Early miscues catch up to Packers in loss to Spartans

Published 9:24 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

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The Packer boys basketball team couldn’t overcome a sluggish first half as their late opportunities came up short in a 73-69 loss to Rochester Mayo in Packer Gym Monday.

Mayo was leading 71-68 when it intentionally fouled Ater Manyuon, who made one of two free throws with seven seconds left before the Spartans clinched it at the game with their own free throws.

Morries Jabateh hit a three to bring Austin within 67-66 with 1:31 remaining, but the Spartans went up 69-66 on two free throws by Alex Gyarmaty with 47 seconds left after the Packers committed a turnover and Mayo pulled Gyarmaty had pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed free throw.

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Austin (14-9 overall) trailed 63-56 with 4:47 left in the game, but the Packers jumped right back into things when Ater Manyuon hit a three, and then converted a steal into a dunk to bring the Packers within 65-63 with 2:46 left.

The Spartans (16-7 overall) were able to build up their lead with transition opportunities as they took advantage of many Austin turnovers.

It’s impossible to beat good teams when you don’t have the basketball in your hands. You have no chance to get a shot up,” Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson said. “All of our turnovers were unforced turnovers and we let them get out and run. When you’re in your transition defense that much, you’re not going to win games.”

After the Spartans had dominated much of the first half, the Packer bench ignited the spark in the second half Austin used a 15-2 push to go up 53-52 after A’triel Terry scored on a put-back chance with nine minutes left in the game.

Ben Diang hit back-to-back threes during the run and Dane Mitchell hit a key baseline three as well.

“Our bench has been really good in the past two games and unfortunately we haven’t been able to do anything about it,” Gibson said. “Ben Diang has been really good off the bench, Osgood was great tonight and A’triel and Dane are two guys who come in and you know they’re going to play hard.”

Mayo grabbed an early 14-4 lead in the game’s first five minutes and the Packers never got closer than three in the first half. Isaac Osgood knocked down three first half triples, but ultimately turnovers kept the Packers playing from behind as they trailed 44-32 at the break.

Terry finished with four points, six rebounds and three steals and Buai Duop had nine points and seven rebounds.

Mayo 42 31 – 73

Austin 34 35 – 69

Austin scoring: Isaac Osgood, 11; Ater Manyuon, 10; Buai Duop, 9; Jack Lang, 9; Ben Diang, 8; Dane Mitchell, 7; Manny Guy, 6; A’triel Terry, 4; Morries Jabateh, 3