Packers overcome turnover struggles to run past Winhawks

Published 9:57 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Austin boys basketball team played a little faster than it could handle at times, but the Packers eventually wore down Winona with a 76-57 victory in Packer Gym Tuesday.

Austin (6-3 overall) committed 22 turnovers, but it didn’t matter as strong second half efforts from Ater Manyuon, who finished with 26 points, and Buai Duop, who had 17 points and seven rebounds, carried the team to a strong finish.

Manyuon clinched the win with a breakaway jam that made it 74-55. He also had a lay-up that put Austin up 59-49 with 5:40 left in the game and he hit a three that put Austin up 52-41.

“I just had to keep attacking the rim, because they couldn’t stop me,” Manyuon said. “We also had to distribute the ball, because when we move the ball, nobody can stop us. We’ve been training together for our whole life and it’s fun to finally get on the big stage and show out.”

Duop scored 13 of his 17 in the second half as he held his own against Winona big man Jackson Harvey, who wreaked havoc on the offensive boards in the first half. Winona (4-3 overall) ran out to a brief 18-13 lead before Jack Lang, Manny Guy and Manyuon all hit consecutive threes to put Austin up 22-18.

“We were moving the ball and getting great shots. The energy of the crowd got me going tonight,” Duop said. “It was kind of tough for me, because that’s my first time going against a guy like that. (Harvey is) a really good competitor and I fought back against him.”

The Packers were coming off a tough loss to Northfield on the road last week, but they quickly found their energy from their home crowd.

“After Thursday, we were all pretty frustrated and down,” Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson said. “The season’s all about peaks and valleys and I hope that was the deepest valley. We were pretty low. It was nice to see the energy tonight.”

Jacob Herrick had five points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals for the Packers and A’Triel Terry added two points and six rebounds off the bench.

“When you can bring a guy like A’Triel Terry off the bench when he is easily one of the best rebounders in the conference, that’s a pretty nice thing,” Gibson said. “Buai can rebound for us, Ater can rebound from the perimeter and Dane Mitchell busts his tail to get guys out of the paint so other guys can rebound. Those little things matter.”

Winona 38  29  –  57

Austin 34  42  –  76

Austin scoring: Ater Manyuon, 26; Buai Duop, 17; Jacob Herrick, 5; Ben Diang, 4; Jack Lang, 3; Morris Jabateh, 3; A’triel Terry, 2; Isaac Osgood, 2; Dane Mitchell, 2; turnovers: 22