skip navigation

Gach paces undefeated Austin to victory over Big 9 rival Northfield

By Trevor Squire, SportsEngine, 01/05/18, 3:45PM CST


Duoth Gach scored 22 points to help the No. 2-3A Packers improve to 10-0 after their fourth consecutive victory over the Raiders.

Austin's Duoth Gach dunks for two of his his 22 points to lead the Packers to a 76-57 victory at Northfield on Friday night. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine

Despite leading by five points at the intermission of Friday night's game at Big 9 Conference rival Northfield, Austin hadn't found its tempo against a Raiders team that controlled the pace with its physicality.

It didn't take long for the Packers to change that.

At the start of the second half, Duoth Gach quickly asserted Austin's run-the-floor mentality.

After stealing the ball, Gach scorched down the floor, planted his lead foot and uncoiled upwards toward the basket. He finished the motion with a thunderous one-handed dunk that ignited not only the Packers' student section but the team as well, as the transition basket ignited a 13-point run that Austin used to run away to a 76-57 victory over the Raiders.

“We knew we’d have to make a run, and once we got that lead, we just had to hit open shots and keep attacking,” Gach said following a 22-point night.

Gach had nine points during the definitive scoring run that lasted just two minutes. He added a second dunk from an assist off the backboard from Tate Hebrink and sank a three-pointer. He also converted a floater through the lane.

It was 120 seconds that the Packers (10-0, 7-0), ranked second in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, used to ultimately move into a tie with Mankato East for first place in the Big 9 Conference standings.

It was two minutes Austin also used to extend its winning streak over Northfield to four games -- including a victory in last year's Section 1 title game and another in the section semifinals two seasons ago.

“To win on the road against a top team in our league is a huge win,” Packers coach Kris Fadness said, adding that his team faces the No. 11-3A Raiders once more in the regular season and likely again in the section championship. “The next times we play them, there’s going to be battles. Every game’s different and today the tempo worked in our favor.”

Austin forced 20 turnovers as the Packers’ trap zone defense mounted pressure on the Raiders (8-2, 6-1), who didn’t play with the same confidence in the second half.

While Gach’s play after halftime embodied Austin’s brand of basketball on offense, the Packers' defense slipped.

Fadness said he must keep his team calm and from tiring when the game quickly turns into a pacer drill.

“I’ve been around this game a long, long time,” said Fadness, who has 405 career wins. “I have to keep them together and play possession by possession. When we had that great run, we got a little carried away and emotional and had some defensive breakdowns.”

The Packers, who notched a win over No. 3-4A Lakeville North in late December, are eager to claim the program’s first conference title since 2013. They can take a step toward that goal with a victory over No. 7-3A Mankato East and defending Big 9 champion Rochester John Marshall next week.

Fadness said the Big 9's level of competition keeps them his team thinking about each possession instead of looking ahead to the postseason.

“I can’t be any happier,” Fadness said. “We’re 10-0 -- winning comfortably -- and have big wins over good teams, but it’s a grind and we’re not even halfway through the season.”

Austin guard Tate Hebrink (4) launches a three-point shot against Northfield. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine

First Report

Duoth Gach’s 22-point night helped Austin remain undefeated with a 76-57 victory at Big 9 Conference rival Northfield Friday night.

Ranked second in the Class 3A Minnesota Basketball News poll, the Packers (10-0, 7-0) move into a tie for first place in the Big 9 standings following their win against the No. 11-3A Raiders.

Gach scored nine points on a 13-0 Packers' run to start the second half, giving Austin a commanding lead Northfield (8-2, 6-1) couldn’t overcome.

Alex Rasmussen and Mason Zick posted a team-high 16 points each for the Raiders.

Photo Gallery

The MN Basketball Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only. 

Austin's Duoth Gach dunks for two of his his 22 points to lead the Packers to a 76-57 victory at Northfield on Friday night. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine

Basketball Hub Headlines

  • Star Tribune Talking Preps spring podcast: Episode 7

  • By Star Tribune 06/06/2018, 7:45pm CDT
  • In the latest Talking Preps, the Star Tribune's David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen hold court on the recent rejection of a basketball shot clock -- remember that wacky Hopkins-Shakopee game? -- and preview state softball and track and field competition.
  • Read More
  • Star Tribune Talking Preps spring podcast: Episode 4

  • By Star Tribune 05/16/2018, 8:15pm CDT
  • In the latest Talking Preps, Jim Paulsen takes aim at the seemingly unchecked internet-fueled buzz about young high school stars while David La Vaque previews the True Team state track meet and its awesome post-game party scene.
  • Read More

Feed for https://www.startribune.com/sports/index.rss2