Packer boys cut into 28-point deficit, but can’t finish the comeback against East

Published 9:47 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

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The Packer boys basketball team fell into a deep hole early on, but they battled back and made things interesting before falling to Mankato East by a score of 88-78 on Hall of Fame night in Packer Gym Friday.

After trailing by as many as 28 points in the first half, Austin opened the second half on a 13-2 run to get back within 57-52 with 13:30 left, but East’s Carson Schweim, who finished with 30 points, hit a three and converted a lay-up to push it back to 62-52.

Buai Duop, who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, had scored on back-to-back plays during Austin’s rally, but the Packers never were able to make a serious threat down the stretch.

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“When you give up 55 points in the first half, there is a very small chance that you’re going to win in high school basketball,” Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson said. “Our guys came back and that’s a testament to who we are. We’re not just going to give a game away, they’re going to have to earn it.”

The Cougars (13-2 overall) built up a 44-17 late in the first half, but the Packers were able to put together a 15-3 burst that was highlighted by back-to-back threes from Jacob Herrick and Ater Manyuon.

Manyuon finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.

The Packers (10-5 overall) committed eight turnovers in the first nine minutes of the game and the Cougars hit five threes in that stretch to go up 29-10.

East also opened the game by scoring 10 straight points.

That run enabled Austin to stay within striking distance as they trailed 55-39 at halftime. The gap was closed to 55-42 when Manyoun started the second half with a three.

“Unfortunately, that was the same way we started the game when we were over there,” Gibson said of Austin’s slow start. “We couldn’t stay in front of them and they kick it to the corner. If they’re not the best shooting team in the area, they’re one of them and that is never good news. They made 50 percent of their threes in the first half.”

East 55  33  –  88

Austin 39  39  –  78

Austin scoring: Ater Manyuon, 26; Buai Duop, 15; Manny Guy, 11; Jacob Herrick, 10; Jack Lang, 8; Ben Diang, 3; Isaac Osgood, 3; A’triel Terry, 2