Packers fight to the finish to score revenge on Raiders

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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It took a total team effort where nine different players scored and some tough defense in the final minute, but the Austin boys basketball team survived with a 73-69 win over Northfield in Packer Gym Tuesday.

After leading for much of the night, the Packers found themselves in a dog fight when the Raiders tied it at 69 on a lay-up by Dom DiMaggio with 3:11 left in the game. After a few defensive stops, the Packers took the lead for good when Jack Lang drove to the hoop for a lay-up to make it 71-69 with 47 seconds left.

Lang’s drive came off a motion play where Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson told his team that it could only shoot a wide open three or a wide open lay-up. Lang found the gap and attacked.

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“Jack has to be one of the most underrated players in the state,” Gibson said. “His talent and his size might not be what some of these top guys have, but he’s one of the smartest players we’ve ever had. He just knows what to do and he is a leader, who tries to get guys in the right spot. We are a .500 team or less without Jack Lang on our team this year.”

Northfield had one last chance when Soren Richardson, who put up 35 points, attempted a corner three, but Jacob Herrick was able to contest the shot without fouling Richardson and he forced an air ball. Herrick, who finished with 16 points, then found Isaac Osgood for a game clinching lay-up with five seconds left.

“I was just trying to stay on my feet, since I had four fouls. I was able to avoid him,” Herrick said of the final defensive play. “It’s always nice to get a revenge game. If you lose to them the first time, you’ve got to go even harder in the second game.”

Austin (14-7 overall)  had lost to the Raiders (13-8 overall) 76-60 on Jan. 5, but it was a much different game this time around.

“The first time we played them, I think anybody on our team would admit that the bus made it to Northfield, but the team did not,” Gibson said. “We were lazy and we were very selfish. We were just out of it and some of it was on the coaching staff, mainly me for trying some new things. That gave us a little bit more motivation for tonight’s game.”

Austin received a much needed boost on the defensive front from Morris Jabateh, who finished with five points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds. Jabateh, who suffered an injured hand and had to sit out in back-to-back losses to Owatonna and Rochester Century, returned to the lineup last week.

“When you’re watching, you just want to play. My hand is not even 100 percent, but I had to get out there,” Jabateh said. “It was tough watching us lose to two good teams, when I felt I could’ve made a difference. We’re all just trying to play our roles and I try to get defensive stops and get to loose balls.”

The Packers built up a 38-28 first half lead when Ater Manyuon converted a three-point play with 2:30 left, but Richardson went on a scoring flurry to close the gap to 40-37 at the break.

The Raiders tied the game at 53 early in the second half when Kayden Oakland hit a baseline three off a drive and kick from Richardson.

Northfield 37  32  –  69

Austin 40  33  –  73

Austin scoring: Jacob Herrick, 16; Manny Guy, 11; Jack Lang, 11; Ater Manyuon, 10; Isaac Osgood, 9; Morris Jabateh, 5; A’triel Terry, 4; Buai Duop, 4; Dane Mitchell, 2