Austin's Bret Lukes looks to pass in the first half against Mankato East Tuesday night in Packer Gym. -- Eric Johnson/

Packer boys top Mankato East

Published 9:25pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The No. 2 ranked Packers showed how good they can be and how they sometimes let up when they have a big lead in a 75-53 win over Mankato East in a boys basketball game in Packer Gym Tuesday.

The Cougars (3-14 overall, 2-8 Big Nine) opened the second half on a 21-10 run over a 10-minute span and they pulled to within 60-47 with 6:46 left before Austin bounced back.

Austin's Gach Gach is fouled by Mankato East's Jordan Grams during the first half Tuesday night in Packer Gym.

“The second half was a disaster. We did not do a good job of attacking their zone and we didn’t play with any rhythm,” Fadness said. “I thought we went through the motions and it wasn’t good basketball.”

Austin (16-0 overall, 9-0 Big Nine) hasn’t lost a home game in two years, but Fadness doesn’t want his team falling into a comfort zone where they let teams back in the game.

“I don’t want our guys to develop the habit of playing of turning it on and off,” he said. “I want the engine light to always be on. If I would’ve had any guts I would’ve put in our whole JV team in the second half.”

The Packers finally got back into the game when Tom Aase hit a pair of free throws and then he threw down a two-handed jam on an alley-oop pass from Collin Weisert to make it 67-47 with 4:38 left in the game.

The Packer student section had been seated before the dunk, but the slam ignited the crowd.

“That gave us some more energy. Before that everybody was sitting down and after that dunk, everybody got back on their feet,” said Austin guard Bret Lukes, who had three points and six assists.

Austin's Ajuda Nywesh puts a shot up off the break against Mankato East's Brock Margenthaler during the first half Tuesday night in Packer Gym.

Lukes said the Packers hope a second half letdown doesn’t cost them any games this season and the squad will work on getting better in the future.

“We must’ve just lost momentum or something,” he said. “We had a good lead, but we just went flat in the second half. We’ve just got to get a good practice in and get prepared for Owatonna.”

The Cougars jumped out to a 10-5 lead to open the game, but the Packers responded with a 12-0 run and they never trailed again.

Zach Wessels had 16 points and seven rebounds for Austin and Tom Aase had 16 points and five rebounds.

ME 26 27 — 53

Austin 48 27 — 75

Austin scoring: Zach Wessels, 16; Tom Aase, 16; Joe Aase, 12; Ajuda Nywesh, 10; Collin Weisert, 6; Gach Gach, 5; Bret Lukes, 3; Tommy Olmsted, 3; Curtis Oberbroeckling, 2; free throws: 80 percent (12-for-15); rebounds: 23 (Wessels, 7); turnovers: 9

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