Packers Ride Strong Second Half to State Quarterfinal Win
The success for the Big Nine Conference at the state basketball tournaments continued Wednesday as Austin won their Class AAA quarterfinal over Sauk Rapids-Rice at Williams Arena. The Packers pulled away at times in the second half and won 64-55 to advance to Thursday's semifinals at Target Center. Last week the Northfield girls took second place at the state tournament. The Mankato East boys are also at the tournament.
Austin led just 30-27 at the half over the Storm but went on a 10-2 run to open the second stanza and led by double digits for much of the second half. But Sauk Rapids-Rice kept coming back and drilled several long three's to keep within striking distance. The Storm went 6-for-17 on three-pointers for the game. Austin, a noted three-point shooting team, only made 4-of-15 from behind the arc.
The Packers forced 23 turnovers for the game and outscored the Storm 14-2 on points off turnovers in the second half. Austin outslugged SRR inside, outscoring them 36-26 for the game in the paint. The Packers outscored the Storm 34-28 in the second half and made most of their free throws down the stretch and were 12-for-19 for the game.
Moses Issa led the Big Nine Conference co-champions with 20 points, 15 of those after halftime. Nyagoa Obany scored 14 and had eight rebounds. Tate Hebrink scored 12, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists. Anthony Massman led SRR with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cody Landwehr scored 13 points to become the Storms' all-time leading career scorer. He also had 11 rebounds.
No. 2 seed Austin (27-2) moves to the semifinals where they could face fellow Big Nine opponent Mankato East. Sauk Rapids-Rice (21-9) will play in the consolation bracket at Concordia-St. Paul. Listen to KDHL AM 920 for continuing coverage from the state tournament.