Austin Packers girls’ basketball falls to Mankato East 62-59 in battle of state-ranked teams

The Austin Packers girls’ basketball team, the No. 1 team in the state in Class AAA in the latest poll played host to Mankato East, the No.7 team in the last Class AAA poll at Ove Berven Gym Friday evening, and it was the Cougars coming out on top in a hard-fought contest 62-59 to earn a split of the regular-season series between the two squads.

Austin, who nearly battled their way back from a 33-26 halftime deficit were led by Olivia Walsh, who poured in 24 points, fellow forward Reana Schmitt tallied 12 points, Emma Dudycha chipped in 11 points, Cassidy Schute drained a pair of 3-point field goals to finish with six points, and Hope Dudycha and Ruby Kvam each scored three points for the Packers, who still lead the Cougars by a half-game atop the Big 9 Conference at 12-1, and they are now 14-2 overall on the season.

The Packers will continue to battle their way through a extremely rough part of their schedule tonight (Saturday) in Rochester against defending conference champion Mayo, with the varsity tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.