The Austin Packers, almost left for dead, trailed the Blake Bears 39-28 at 14 minutes of the 2nd half and still trailed 49-42 with 5 minutes left to play. And, at 6:21, star guard Zach Wessels went out with 4 fouls, 3 of them on the offensive end.
So Austin picked up the defensive pressure, disrupting Blake's previously efficient offense, and the Bears turned it over on 4 of their next 6 possessions. Reserve guard Ajuda Nywesh hit a 3 and had 2 steals, and his 2 FT off a steal gave Austin a 54-52 lead at 2:28, their 1st lead since 22-21. Another Nywesh steal and FT at 42 seconds made it a 2 possession game.
Blake seemed in control much of the way, and they did it by going head to head with Austin's stars, 6-8 Joe Aase and guard Wessels. Kebu Johnson's defense stymied Wessels all day, and J.R. Bascom had out-scored Aase most of the way until Aase hit a 3 and a throw down the stretch. Bascom and Johnson finished with 27 points, 18 boards and 3 assists to Aase and Wessels' 29, 16 and 4. Points in the paint, astonishingly, were 36-12 for Blake.
But there was no plan to stop the reserve, Nywesh, who finished with 15 points including 3-of-3 3s, plus 5 steals, and it was arguably those steals that turned the game around in the 2nd half. And Austin outscored Blake 17-7 inside of 5 minutes to get a very gritty win.
Player of the Day: Ajuda Nywesh scored 15 points, but more than that his 2nd half defense turned the game around
For the 3rd straight game, 1 team got off to a fast start, only to falter and fall behind by half-time. But unlike our 1st 2 games, this time is was undefeated and favored Austin who started out quickly, leading 6-2 and 15-6 before Blake began to battle back. The Bears scored on 11 of their final 15 possessions of the 1st half, while Austin scored on just 4-of-16 with 7 turnovers. Blake took the lead at 21-19 at 4:04 on a basket by 6-7 junior post J.R. Bascom, then scored on 4 more straight possessions to lead 31-24 at the half.
Bascom out-scored Austin's 6-8 Joe Aase 8-7 in the 1st half. John Veil also scored 8 for the Bears, while Ajuda Nywesh of Austin led all scorers with 9.