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Austin's Mer Gach spins on Waseca's Kirstin Simmons during the first half of their Section 1AAA quarterfinal game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.
Austin's Mer Gach spins on Waseca's Kirstin Simmons during the first half of their Section 1AAA quarterfinal game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.

Seniors lead Packer girls past Waseca

Published 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's Jenna Svoboda puts up a shot against Waseca in the first half of their Section 1AAA first-round game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.
Austin’s Jenna Svoboda puts up a shot against Waseca in the first half of their Section 1AAA first-round game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.

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.”

Austin's Taylor Lady shoots over Waseca's Katie Miller during the second half of their Section 1AAA quarterfinal game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.
Austin’s Taylor Lady shoots over Waseca’s Katie Miller during the second half of their Section 1AAA quarterfinal game Wednesday night in Ove Berven Gym.

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


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  • whatithink69

    Great coverage Rocky – these senior girls have played together since before grade 4 and it was great fun to see them play their last game on their home court with such heart! There are many great memories but this one will rank up at the top.

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  • AustinAvenue

    Let’s go take down the Red Wing Wingers ! It’s time for the Packers to show their stuff ! The Wingers have lost 7 games, they are far from unbeatable and the Pack is yet to play their best game !

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  • Gotttabekiddingme

    You should watch these girls a little more before you open your big mouth about a player…. She has spent her whole life playing basketball with her team and she is not a selfish player. Because she reaches a career milestone of 1000 points and then suffers an injury you question that? She spent 3 hours in the emergency room and had an official diagnosis and treatment plan which was followed by the team athletic trainer- Before she got cleared to practice- Gimme a break. As a parent, I have been sitting in the stands for the past 13 years watching and praying an injury doesn’t happen to my daughter or cut her season short- she works just as hard as all of these great girls- they are all awesome! Keep your mouth shut if you don’t have something good to say……

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  • Gottabekiddingme

    Wow- Obviously a bitter parent of someone who didn’t work quite as hard as the rest of these girls…… Give it up and don’t bother coming to any more games- I’m sure you won’t be missed…..

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