Austin sophomore Victor Idris (15) found his path to the basket blocked by Lakeville North's Jordan Wall (11) during the Packers' 55-50 victory. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
It was time for Austin to find another gear.
Lakeville North controlled the tempo of play early to build a 12-point halftime lead on Friday, but visiting Austin ramped up the pressure to roar back for a 55-50 win at the Lakeville North Holiday Invitational.
It was a signature win for the Packers (6-1, 5-1) who graduated eight players from last year’s team that placed third in the Class 3A state tournament. New faces recreated the type of fast-paced, athletic basketball that's made Austin, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, a tough program to beat in recent years.
"I just feel like it was the change of defense we picked up and the energy we had," said Austin senior guard Agwa Nywesh. "We didn't have a lot of energy in the first half. Coming into the second half, we were like ‘this shouldn’t be the score right now. We’re way better than this and should show them what we have.’”
The Panthers (4-3, 1-0) asserted their dominance early in the rematch of a game they won by 20 points at the same invitational a year ago.
Austin's Ogur Gari drove past Lakeville North's Noah Frechette as the Packers rallied in the second half. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Trailing by 12 points at halftime, Austin used full-court defense and proficiency from deep in the second half to fuel its comeback for a 55-50 win at Lakeville North Friday.
Carter Frechette was the story of the first half for the host Panthers. The senior forward hit four threes and scored all 20 of his points before halftime.
The Packers, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, extended from half-court to full-court pressure after the break to stymie the Panthers. Austin took a 40-37 lead — their first of the game — midway through the second half on a Teyghan Hovland three-pointer.
Lakeville North (4-3, 1-0) fought back to briefly take the lead before Austin (6-1, 5-1) regained control in the closing minutes. The Panthers pulled back within one possession and had a three-point attempt to tie the game fall short with 10 seconds to go.
Okey Okey led Austin with 12 points and was one of seven Packers to score. Teammate Ogur Gari added 11 points.
Josh Kamara had 12 points for Lakeville North.
Lakeville North's Noah Frechette (5) set up for a three-point shot in the first half. Frechette scored all 20 of his points in the first half as the Panthers took an early lead. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
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