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Boys basketball: Packers knocked off by KoMets

Austin's Levi Vierkandt pulls up for a jumper off dribble against Kasson-Mantorville in the first round of the Section 1AAA playoffs Wednesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Levi Vierkandt pulls up for a jumper off dribble against Kasson-Mantorville in the first round of the Section 1AAA playoffs Wednesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Austin boys basketball team didn’t have an answer for a hot shooting Kasson-Mantorville team as the Packers had their season come to an end in a 66-40 loss in a Section 1AAA boys basketball quarterfinal game in Packer Gym Wednesday.

The No. 6 seeded KoMets (16-12 overall) took control almost immediately as they used an early 14-0 run to take a 24-8 lead. No. 3 seeded (Austin (14-13 overall) pulled to within 24-11, but KM’s Braxton Raymond took over the game as he converted a three-point play and hit two straight three-pointers to push KM’s lead back to 33-11. Raymond finished with 32 points.

Austin's Gach Gach puts up a shot in the first half of the Packers Section 1AAA playoffs against Kasson-Mantorville Wednesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Gach Gach puts up a shot in the first half of the Packers Section 1AAA playoffs against Kasson-Mantorville Wednesday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“They played really well. They did a nice job handling our pressure,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “We weren’t good tonight and they were very good and that’s what happens when you get a blowout. They made some plays early and Raymond got loose for them and he buried shots. I think they probably beat us in every phase of the game.”

Austin trailed by at least 20 points for the bulk of the second half and the Packers could never find their shooting stroke. Austin shot 23 percent from the field and 7-for-34 on 3-pointers in the loss.

Austin senior Gach Gach had nine points and seven rebounds in his final game for the Packers. Gach is one of six Austin seniors who played their last game for the Packers Wednesday night.

“I’m proud of what our seniors have done here and it was tough for them to go out like they did tonight,” Fadness said.

Austin went through a rebuilding effort this season as the team played freshmen Tate Hebrink and Both Gach and sophomores Oman Oman and Kyle Oberbroeckling big minutes throughout the year.

Fadness hopes the program is on the rise.

“There’s a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get a lot better and we’ve got to get physically tougher and stronger,” Fadness said. “Potential doesn’t mean a darn thing if you don’t go out and work at it. The bottom line is when you’re varsity career is over, people don’t remember your ninth grade record or how good you were when you were in sixth grade.”

Austin’s loss on Wednesday was its first loss in the Section 1AAA tournament since 2011.

KM 37 35 — 66

Austin 16 24 — 40

Austin scoring: Gach Gach, 9; Nik Gasner, 9; Joe Kroymann, 5; Elijah Andersen, 4; Oman Oman, 3; Tate Hebrink, 3; Noah Brehmer, 2; Zach Coffey, 2; Kyle Oberbroeckling, 1; field goals: 23 percent (15-for-63); 3-pointers: 20 percent (7-for-34); free throws: 43 percent (3-for-7); rebounds: 23 (Gach, 7); turnovers: 8