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Nywesh kick-starts Packers to a big win over Winona

Austin's Ajuda Nywesh battles for a loose ball with Winona's Drew Thompson in Packer Gym Friday. -- Rocky Hylne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Ajuda Nywesh battles for a loose ball with Winona’s Drew Thompson in Packer Gym Friday. — Rocky Hylne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin senior Ajuda Nywesh put on a shooting display to remember as the Packers boys beat Winona 62-46 in Packer Gym on senior night Friday.

Nywesh poured in 17 points in the first seven minutes of the game as he led No. 4 ranked Austin to a 17-8 lead. He went 5-for-6 on 3s and 6-for-7 on field goals in the first half and he finished with a game-high 26 points.

Austin's Bret Lukes maintains control of the ball as Winona's Blake Watts reaches in during a basketball game in Packer Gym Friday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Bret Lukes maintains control of the ball as Winona’s Blake Watts reaches in during a basketball game in Packer Gym Friday. — Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

“It’s confidence and if your confidence is there, you make shots. My teammates were looking for me and I give them credit,” Nywesh said. “We just had to come out quick and play our game.”

Nywesh also had 20 points in the first half in Austin’s 75-46 win over Rochester Century last Friday. He has a total of 54 points and 13 3-pointers in his last two contests combined.

“It was just like Century,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “Ajuda came out on fire and we moved the ball pretty well against their zone. We look good when we make shots. I’m happy for Ajuda that he’s played as well as he has the last two games. He seems to be taking it to another level.”

Winona (11-9 overall, 7-6 Big Nine) made a 7-0 second half run to get as close as 42-35, but Curtis Oberbroeckling converted a 3-point play to make to ignite a 13-0 Packer run that put the game out of reach.

Zach Wessels had 14 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals in the win and Nik Gasner had 12 points on four 3-pointers.

The Packers (17-3 overall, 12-0 Big Nine) will now play six games in 14 days and five of those contests are on the road.

“It’s time to buckle down,” Nywesh said. “We’ve got to give it all we’ve got every time we’re on the court, away or home.”

Austin maintains a one-game lead on Rochester John Marshall in the Big Nine Conference, but the Packers, who have won the last two Big Nine titles, still have six conference games to play.

“We’ve got a tough road and our first goal is to have a shot at the conference,” Fadness said. “I just want us to stay in the moment and not worry about tournament play. I just want to stay focused on today.”

Winona 21 21 — 42

Austin 37 25 — 62

Austin scoring: Ajuda Nywesh, 26; Zach Wessels, 14; Nik Gasner, 14; Bret Lukes, 5; Curtis Oberbroeckling, 5; free throws: 100 percent (3-for-3); rebounds: 21 (Wessels, 6); turnovers: 5