In Austin Packers boys basketball you heard Thursday night on AM 1480 KAUS, the Austin Packers were looking for their second win in a row as they played host to Big 9 Conference rival Northfield, and a Raiders rally from a 13-point deficit early in the second half was capped off by a 27-foot 3-point field goal from guard Jacob Balvin, his only points of the night with .4 seconds to go to give Northfield a dramatic 61-59 win.
The Packers led 30-19 at the half and pushed their lead to as large as 13 early in the second half before the Raiders went on a 13-6 run to put themselves back in the game trailing 36-32. The game was a see-saw battle of attrition from there as Austin’s biggest lead down the stretch was five points at 45-40, but the Raiders, who were 10-22 from behind the 3-point arc in the game kept chipping away at the Packer lead and took their first lead when Tate Journell swished a 3-pointer with just over 1:30 to go to give Northfield a 56-55 lead. Austin went back into the lead at 57-56, but Soren Richardson, Northfield’s leading scorer average-wise on the season and Thursday night with 21 points drained a pair of free throws a short time later after a controversial loose-ball foul called on the Packers to give the Raiders the lead back at 58-57. After an Austin turnover with :28 seconds left, Northfield inbounded the ball and were in the process of running out the clock until guard Jack Lang forced a turnover near mid-court and fellow guard Gage Manahan scooped up the loose ball, raced downcourt and scored on a layup with just over four seconds left to give Austin the lead back at 59-58. The Raiders then called timeout and 6’5″ forward Treyton Schlaak inbounded the ball from the backcourt with a baseball-type pass downcourt to fellow forward Austin Koepp, who then found Balvin alone out high on the left side, and he then let fly with a 27-footer that hit nothing but net with .4 seconds left to give Northfield the lead at 61-59. It looked as though Austin called a timeout before time expired, but the officials ruled that was not the case, and the Raiders had earned their first win at Packer Gym since 2015.
Kaden Murley led Austin in scoring Thursday night with 17 points, plus he also added four rebounds and four steals, Victor Idris added 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot, Gage Manahan tallied eight of his 12 points in the second half, plus he pulled in four rebounds, led the club in steals with five and added an assist, Cham Okey contributed six points, Manny Guy tallied four points off the bench and Jared Lillemon and Jack Lang each scored three points for the Packers, who fell despite racking up 18 steals to four for Northfield, and they also forced 18 Raider turnovers against nine of their own.
With the loss, Austin falls to 3-3 in the Big 9 Conference and 4-5 overall on the season. The Packers are back in action Saturday as part of the Rochester Hoops Challenge versus the South St. Paul Packers at Kasson/Mantorville High School, with tip-off at 12:30 p.m.