The mission of the Austin Packers girls’ basketball team Saturday evening in their Section 1AAA semi-final matchup with the Byron Bears was twofold, one, to try to secure a victory over a tough Bears squad out of the Hiawatha Valley League, and two, to try to help senior guard Hope Dudycha break the all-time scoring record for Austin Packers girls basketball in her last game at Ove Berven Gym which stood at 1,592 points set by former Packer great Lisa Bue in 2004. The Packers were able to accomplish both goals in front of a big Saturday night crowd as a 3-pointer from Dudycha, her sixth of the game in the second half gave her the record and helped Austin to a 67-31 win.
The top-seeded Packers broke strong out of the gate and, led five 3-pointers from Dudycha and 10 first-half points from junior forward Olivia Walsh led 21-4 to start the game, and a tough one-on-one defense on the other end of the floor, especially on pick-and-rolls by Byron at the 3-point arc and offensive chances in the paint held the Bears offense in check as the Packers pushed their lead to as large as 20 in the first half, and the lead stood at 18 at the half at 34-16.
The Packers did not led their foot off the gas at the start of the second half as Austin started out on a 9-5 run to take a 45-21 lead, and the lead later ballooned to 24 at 52-28 when Dudycha, who had swished four free throws earlier in the half to bring her two points away from the record spotted up on the left wing just beyond the 3-point arc…
Besides Dudycha’s 22 points, Olivia Walsh was also in double figures in scoring with 12 points, Reana Schmitt added 10 points, Emma Dudycha drilled a pair of 3’s on her way to eight points, Cassidy Schute, who along with Emma Dudycha drew a tough defensive assignment in guarding Kendra Harvey, Byron’s freshman sensation finished with six points, Ajiem Agwa supplied five second-half points off the Austin bench and Kiru Othow and Duna Oteng both scored two points for the Packers, who moved to 23-5 on the season with the win.
Austin advances to the Section 1AAA title game for the second season in a row, and they will meet No. 2 seed Stewartivlle, who held off No. 6 seed Albert Lea 59-54 in the other Section 1AAA semi-final. The two teams will square off Friday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Rochester Civic Center Arena, and you’ll hear the game on AM 1480 KAUS, with the pre-game show starting at 7:30 p.m., and tip-off at 8:00 p.m. You’ll also be able to listen worldwide on our webpage at myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio, radio.com and Oddessy apps.