The atmosphere was festive at a packed Owatonna High School gym Friday night as a large contingent from Austin accompanied the Packers for the first-place showdown against the Huskies. The Owatonna Peoples Press tweeted:
Huge crowd here for this one. Austin has the biggest visiting student section ive seen here in a long time.
Austin held the lead for most of the game, taking a 20-15 halftime lead and stretching it to 26-19 about halfway through the second half, but Owatonna outscored the Packers 20-8 the rest of the way en route to a 39-34 win.
The Packers are now a half-game behind the Huskies and in sole possession of second place, a full game ahead of Mankato East, 66-65 winners over Rohcester Century Friday night.
Joe Aase had 11 points for the Packers on Friday, while Zach Wessels had 8, Zach Vierkandt 7, Tom Aase and Bret Lukes 3 each and Nate Schwab 2.
Here are the video highlights. The reference to the second-half charging call on Goliath Oboyo might be a little overstated, but it was clearly a momentum changer. Instead of the Packers being up 22-17 and shooting a free throw, the basket was wiped off and the Huskies scored to come within a point at 20-19.
The Packers return to action Tuesday night at Albert Lea, where they look to complete their sixth straight season sweep of the Tigers. See Albert Lea Tribune sports editor Andrew Dyrdal’s excellent review of the last decade of the Albert Lea-Austin rivalry: Red, black & blue.