In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Austin Packers boys basketball team was looking to get back on the winning track versus New Prague at the Lakeville North Holiday Basketball Invitational Friday evening, and Ater Manyuon tallied 24 points and Jacob Herrick added 20 as the Packers held off a second half rally by the Trojans to win going away 85-73.
Austin jumped out to an 11-5 lead to start the game, only to see New Prague answer back with a 9-3 run of their own to tie the game at 14 apiece. After a 3-pointer from George Songe put the Trojans in front for the first time in the game at 19-17, the Packers later took the lead back for good, it would turn out, on a short field goal from Manyuon to make the score 27-25. After a steal by Manyuon, one of seven in the game for the Packers on the next New Prague possession, a 3-pointer from Herrick pushed Austin’s lead to 30-25, and another 3-pointer from Herrick with :50 seconds left in the half later boosted the Packer lead to 36-30. A 6-foot jumper from Ben Diang a short time later, with an assist to Herrick gave Austin a 38-30 lead at the half.
The Packers got out to a quick start to begin the second half as two more 3-pointers from Herrick, who tallied five in the game, and a field goal from Manyuon keyed a quick 8-2 Austin run to start the half and gave the Packers their biggest lead of the game to that point at 46-32, but the Trojans would not go quietly into the night as they answered back with a 21-9 run of their own, capped off by a pair of baskets from guard Henry Novak to cut Austin’s lead to 55-53. Austin had the answer in the personage of guards A’Triel Terry and Andrew Clausman, however, as a short jumper from Terry and back-to-back hoops from Clausman quickly boosted the Packer lead back to seven at 60-53. Terry scored again from close range a short time later to give Austin a 62-55 lead, and a 20-footer from guard Jack Lang for three gave Austin a 10-point lead again at 65-55. Austin’s lead would dip under 10 points only once the rest of the way on a jumper from Songe to make the score 65-57, but a layup from Diang on the next Packer possession pushed the lead back to 10 at 67-57, and pressure defense from Austin, which forced 26 New Prague turnovers for the game, plus 14 second-half points from guard Manny Guy helped Austin salt away the win Friday night.
Besides 24 points from Manyuon, 20 from Herrick and 14 from Guy, Jack Lang and A’Triel Terry each added six points apiece for the Packers Friday night, Morries Jabateh and Andrew Clausman each tallied five points, Ben Diang scored four points and Buai Duop tallied two points in the win. Another factor in Austin’s victory Friday night was free-throw shooting, as the Packers went 16-20 from the charity stripe for 80%.
With the win, Austin heads into the 2023 portion of their schedule with a record of 5-2, and their first game of the new year will be played next Tuesday at Packer Gym versus Albert Lea in a Big 9 Conference matchup, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. that evening.