The Northfield Raiders overcame multiple double digit deficits Friday night but came up just short in a 74-72 loss to the Austin Packers in the Section 1AAA title game in Rochester.  The game was held in the more intimate Auditorium and the atmosphere was awesome with a sellout crowd witnessing a very intense, physical game.

Packer Head Coach Kris Fadness said before the game he was a bit concerned, his team had not played a game in a week and because they received the top seed and had a bye they had not played much the past couple weeks.  Austin came out focused and on fire from three point range and jumped out to a lead of over 20 points before Northfield made their first comeback.

The score at the half was 38-25 in favor of the Packers.  Northfield Head Coach Andy Berkvam told KDHL he was so proud of how his team battled and executed whatever the coaches asked them to do.  At the half Coach Berkvam reminded his team when they played in Austin his team had a double digit lead at the half and lost.

Austin scored 14 points off turnovers in the first half but Northfield made better passes in the second half and was stronger with the ball resulting in just a couple turnovers in the second half .

I said before the game the Raiders would have to score at least double the points of the Packers in the Professional Pride Realty of Northfield paint.  The final tally was 38-20.

I also felt Northfield needed to score over 20 points at the free throw line and they finished with 17.  Austin had 10 points on 14 attempts.  The Raiders had 21 attempts from the charity stripe.

Northfield senior Alex Rasmussen hit a monster three late to make it a one possession game but the Packers led from start to finish.  6'4 Austin senior Nyagoa Obany made some clutch free throws in the final 90 seconds.

After it appeared the game was over the officials placed 1.1 seconds on the clock and Northfield was called for a foul without any time going off the clock.    The Austin free throw was missed, 6'6 junior Mason Zick rebounded under the Austin basket and heaved the ball toward the Raider basket.   When the rock left his hand it appeared to me to have a chance to go in but it hit the front of the backboard to the right of the basket and hit the floor and the game was over.

Packer Head Coach Kris Fadness said Northfield took advantage of his team's lack of discipline in the second half and it nearly cost his team the game.

Austin connected on 8 three point shots in the first half and 6 more in the second while Northfield finished with 5 three pointers.

All five starters for the Packers scored double digits led by Doth Gach with 16 points.  Gach had just two baskets in the second half.

Rasmussen ended the game with 21 points, 18 of them in the second half.   Zick had 17.  6'7 Senior Mason Otterdahl had 15 points including a one handed flush that got the Northfield crowd rocking and junior Mitchell Stanchina finished with 10 points.

The Packers became the second Big Nine team to punch their ticket to the State Boys Tournament next week.  Mankato East is also making the trip and the Rochester John Marshall Rockets play Lakeville North Saturday in Rochester for a berth into the tourney.

For the 70th year KDHL Radio will be providing baseline to baseline coverage of the boys tournament with four games each day Wednesday through Saturday.

KDHL will also be broadcasting the Section 1 Class 4A title game between the Panthers and Rockets Saturday with coverage beginning 12:45 p.m.

Northfield's Alex Rasmussen -L and Austin's Doth Gach During Medal Presentation. Photo by Jim Wellbrock
Northfield Raider Mason Zick. Photo by Jim Wellbrock
Northfield Raider Mitchell Stanchina Going to Basket. Photo by Jim Wellbrock