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Packers get past Mayo, will play at Rochester JM Saturday

The No. 7 ranked Austin boys basketball team didn’t have to do a lot of work in the half court set, but it was able to get out and run in transition as it beat Rochester Mayo 68-46 in Packer Gym Thursday.

Austin (9-0 overall, 6-0 Big Nine) jumped out to a 23-7 lead to open the game and it led 50-18 halfway through the second half.

Austin forced 20 turnovers and it was able to get out and run often.

Austin’s Jany Gash tries going underneath on a drive against Rochester Mayo Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Jany Gash tries going underneath on a drive against Rochester Mayo Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

It was the first game of the week for Austin and it came two days before their showdown at Rochester John Marshall 7:15 p.m. Saturday. The Packers were able to keep their focus on Mayo before looking ahead.

“We knew the consequences going into it if we were to lost [tonight],” said Austin senior Kyle Oberbreockling, who had six points. “We knew we had to play these guys before we played JM and we knew the importance of this one.“

Both Gach had 15 points, six assists and four steals for Austin and he helped the team get going by sharing the ball early on.

“I was trying to get everyone to get a feel for the ball and I was trying to find the open man,” he said.

The Packers looked to be in control when they led 41-11 early in the second half, but Mayo’s Trajan Grimsrud caught fire from behind the arc and the Spartans (2-8 overall, 1-5 Big Nine) were able to get as close as 59-41 in the second half.

“They’ve got a very good point guard in the Grimsud kid. I was worried about him going off like he did in the second half and thankfully he didn’t do that all game,” Austin head coach Kris Fadness said. “I wasn’t really happy with how the last seven or eight minutes went. Our guys have got to learn to play with a little bit more respect for the game. We got carried away with trying to run out and get dunks every time. The dunks will come, but can we just stay focused and play every possession? That’ll be the mark of this team if we want to win any hardware.”

Kyle Oberbroeckling backs his way into Rochester Mayo’s Connor Swertfeger during the first half Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Kyle Oberbroeckling backs his way into Rochester Mayo’s Connor Swertfeger during the first half Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin will now look to a big test as it will take on the Rockets (7-3 overall, 6-0 Big Nine) in a battle for first place in the conference. Fadness said his team has the ability to compete with JM if it plays up to its potential.

“It’ll be a tough game, but I like our team. If we play like we did against Caledonia, I think we can beat them,” Fadness said. “If we play like we did in the last eight minutes tonight, we won’t. I feel good about it. I like our chances.”

Gach said the team is focused and ready to play in what will likely be a loud and hostile environment Saturday night.

“We’re excited for the game, it’ll be a big game,” Gach said. “We’ll have to talk as a team, keep up communication and play with energy.”

Mayo 11  35  —  46

Austin 33  35  —  68

Austin scoring: Both Gach, 15; Duoth Gach, 12; Oman Oman, 9; Tate Hebrink, 6; Kyle Oberbroeckling, 6; Moses Issa, 5; Pat Hagan, 4; Tyler Tupy, 3; Jany Gash, 3; Trent Brown, 2; free throws: 75 percent (3-for-4); rebounds: 33 (Oman, 7); turnovers: 5

Austin’s Moses Issa goes up in traffic during the second half against Rochester Mayo Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Moses Issa goes up in traffic during the second half against Rochester Mayo Thursday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com