The Austin Packers girls basketball team, winners of three in a row and six out of their last seven played host to the Rochester Century Panthers at Ove Berven Gym Tuesday evening, also winners of three in a row, including a big win over a tough Lakeville South squad Saturday. The Panthers came into the contest averaging just over 53 points a game, but it was Austin putting on a defensive clinic Tuesday evening to help themselves to a 57-27 victory.
After Century scored the first two points of the game, a 3-point play from veteran forward Oliva Walsh put the Packers into the lead at 3-2, and later leading 9-8, Austin went on a 13-2 run to take their biggest lead of the half at 22-10. The Packers led 25-15 at the halftime break, and they started the second half on a 22-6 run to break the game wide open at 52-21. The bigger story was Austin’s textbook defense, which constantly foiled Century’s screen-and-roll game in the high post, forced 15 turnovers, almost entirely shut down the lane, as the Panthers shot only four free throws in the game, and held junior guard Taylor Clarey, a 1,000+ point scorer and one of the top 3-point shooters in southeastern Minnesota bar class to two 3’s after the outcome had been decided and eight points for the game, far under her average of 14.4 points per game.
Sophomore guard Ajiem Agwa scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half to lead the way offensively for Austin Tuesday night, and Olivia Walsh scored eight of her 12 points in the first half. 8th grade guard Quinn Osgood drilled three 3-pointers in the first half, the last one from deep in the left corner just before the halftime buzzer for nine points in the game, Marissa Shute drained a pair of 3’s on her way to eight points, older sister Cassidy swished a pair of 3’s in the second half for six points and Kristen Neilson scored two points in the win Tuesday night.
The win for the Packers, coupled with a Rochester Mayo loss to Mankato East moves Austin into a tie with the Spartans for first place in the Big 9 Conference at 14-3, and they are now 15-6 overall on the season. The Packers return to action at home Friday night versus Albert Lea, with the varsity tip at Ove Berven Gym at 7:30 p.m. that evening.