Tag Archives: Minneapolis North

Undefeated Underdogs

22 Mar

That’s what the Austin Packers will be tomorrow night when they square off against top-ranked Minneapolis DeLaSalle.

Austin is 30-0 and therefore obviously hasn’t lost all season. DeLaSalle is 28-1 and hasn’t lost to any team from Minnesota. The Islanders’ only loss this year was to a top team from Kansas. And considering that they are the defending Class AAA state champions, their winning streak against Minnesota competition is now 39 games, dating back to February 7, 2012.

When Austin last came to the state tournament with an undefeated team, it was the 1981 Packers (22-0) facing another undefeated defending state champion from Minneapolis, the North Polars. North was riding a 41-game winning streak and was heavily favored.

Underdog Austin trailed by seven points at halftime. Here’s what happened in the second half:

The next day, Austin beat another undefeated team, Chaska, to advance to the championship game against Anoka. The Packers lost that game and finished 24-1.

DeLaSalle obviously has a great team and deserves its top ranking. The 2013 Packers have faced lots of challenges, and this will be the biggest one. The 1981 Packers join all Austin alumni and the whole community in support of the Packers and in hoping they have their best game yet.


Packers Rally to Stun Top-Ranked Minneapolis North

14 Feb

Here’s our next voyage in the way-back machine, to March 26, 1981. As we left off, the Packers were down 31-24 at halftime to Minneapolis North, the undefeated defending state champions who were riding a 41-game winning streak.

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the first four minutes of the second half, because during halftime of our game the coverage switched to Williams Arena, where the Class A quarterfinals were being played. I’m confident that on March 4 when we have our 30-year reunion we will hear wildly differing recollections of how we clawed our way back into contention, but as we pick up the action below, we had scored three unanswered buckets (no such thing as a trey in the day) to close the gap to 31-30.

Here’s all the good stuff from the rest of the action, and some shots from the crowd that will bring back memories, too:

Next week we’ll have highlights from the 1981 state semifinals against another undefeated team, Chaska.

We look forward to the reunion of the 1981 team on March 4, which coincides with this year’s Packer team playing its last regular season game against Rochester Century before starting its tournament run.



Packer State Tournament “Celebration” Scheduled for March 4

10 Feb

Thirty years ago next month, the Austin Packers – led by Coaches Howie Strey, Klem Haugen and Bill Lloyd – headed north to the St. Paul Civic Center to play in the 1981 Minnesota High School Boys Basketball Tournament.

On March 4, 2011 we’ll be having a reunion, gathering from 5-6:30 p.m. in the loft area at Torge’s at the Holiday Inn in Austin. Then we’ll head over to the school for the Packers’ final regular season game against Rochester Century, cheering the Austin boys on for what we hope will be another tournament run.

We’ll have be a brief ceremony at halftime of the Century game introducing the members of the ’81 team, which entered the state tournament undefeated at 22-0 and faced undefeated defending champion Minneapolis North in the first round. Here are some snippets from the first half of that contest:

We were down 31-24 at halftime, and next week I’ll post highlights from the second half. At the risk of giving away the ending, during the week of Feb. 21 I’ll be posting highlights from our semifinal game against Chaska (another undefeated team), and then in the week before the Century game I’ll have highlights from the championship game against Anoka.

We’ve been in touch with most of the members of the 1981 gang, although we’re still trying to track down a couple (Deryk Stilwell and Mike Pesonen.) If anyone has contact info for Derek or Mike, please pass this link along to them.

We’re looking for RSVPs to aid in planning, so I’m asking 1981 team members to please confirm your attendance by leaving a comment below.

This also is an invitation to others in the community (or our classmates) who would like to reconnect after three decades; if you’d like to join us at Torge’s before the game, please also indicate that in the comments so we have some idea of numbers to expect.

Go Packers!

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