In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Austin Packers girls basketball team was looking for win number two in a row versus the Mankato West Scarlets in a Big 9 Conference matchup at Ove Berven Gym Tuesday evening, and a 3-point field goal from senior guard Cassidy Shute with 8:55 to play helped to key a 14-6 second-half Packer run on their way to a 60-52 victory.
Austin took a 16-8 lead, their largest of the first half with 6:20 left, but Mankato West rallied with a 14-6 run to tie the game at 22 with 2:45 left in the first stanza. The Scarlets went on to take a 29-27 lead at the half and pushed their lead to as large as four points in the second half before a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Ajiem Agwa tied the game at 34 apiece. The game then turned into a see-saw affair as the Packers forged a 40-38 lead, and Shute’s 3-pointer gave Austin a bit of breathing room at 43-39 with just under nine minutes to play. Austin’s pressure defense, which forced 19 turnovers in the game, and their free-throw shooting then helped to salt the game away, as the Packers were 14 for 20 from the line in the second half for 70%, and they went 20 for 28 from the charity stripe for the game, or 71%.
Both Shute and fellow returning starter Olivia Walsh tallied 18 points in the contest to lead the Packers, while Agwa sank two 3-pointers on her way to 14 points. Kristen Nielsen swished a 3-pointer in the first half on her way to five points, and 8th grade guard Quinn Osgood scored four points in the win.
Austin is now 2-0 in the Big 9 Conference and 2-1 overall on the season, and the Packers are back in action at home Thursday night against defending Big 9 Conference and Section 2AAA champion Mankato East, with the varsity tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.