In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Austin Packers boys basketball team was in search of win number four in a row on their home floor Tuesday evening as they played host to Big 9 Conference and Section 1AAA foe Winona, and in a game that saw the Packers build a 25-point lead early in the second half, the club was able to hold off a comeback attempt from the Winhawks in a 69-58 win.
Winona took a 5-0 lead to start the game, but Austin came back to take a 9-7 lead on a 3-pointer from Peyton Ransom with 11:51 to go, one of eight the Packers would register in the first half. Austin wound up going on a 17-4 run to take a 22-11 lead, and they were able to build their lead to as large as 14 points at 30-16 before the Winhawks came back to score seven unanswered to cut the deficit to 30-23 late in the half. Austin had an answer, however, as the Packers closed out the half on a 9-2 run of their own to push their lead back to 14 at the half at 39-25.
Austin kept the momentum from the end of the first half going into the start of the second, as they opened the half on an 11-3 run to push their lead to 50-28. The Packers would increase their lead to 25 at 55-30 before the Winhawks started slowly cutting the deficit, as led by the scoring of 6’7″ center Jackson Harvey, who scored 22 of his 34 points in the second half, and by a defense that forced 11 second-half turnovers, the Winhawks crept as close as 10 in the latter stages of the half at 64-54. Winona cut the lead to eight points at 66-58 with 44.5 seconds left, but two crucial 3-point baskets down the stretch from Cole Hebrink and Isaac Osgood, plus three free throws late from Osgood and Ransom helped the Packers hold off the comeback attempt and secure the win.
Osgood drained four of Austin’s 12 3-pointers in the game to lead the Packers in scoring Tuesday night with 18 points, Peyton Ransom tallied 16 points, sophomore guard J’Dan Stevens was also in double figures with 11 points, Cole Hebrink swished three 3’s for nine points, Dakota Retterath registered eight points, Jackson Clausman scored four points, and Banyaan Omot tallied three points in the winning effort.
With their fourth win in a row, the Packers are now 4-5 in the Big 9 Conference and 5-8 overall on the season, and Austin returns to action in Mankato Friday night versus the East Cougars, the No. 2 team in the state in Class AAA in the latest poll from the Minnesota Basketball News. Varsity tip-off for Friday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.