Minnesota team reaches state for first time in 30 years with buzzer-beater backdoor slam

Cameron Smith

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a team that earns its first trip to state in 30 years with flair.

The play you see in the video above was drawn up by Austin (Minn.) High, a school which has toiled for some 30 years without reaching the state round of the playoffs (beginning with the final eight teams remaining), falling in the sectional rounds in each year when they did qualify for the postseason. This time the Packers got the job done thanks to an incredible backdoor slam by Tom Aase a split second before time expired in Austin's 43-41 victory against New Prague (Minn.) High, a win which earned the Packers the Class AAA Section 1 title.

As it turns out, the game-winning bucket even gave Aase a chance to earn some comeuppance on a rival who had been dogging him all game.

"When the ball swung back to the perimeter, they all chased [Austin star Zach Wessels] and I went to the hoop," Tom Aase told the Austin Post-Bulletin.  "[New Prague leading scorer Trevor O'Brien] was talking trash to me the whole game, so it was nice to send him home crying."

That Wessels would have a hand in the game-winning play could come as little surprise. The Packers star led his team with 19 points, 14 of them coming in the second half, when he almost singlehandedly kept Austin in the game.

Of course, that left New Prague confident that Wessels would take the Packers' final attempt with the clock running down. If he didn't, surely they figured the ball wouldn't go to Aase, a junior who had struggled against O'Brien all game and been held to two points (before his game-concluding slam).

Everyone now knows that Aase is precisely the man who received the ball, just in time to elevate for what may be the most immaculately timed alley-oop dunks the state of Minnesota has ever seen.

"We've run that play before and it always seems to work," Austin coach Kris Fadness told the Post-Bulletin. "I figured Tom would be free, because he wasn't doing much scoring. It was a good screen and a good delivery. New Prague gave us a battle and we had to earn every basket. The guys hung in there and it's about time we won a section title."

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