The Austin Packers bounced back from last week’s tough loss at Rochester Mayo to knock off the visiting Mankato East Cougars 82-73 Tuesday night.
It was the first loss of the year for the Cougars, who have been ranked as high as #3 in the state Class AAA polls. The Packers had received votes in the most recent poll, and their vote total will surely increase after overcoming foul trouble that benched its two big men, Joe Aase and Tom Aase, for much of the game.
Here are the first-half highlights, which saw the Packers build a 40-26 lead at the break:
And here are the second-half highlights, during which the Packers built their lead to as much as 20 points before surviving a late East run that got to within four. While we don’t usually include free throws in the highlights, this game was so influenced by fouls that an account that didn’t show them would be incomplete. The teams took 70 free throws combined (East 38, Austin 32), with many of the Packers’ attempts coming as the Cougars fouled intentionally in the second half to stop the clock in their comeback bid. (Note that the free throws are all grouped at the end of the video, and are not necessarily in order.)
The win boosts the Packers’ record to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in the Big 9. Their next game is Thursday night at home against section foe Red Wing, a contest that will help determine seeding at tournament time. It’s also “Jam the Gym” night, as HyVee is giving hot dogs, chips and a soft drink to the first 300 fans attending the game.