AUSTIN, Minnesota -- Three years, three straight titles. After defeating Northfield last Thursday, the Austin Packers are kings of Section AAA once more.
"It feels so great, that was a tough game it was hard," junior forward Agwa Nywesh said. "But we competed and fought through the end, that's all I could ask for."
With time winding down, the Raiders had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. But clutch defense by the Packers forced Northfield without a shot, a heartstopping moment for Nywesh.
"Oh yeah my heart was just beating so fast," Nywesh said. "All we could do was just defend our hardest and it worked."
Austin played in another state tournament today, defeating Monticello 68-52 in the 3A quarterfinals. After losing a chunk of starters last season, some didn't expect them to make it back this far.
"You know each year you get a new group and we returned one starter from last year so to get back there with this group it feels pretty special they're a good group of kids," Packers Head Coach Kris Fadness said.
Austin contends for state titles each season, a testiment to their program. Fadness says the sport is these kids' way of life.
"For our kids, for a lot of them this is their way of life," Fadness said "We're hoping that basketball can help them get an education and help them move on in life, figure some things out. But they are truly passionate about basketball, they live and die it, they hang out at the [YMCA] and the gym. We have to kick them out of the gym at night so we can go home."
The next step for the team? State champions. The Packers face Waseca in the semifinals tomorrow at the Target Center at 2 p.m.