turned into a three-point play when he was fouled.
“It just happened,” Gach said of the blowout. “We played every possession as it was our last, and we wanted to blow them out early in the second half. We wanted to get guys in the game and everybody got some action tonight.”