Agwa Nywesh tallied a game-high 30 points, including the eventual game-winning layup with .8 seconds left to lift the Austin Packers past the Rochester Mayo Spartans 78-77 Monday night in Big 9 Conference boys’ basketball at a jam-packed Packer Gym.
Austin, the No. 9 ranked team in the state in Class AAA started out quickly as Nywesh scored 12 of the Packers first 15 points to help Austin to an early 15-5 lead. After a Mayo timeout, the Packers did not let up and pushed their lead to as large as 18 at 29-11 before Mayo recovered and showed why they average just over 81 ponits a game as they drilled five 3-pointers to cut the Packer lead at one point to seven at 33-26. Austin, though, rallied right back and ended the half on an 11-2 run to lead 44-28 at halftime.
The second half saw Austin maintain their double-digit lead until about midway through the half when the 3-point barrage by Mayo started their comeback. They kept whittling down the Packer lead with eight 3-pointers, and the eighth three of the half from Andre Crockett cut Austin’s lead to 76-74 with under a minute to go. The Packers then tried to move the ball and drain the clock to force Mayo to foul, but a turnover with :23 seconds left gave the Spartans a chance to tie or take the lead. As they did all night long, Mayo looked for a three and worked the ball to Mason Madsen, who swished a three, the ninth of the the half for the Spartans from the top of the arc 22 feet from the basket to give Mayo a 77-76 lead with under :10 to go. The Packers quickly came back down the court as a runner by Nywesh on a drive down the lane was no good, and the ensuing battle for the rebound saw the ball carom off the Spartans and out of bounds with 1.4 seconds to play. Austin head coach Kris Fadness then called timeout, and the Packers drew up a play with Hovland inbounding the ball…
The ensuing free throw for Nywesh was no good, and the Spartans snared the rebound and called timeout with .7 seconds left. Hovland quickly put to rest any chance of a miracle hoop for Mayo, though, as he stole the ensuing inbounds pass at the half-court stripe to ice the win for Austin.
Besides Nywesh’s 30 points, Moses Idris added 13 points for the Packers while Okey Okey scored 12 points, Victor Idris chipped in with eight, Teyghan Hovland added seven, Pierre Lilly drilled two 3-pointers in the first half for six points and Lero Oman tallied two points. Rochester Mayo was led by the Madsen brothers, Mason and Gabe, as Mason scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half, while Gabe added 17. Michael Sharp added 15 for the Spartans, who wound up hitting 14 3-pointers in the game.
Austin moves to 11-3 in the Big 9 Conference and 14-3 overall on the season, and they move past Mayo into second place in the confernence behind Mankato East, who is 12-0 in the Big 9. The Packers are back into action Thursday night in Mankato against the West Scarlets, with the varsity tip-off at 7:30 p.m.