To thank Packer fans for their tremendous support this season, the Austin High School boys’ basketball team and the Packer Fast Break Club are opening their year-end celebration and awards ceremony to the entire community. There is no charge for admission.
KAAL Sports Director Caleb Ostrander will emcee the program, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 26, in Knowlton Auditorium at AHS. Coaches from the younger teams will introduce and recognize their players, and then Packer Head Coach Kris Fadness will reflect on the season and present Varsity awards. Seniors will be recognized and they in turn will present their humorous Captains Awards “roasting” the younger team members.
A reception will follow the program, and Packer players will be serving cookies and punch to the community members attending.
The year-end event is customarily just for team members and parents, but Austin basketball fans were a huge factor in the Packers’ great season, including a perfect 11-0 regular season home record and the Packers’ first Big Nine title since 1999, even donning “Sixth Man” T-shirts later in the year. And of course, in the last regular season game, they couldn’t resist storming the floor:
The crowds were huge for the first two section games, which led to two more home wins, and then Packer fans turned the Mayo Civic Center into a sea of red for the section finals (click to enlarge)…
… and while security personnel prevented Packer fans from storming the floor, they were even more delirious in the stands after the game-winning play:
With the Packers in the state tournament for the first time in three decades, Williams Arena was awash in red as well:
The Austin crowd was likely the largest of any of the AAA schools. In fact, John Millea of the Minnesota State High School League said, “The enthusiasm meter was nearly broken by the fans from Austin, who took over Williams Arena to watch their team play at state for the first time in 30 years.” Here’s a sampling of the enthusiasm:
Please join us Monday night to celebrate the return of Austin Packer Basketball to state prominence! Use this Facebook event to let us know you’re coming (and to invite your friends) to help us in planning, but if you’re not on Facebook, please just come anyway!