Winhawks beat the clock, upset Packers

Published 9:10 pm Saturday, March 11, 2023

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The No. 2 seeded Austin boys basketball team suffered a last second heart break at the end of a long fight as its season came to an end on a 61-58 overtime loss to No. 3 Winona in a Section 1AAA semifinal in Packer Gym Saturday night.

The Packers (17-11 overall) tied the game at 58 when Ater Manyuon hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds left, but each team missed a shot on their next possession. The Winhawks (16-13 overall) had the ball with eight seconds left and Charles VandeBerg dribbled out the clock before sinking a high arcing, contested three from the top of the key to win the game.

“At the end of the day, it’s a 35-footer, slightly contested that he just drained,” Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson said. “He’s a big shot maker and we knew that coming in. It’s just tough to lose to them twice in one season on last second shots.”

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Jacob Herrick hit two free throws to put Austin up 54-52 with 31.6 seconds left in regulation, but Winona tied it when Isaiah Bell went two-for-two from the line with 11 seconds left. Manyuon missed a game-winning, contested runner at the buzzer.

There were four ties and four lead changes in the final six minutes of regulation, but Austin had trailed 34-27 early in the second half before Herrick hit a three to ignite an 8-0 burst that put Austin up 35-34.

Austin had trailed 29-23 at the half.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t get us ready and we didn’t get good enough looks in the first half,” Gibson said. “We gave up shots we shouldn’t have given up.”

Herrick had 25 points for the Packers and Morris Jabateh had two points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

“Jacob was huge for us all year long,” Gibson said. “We’ve had high expectations for Jacob since he was a freshman. The only thing stopping him was him being a little bit aggressive. This summer we saw him take that leap. I can’t even think about (saying goodbye to the seniors) right now. These guys are an awesome group on and off the court. They’re very special and I just didn’t do enough for them to get the rewards that they deserve.”

Austin scoring: Jacob Herrick, 25; Ater Manyuon, 12; Buai Duop, 6; A’triel Terry, 4; Isaac Osgood, 3; Morris Jabateh, 2