The Austin Packers boys basketball team, the No. 2 seed in the Section 1AAA tournament played host to No. 7 seed Red Wing in the tournament quarterfinals at Packer Gym Tuesday evening, and it was the Packers starting the defense of their section title with a resounding 79-40 win.
Austin bolted out of the gate to start as they moved the ball crisply on offense against Red Wing’s 2-3 zone, and their defense stymied the Wingers to the tune of an 18-5 lead with 13:30 left in the first half. The Packers kept their foot on the gas and pushed their lead to as large as 28 at 41-13 late in the half, but the Wingers were able to close the half on an 8-0 run to make the score 41-21 Austin at the halftime break. Red Wing kept the momentum they gained at the end of the first half going to start the second stanza as they opened the half on an 8-2 run to creep as close as 14 at 43-29, but the Packers then refocused themselves and went on a game-clinching 13-2 run on their way to the win.
14 different Packers broke into the scoring column Tuesday night, led by senior guard Ater Manyuon, who scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half, plus he added three rebounds, two assists, a team-high four steals and a blocked shot, fellow senior guard Jack Lang drained three of Austin’s 13 3-point field goals to tally nine points, plus he added six rebounds, a team-high six assists, two steals and a blocked shot, senior forward Buai Duop chipped in eight points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot, guard Dane Mitchell swished two 3-pointers on his way to eight points, Manny Guy contributed six points, five rebounds and two assists, Isaac Osgood tallied five points, a team-high seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, Ben Diang also scored five points, Andrew Clausman, Jacob Herrick and Cameron Swenson all drained a 3-pointer for three points apiece and Dakota Retterath, Morries Jabateh, Jackson Clausman and Otong Nyikew all scored two points apiece in the win that saw the Packers outrebound the Wingers 38-18, they also tallied 23 assists to six for Red Wing, plus Austin also came away with 14 steals to six for the Wingers, and the Packers also forced 21 Red Wing turnovers to 16 of their own.
With the win, Austin is now 17-10 on the season, and the Packers will now host No. 3 seed Winona in the Section 1AAA semifinals at Packer Gym on Saturday night, as the Winhawks downed No. 6 seed Kasson/Mantorville 79-53 Tuesday evening. You’ll hear the game live on AM 1480 KAUS, with the pre-game show coming your way at 6:40 p.m., and tip-off will be at 7 p.m. The other 1AAA semifinal Saturday night will pit top-seeded Stewartville hosting No. 4 seed Byron, as the Tigers blew past eighth-seeded Faribault 69-29, while the Bears crushed No. 5 seed Albert Lea 85-37.
The winners from Saturday night will play for the Section 1AAA title on Friday, March 17th at the Mayo Civic Center Arena in Rochester at 6 p.m. that evening.