Packers come up one shot short in quarterfinal at Faribault

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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FARIBAULT – The No. 5 seeded Austin boys basketball team started strong and they put together a furious finish, but they ended up a couple of inches away from a comeback victory as they fell short by a score of 57-55 to No. 4 Faribault in a Section 1AAA quarterfinal Tuesday.

Austin had a chance to win the game when it had the ball with eight seconds left, but sophomore Cole Hebrink’s baseline three-pointer bounced high off the rim and missed as time expired. Hebrink poured in 22 points, while adding four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the loss.

“In the huddle, I told Peyton (Ransom) that I wanted the ball and I thought I had it. It just missed,” Hebrink said. “We never really gave up in most of our games this year. We kept working and we didn’t really want this to be our last game, but it turned out that way.”

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The Packers, who trailed 53-43 with 4:15 left in the game, had stormed back to tie at 53 all with 2:10 left in the game after Hebrink hit a three-pointer and added two free throws to tie the contest up. Faribault’s Ryan Kreager gave his team the lead for good when he connected on a 10-foot baseline jump shot with 1:23 left.

Austin (9-18 overall) had three chances to tie or take the lead in the final minute and they all came up empty.

“Every time that we tried to climb back, it seemed like (the deficit) went back to double digits,” Austin head coach Jamaal Gibson said. “We’ve had teams in the past that didn’t handle adversity very well, but this team did. We had a couple of guys play a lot of minutes with four fouls and when Cole got hot, guys got him the ball. We got a great shot from the best shooter on our team at the end of the game and it just didn’t fall our way.”

The Packers opened the game on a 13-4 run and they held a 19-13 lead when Faribault responded with a 15-0 run that saw the Packers plagued with turnovers and fouls.

“We needed to keep our cool. I think we let our emotions get to us a little bit and we had some bad defensive plays, some bad fouls and two technicals that ended up in three points that was the difference in the game,” Gibson said. “Our young guys need to learn that it’s an emotional game and the team that loses their emotions typically doesn’t come out on top.”

Ransom finished with 10 points and five assists in his final game for the Packers, Isaac Osgood had seven points and three assists, and Dakota Retterath had two points, seven rebounds and three steals.

“Words can’t describe what our seniors have done for this program,” Gibson said. “They’re going to be responsible for our young guys being successful going forward and for what they’ve done for me as a person and a coach, I’ll never be able to repay them.”

Austin sophomore Banyaan Omot had four points and 10 rebounds and his offseason, along with sophomores J’Dan Stevens, who had seven points, and Hebrink will have a big effect on what the Packers will look like next season.

“We learned a lot from the seniors,” Hebrink said. “They taught us to be more physical and they helped a lot. I’m definitely going to be in the gym a lot with AAU and I’m going to work out with my brother (Tate) a lot. I’m going to try to get as good as I can be.”

Mohamed Madey led the Falcons (13-13 overall) with 18 points.

Austin 21  34  –  55

Faribault 31  26  –  57

Austin scoring: Cole Hebrink, 22; Peyton Ransom, 10; J’Dan Stevens, 7; Isaac Osgood, 7; Jackson Clausman, 4; Banyaan Omot, 4; Dakota Retterath, 2