In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Austin Packers girls basketball team, the No. 3 seed in the Section 1AAA tournament and the No. 19 team in the state in Class AAA according to the latest poll from the Minnesota Basketball News traveled to No. 2 seed and No. 16 ranked Red Wing for the section semifinals Saturday night, and it was the Packers holding off a late Winger rally by draining six straight free throws in the closing seconds to win 66-62.
Red Wing jumped out to a 6-0 lead on their home court to start the game, but Austin quickly found their game and went on a 10-0 run of their own to take a 10-6 lead, and led by 8th grade guard Quinn Osgood, who scored 16 of her 21 points in the first half, and sophomore guard Ajiem Agwa, who tallied seven of her 11 points in the oepning half, the Packers were able to push their lead to as large as 11 at 31-20, and they led 35-29 at the halftime break.
Red Wing opened the second half on an 11-6 run to edge as close as one at 41-40, but Austin showed their toughness on the road by answering back with a 16-6 run of their own to lead 57-46. With the Packers holding a 60-51 lead after a Red Wing timeout late in the half, the Wingers stepped up their defensive pressure as they used three straight forced turnovers out of the timeout to answer back with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 60 apiece with under 2 minutes to go. After the tying basket, senior forward Olivia Walsh was fouled driving to the basket, and she then calmly drained two free throws to give Austin a 62-60 lead. After the Wingers again tied the game at 62, Walsh again was sent to the foul line where she swished two more free throws in the double bonus to put the Packers back in front, 64-62. Austin’s defense then stepped to the fore and came up with a stop, and the Wingers then sent sophomore guard Marissa Shute to the line, where she drained both of her attempts to give Austin a 66-62 lead with :30 seconds left. The Packer defense again came up huge as the Wingers could not get a clean look at the basket, and after two missed shots, the ball went out of bounds off Red Wing with :02 seconds left, and the Packers were then able to inbound the ball and run out the clock for the victory.
Osgood, who drained four 3-pointers on her way to 21 points in the quarterfinal win over Kasson-Mantorville Wednesday night drilled five of them Saturday night to again tally 21 points to lead Austin in scoring, senior guard Cassidy Shute scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half, both Agwa and Walsh wound up with 11 points Saturday night and Marissa Shute totaled nine points, including the two clutch free throws in the closing seconds in the win. The game also featured Red Wing guard Sami Chandler, who led the Wingers with 19 points score the 1,000th point of her career in the first half.
With the win, Austin is now 20-8 on the season, and the two-time defending Section 1AAA champions will now take on No. 1 seeded Stewartville for the section title at the Mayo Civic Center Arena in Rochester Friday night at 6 p.m. You’ll hear the game on AM 1480 KAUS, myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio and radio.com apps, with the pre-game show coming your way at 5:40 p.m.