Packers edged out: freshman gives Austin boys basketball team a spark in home loss
Published 11:03 pm Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Packer boys basketball team has been looking for offense and they may have found out it in a freshman guard.
Austin freshman Both Gach scored his first varsity points and then some as he poured in 18 points to give the Packers a chance, but it wasn’t quite enough. New Prague out-rebounded the Packers (1-2 overall) and they made some big plays down the stretch to edge out Austin 58-56.
The Trojans (3-3 overall) took the lead for good when Malik Jallah hit a baseline 3-pointer to make it 54-52 with 2:11 left in the game. Austin had taken a 54-52 lead after Both, who is the younger brother of Austin senior Gach Gach, and Dylan Gasner had hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
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Both, who went 5-for-8 on 3-pointers, added three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“I was ready to play,” Both said. “After I made my first three, I just kept on shooting and my brother really helped me out by finding me in the corner. It was pretty fun.”
Austin head coach Kris Fadness said the team had to make some changes after it scored just seven points in the first half of a loss at Faribault Tuesday. The Packers also gave sophomore Oman Oman his first minutes of the season and senior Noah Brehmer stepped up by scoring 11 points.
“Both was really good tonight, and that’s the way he’s been shooting the ball all year,” Fadness said. “We were worried about him handing the pace and the physicality but tonight he showed he can play varsity basketball. He’s a fixture, at least for awhile now. I was very happy with Noah. He might not have finished all of shots, but he was doing all of the right things out there.”
The Packers had their chances, but they missed a couple of go-ahead 3-pointers in the last minute of the game. They may have hurt themselves the most with slow starts in each half. New Prague opened the game on a 8-0 run and the Packers didn’t score until Nik Gasner hit a 3-pointer with 12:10 left in the first half and Austin had just one field goal in the first four minutes of the second half.
“The biggest problems were mental mistakes and lost possessions,” Fadness said. “We started the game with nine possessions where we got no points out of them and the second half we started slow. We can’t keep having that many empty possessions in a row.”
Austin forced 22 turnovers in the loss, but it was out-rebounded 35-18. Both said the team has to improve its play if it wants to get back on track.
“We’ve got to work harder and we’ve got to make more out of our possessions when we have the ball,” he said.
Fadness said the Packers need to embrace themselves for their opponents’ best shot in every single game.
“Our guys gotta understand that we’ve been beating the dog out of people for the last three to five years and they’re going to come after us,” he said. “We’re not going to have an easy game and we’ve got to get some things figured out.”
NP 28 30 — 58
Austin 26 30 — 56
Austin scoring: Both Gach, 18; Noah Brehmer, 11; Gach Gach, 7; NIk Gasner, 7; Dylan Gasner, 6; Levi Vierkandt, 2; Zach Coffey, 2; field goals: 42 percent (21-for-50); 3-pointers: 38 percent (10-for-26); free throws: 66 percent (4-for-6); rebounds: 18 (Gach Gach, 5); turnovers: 12