The Austin Packers boys basketball team, the No. 8 team in the state in Class AAA in the pre-season top 20 from the Minnesota Basketball News traveled to Section 1AAA rival Byron Saturday to take on the Bears in the 2022-2023 season opener for both squads, and it was the Packers draining 11 3-pointers and their defense holding the Bears to 37% shooting in a 73-51 win in their first game under new Head Coach Jamaal Gibson.
The Packers led 40-21 at the half and were 30 for 62 from the field for the game for 48%, and a blistering 11 of 30 from behind the 3-point arc for 37%. Austin also outrebounded Byron 34-30 and were victorious by 22 despite turning the ball over 20 times compared to seven for the Bears, and Byron was also 16 of 26 for 62% from the free-throw line compared to the Packers, who were 2 for 2. Austin, though, came up with 12 steals defensively to four for the Bears, and the Packers dished out 20 assists as a team to only three for Byron.
Austin had three players in double figures, led by veteran guard Jack Lang, who tallied 15 points on five 3-pointers, plus he added three assists, three rebounds and a steal, Manny Guy, another veteran guard for the Packers scored 14 points to go with his four rebounds, four assists and two steals, guard Ater Manyuon tallied 12 points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist, Jacob Herrick added eight points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals, Morris Jabateh scored five points to go with four steals, which was tops for the club Saturday, three rebounds and two assists, veteran forward Buai Duop tallied four points, seven rebounds, which led Austin the contest, one assist and one blocked shot, Andrew Clausman chipped in three points, and Dane Mitchell and Peyton Ransom each scored two points apiece in the win.
The Packers open the season with a record of 1-0, and they will travel to Mankato for their first Big 9 matchup of the season Tuesday evening versus the East Cougars, the No. 9 team in the state in Class AAA in the pre-season top 20, with the varsity tip-off at 7:30 p.m.