Packers hit a scoring slump in season-ending loss to Byron

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, March 25, 2021

After a season of shutting teams down, the No. 1 seeded Austin boys basketball team hit an offensive lull at the worst time, losing to No. 2 seeded Byron 52-50 in Packer Gym Thursday.

The Packers had erased a late seven point deficit to grab a 46-44 lead after Okey Okey hit a pair of three throws, but Okey missed a three that would’ve put Austin up by five. Byron’s Jake Braaten followed that by knocking down a baseline three to put the Bears up 47-46 with 1:22 left in the game. Teyghan Hovland, who finished with 13 points, was denied on a drive on Austin’s next trip down the floor and Trent Decook went one-for-two from the line to make it 48-46 Byron with 38.9 seconds left.

Austin head coach Kris Fadness  would’ve liked to have seen his team close out better down the stretch, but he commended his team for giving it their all.

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“The effort was great. I don’t fault our effort. Our effort was outstanding. But in a close game like that, every mistake adds up. We didn’t shoot the ball well and we took a couple of bad shots. We had our opportunities,” Fadness said. “Okey takes a three and it doesn’t go down and we lose their best player in the corner somehow. I thought we had a nice play call for Teyghan, he drove left and he just didn’t make the shot. That’s just basketball and I don’t blame anybody.”

Austin had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Braaten came up with a steal, which he converted for a lay-up that put the Bears up 50-46 with 23 seconds left.

Braaten later iced the game with two free throws with 10 seconds left. Austin junior, Gage Manahan, scored on a lay-up as time expired.

Austin’s point total was the second lowest it has put up in a game this season as the team shot just 34 percent from the field. Byron (17-2 overall) shot 55 percent from the field and 58 on three-pointers. The Bears out-rebounded Austin 26-13, but Austin forced 17 turnovers.

A lot of Austin’s shortcomings came because the Packers were playing shorthanded.

Already missing big man Victor Idris to an injury, Austin went most of the night without its 20-point scorer as Emmanuel Manyuon played just a handful of minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls. He was called for two charges in the first two minutes of the second half — putting him back on the bench until he entered the game with Austin trailing 37-33 with 8:45 left. Manyuon hit a three to bring the Packers within 44-42 with 5:16 left, but he fouled out going for a steal when the game was tied at 44 with 2:32 remaining.

 “We really needed Emmanuel to be a dude for us and he was all year,” Fadness said. “He’s a guy we needed on the floor. When he wasn’t on the floor we struggled. In all three of our losses, a big part of it was we couldn’t kept or have Emmanuel on the floor.”

While the loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for the Packers (18-3 overall), Manahan still felt the team battled hard.

“We did it for the team. We wanted to win for the seniors. It wasn’t our night, but we played hard every play and put it all out there,” Manahan said. “In the end, it’s not about us. It’s about the team. Byron’s a great team, but no excuses. We’re supposed to play our A game.”

The first half went back and forth, but the Packers grabbed a huge momentum boost at the halftime buzzer as Manahan banked in a running half-courter to put the Packers up 25-23.

Austin started out on a high note as Deith Duop hit an uncontested three and blocked two shots to boost the Packers to an 8-3 lead in the first six minutes of the game.

Fadness said this year has been one of his most enjoyable seasons as a coach as he has embraced his senior class, which he felt reached big heights by working hard.

“With Teyghan from his sophomore year to now, he’s really evolved into a heck of a basketball player. Okey just lives it and he spends a lot of time in the gym. I’m hoping he can find a place to continue his career and keep playing,” Fadness said. “Dieth is extremely personable and he gives you everything he has, Casey Berg comes from soccer to basketball and he competes and he’s a winner. I didn’t think Jordan would play for us after JV last year, but the kid never quit and it was a lot of fun with him this year.”

Byron 23  29  —  52

Austin 25  25  —  50  

Austin scoring: Teyghan Hovland, 13; Okey Okey, 10; Gage Manahan, 10; Dieth Duop, 7; Kaden Murley, 7; Kaden Murley, 4; Cham Okey, 3; Emmanuel Manyuon, 3; free throws: 84 percent (11-for-13); rebounds: 13 (Hovland, 4); turnovers: 7

Byron scoring: Jake Braaten, 15; Easton Hulke, 10; Travis Underwood, 10; Trent Decook, 5; Ahjany Lee, 4; Jaxon Marine, 4; Isaac Dearborn, 3; free throws: 66 percent (6-for-9); turnovers: 17