Winona clinches win over Austin

Published 4:36 pm Saturday, December 19, 2009

In many ways, Friday night’s 54-49 loss to Winona was the Austin girls’ best outing of the year.

Defensively they pressured the ball, held Winona’s scorers check and made key shots along the way to put them in a position to win. But in the end it was poor free-throw shooting that made it difficult to get over the hump for the Packers.

Austin was just 7 of 21 from the line, many of those missed coming in the second half when the Packers were trying hard not to let the Winhawks runaway with the game.

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“We hit a spell where we couldn’t hit a basket at all,” head coach Gary Peterson said. “We couldn’t make free throws.”

Not that Winona was much better, going 10 of 24 from the line, again many of those game in the second half.

Austin and Winona traded leads throughout much of the game, however it was the Packers who took the lead into half-time thanks to a flurry of scoring with less than two minutes remaining.

Winona led 24-18 when the Packers’ Bri Mayer banked home a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 24-21. On the ensuing inbounds, Jenna Svoboda picked the pass and scored, making it a one-point game.

Meredith Molhusen scored on successive trips down the floor to give Austin the 27-24 lead at the break.

The Packers held the slim lead early in the second half before the two teams began trading trips to the free-throw line. The Winhawks were able to put together two separate runs which would lead to a 51-41 lead a little over half way through the half.

Austin, though, was able to keep the game in check and battled back in late. Molhusen drained a three cutting the Winona lead to 51-44. At around two minutes remaining Mayer got a put-back to make it 52-46 followed the next trip down the floor by Svoboda who got the shot to fall and was fouled. The free throw made it 52-49.

The Packers had several chances in the final minute, but three turnovers in that span put the game out of reach.

Despite the free throw situation, Peterson labeled the game a plus and marked it as probably Austin’s best game of the season so far.

“We didn’t let it get away from us,” Peterson said. “This is a movement forward. I think we emphasize this as a positive for our players.”

Svoboda led the Packers with 13 points followed by Mayer who scored 12 on the night.

Austin falls to 1-4 on the year and will take on Simley this coming Tuesday in Simley.

Austin scoring: Jenna Svoboda, 13; Bri Mayer, 12; Meredith Molhusen, 9; Babaye Oja, 4; Meg Brucker, 4; Kaycee Lukes, 3; Robin Arjes, 2; Sophia Hebrink, 1; Nina Carney 1. Field goals: 29 percent (19-for-66); three-pointers: 21 percent (4-for-19); free throws: 33 percent (7-for-21); rebounds: 32; turnovers: 23.