Austin Packers girls basketball downs Owatonna 43-27 Friday evening

The Austin Packers girls basketball team was looking to get back on the winning track at Ove Berven Gym Friday night versus the Owatonna Huskies in a Big 9 Conference matchup, and in their last home game before the Christmas break, the Packers closed the contest on a 14-2 run to come out on top in a physical, half-court battle 43-27.

After a 2-2 tie in the very early going, the Packers went on a quick 5-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way at 7-2, but the Huskies were able to battle their way back as close as two points at 11-9 with 11:06 left in the first half.  Austin was able to respond, though, as a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Marissa Shute with 5:23 left in the half gave the Packers a 23-15 lead, and the Packers went on to take a 25-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Both teams carried a strong defensive effort on both ends of the floor from the first half into the second half as Owatonna wound up forcing 23 Austin turnovers in the game, while the Packers forced 16 Husky turnovers in the contest and kept Owatonna on the perimiter for most of the game with a combination of one-on-one and 2-3 zone.  Owatonna was able to hold Austin off the scoreboard for the first four and a half minutes of the second half and  opened the half on a 10-4 run to cut the Packer lead to 29-25 with 9:18 left.  After a timeout, the Packers were able to regroup and went on a 6-0 run to take a 35-25 lead with 4:57 left, and they wound up finishing the game on the 14-2 run to pull away for the win.

Austin was led in scoring Friday night by sophomore guard Ajiem Agwa, who played a strong all-around game for the Packers and finished with 14 points, veteran forward Oliva Walsh tallied 11 points, senior guard Cassidy Shute scored the first five points of the game for the Packers and finished with nine points, Marissa Shute tallied three points in the contest while Quinn Osgood, Addison Walsh and Marie Tolbert each scored two points apiece in the win.

With the victory, Austin is now 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big 9 Conference, and the Packers are back in action next Tuesday in Rochester versus the Century Panthers in the last game before the Christmas break, with the varsity tip-off at 7:30 p.m.