No. 3 Packers put Mayo away

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2003

The fourth quarter has been good to Austin all season long, but the Packers decided not to wait so long to put away Rochester Mayo.

The Packer girls' basketball team, rated fifth in Class AAA, held the Spartans to just six points in the third quarter and earned a Big Nine Conference split with a 55-42 victory Friday night in Ove Berven Gym.

Austin had its chance one week ago to take the lead in the league standings with a win at John Marshall, but despite that loss the Packers are upbeat about their chances for a title.

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"There's so many equal teams that anybody can beat anybody on any given night, especially in our conference," said Packer junior Lisa Bue. "We definitely have a chance to win it. I think if we keep winning it'll work out for us."

Austin unknowingly got a boost from Century, who knocked off JM 38-36 Friday night. The Packers (14-3, 9-3) will need six straight wins to end the regular season and a Rockets loss to win the Big Nine.

"I'm just glad we beat them," AHS senior Steph Eslinger said of Mayo. The Spartans (13-6, 9-4) downed Austin by five in their first meeting, but a fierce Packer defense did the majority of the damage on Friday.

Austin forced 26 turnovers with a full-court zone press, getting five steals from Bue and three each from Eslinger and Amy Kelly. Kelly hit 12-of-17 free-throws -- including 7-of-11 in the fourth quarter -- en route to a game-high 20 points.

The Packers' slashing man-to-man offense created foul trouble for a taller Mayo squad, and three Spartans fouled out before the final horn. Leading scorer Erin Boese, who finished with 11 points, missed out on the last 5:16.

"Our kids I thought played with great intensity the whole night," said AHS coach Gary Peterson. "We got off to a good start in that third quarter. We didn't come out flat and we got some of their girls in foul trouble.

"It was a hard-fought game, we're just glad to come away with a win."

Mayo led only once, 8-7, with 2:41 to play in the first quarter. Austin was in control the rest of the way, relying on full-court defense and a variety of half-court looks to create 26 Spartan turnovers -- eight in the third quarter alone. Laura Geffert got layups out of two Mayo miscues to end the first period and Austin scored the last six points of the quarter for a 13-8 advantage.

"We tried to attack them more," Peterson said. "We had to adjust to the way the game was being played and I thought we did that."

The Spartans were whistled for 22 personal fouls, including a technical foul on coach Les Cookman during the second quarter. Mayo had nine fouls in the second.

Despite losing leading rebounder Linnea Johnson to an ankle sprain, the Spartans had a 37-30 advantage on the glass. Eslinger led Austin with 13 rebounds, seven of which came in the third quarter.

Austin had its worst shooting period in the third, going 6-for-18, but still looked better than Mayo's 1-for-10. Unfamiliar with playing from behind, Mayo made just 1-of-8 three-point tries in the period and 3-of-19 for the game. Austin was an efficient 3-for-4 from beyond the three-point arc.

A three-pointer by Kelly pushed Austin's lead to 39-25 with 2:38 to play in the third, and Bue scored a layup off a steal for the 41-25 edge to end the quarter. Mayo never got closer than eight in the final frame.

"This still gives us a chance at that conference," Coach Peterson said. "And it keeps the pressure on JM. We just have to take care of our games, take care of our business."

Austin plays at Mankato East (0-16, 0-12) Tuesday night, and Owatonna (11-6, 9-3) comes to town on Friday. Both games are at 7:30 p.m.


MAYO (42) -- Megan Linbo 1-1 2-2 4, Melissa O'Brien 4-16 0-0 10, Laura Fulton 0-1 0-0 0, Shelly Monahan 0-3 0-0 0, Erin Boese 5-13 0-0 11, Therese Clark 1-2 4-4 6, Megan Lindman 1-5 3-6 5, Katelyn Carlson 1-3 2-6 4, Brittany Rathbun 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 13-45 13-20.

AUSTIN (55) -- Caitlin Jurgensen 0-1 0-0 0, Brittany Erichson 1-3 0-0 2, Nicole Turvey 0-0 0-0 0, Amy Kelly 3-9 12-17 20, Keri Feller 0-2 0-0 0, Steph Eslinger 5-12 0-2 10, Kelly Momsen 0-0 0-0 0, Laura Geffert 3-6 2-4 8, Lisa Bue 6-13 2-4 15. Totals 18-46 16-28.



Three-pointers--Mayo 3-19 (O'Brien 2, Boese); Austin 3-4 (Kelly 2, Bue). Rebounds--Mayo 37 (Lindman 9, Boese 8); Austin 30 (Eslinger 13, Kelly 5). Team fouls--Mayo 22, Austin 12. Technical foul--Mayo coach Les Cookman. Fouled out--Boese, Lindman, O'Brien. Turnovers--Mayo 26, Austin 19.