Seniors lead Packer girls past WasecaPublished 11:49pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The Packer girls basketball team kept its season alive behind the strength of its seniors in a 59-51 win over No. 5 seeded Waseca in the Section 1AAA quarterfinals in Ove Berven Gym Wednesday.
Austin senior Jenna Svoboda bounced back from a knee injury to put in 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks, Steph Justice poured in 16 points and Taylor Lady added nine points, five rebounds and four assists.
In all, 48 of Austin’s 59 points were scored by seniors in the win.
“I’m so proud of that class,” Austin head coach Todd Johnson said. “They’ve done a great job all year. Taylor Lady hit some big shots, Jenna looked as good as ever and Steph was huge.”
It was just two weeks ago when Svoboda wasn’t sure she’d even play in Wednesday’s game. Shortly after scoring her 1,000th career point, Svoboda had to leave the game with a knee injury against Rochester Century Feb. 15.
“I was freaking out. I was like this can’t be it,” Svoboda said. “I fought back and played. I couldn’t ask for a better last game on our home court and I’ll never forget this game.”
The Bluejays (16-10 overall) took a 40-39 with nine minutes left in the game, but the Packers (10-15 overall) bounced back with an 11-2 run that put them in the driver’s seat. Lady converted a jump shot and a free throw to put Austin up 42-20 and Justice added a lay-up to make ti 46-42 Austin.
“I think it kind of hit us all that it was do or die,” Justice said. “Everybody stepped up their game.”
Austin forced 25 turnovers and sophomore Mer Gach had 13 rebounds for the Packers.
The Packers will now focus on a rematch with No. 1 seeded Red Wing. The Wingers (19-7 overall) beat Austin 62-47 Nov. 29. No. 4 seeded Austin will play at Red Wing Saturday at 7 p.m.
“They’re a very good team and (Tesha) Buck makes them go,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to find a way to slow Buck down and contain their other players.”
Waseca 27 24 — 51
Austin 23 36 — 59
Austin scoring: Jenna Svoboda, 19; Steph Justice, 16; Taylor Lady, 9; Mer Gach, 5; Merideth Fritz, 2; Alex Hansen, 2; Sydney Murphy, 2; free throws: 57 percent (17-for-30); rebounds: 41 (Gach, 13); turnovers: 14