Falcons edge out Austin girls basketball team down the stretch

Published 9:44 pm Saturday, January 23, 2010

They just can’t pull out a win.

The Packers girls basketball team was strong in some areas but fell short in some key aspects of the game in a 62-58 loss to Faribault in Ove Berven Gym Saturday.

The Packers (2-13 overall, 1-8 Big Nine) hit half of their field goals and three-pointers but missed 10 of their 12 free throws and had 29 turnovers, while forcing just 13 Faribault turnovers.

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Five of Austin’s turnovers came in the last three minutes as they let a 54-50 lead slip away.

“We lost composure down the stretch. We were out of position and some of our kids panicked out there,” Austin head coach Gary Peterson said. “There was a couple times we didn’t get back on defense and we had turnovers at critical times. We just don’t know how to win down the stretch. We can’t close it.”

Austin led throughout most of the second half and it took a 56-55 lead when Babaye Oja scored on a drive to the hoop with 1:28 left in the game. Faribault (7-7 overall, 6-3 Big Nine) took the lead for good when Marisa Amacher drilled a three from the top of the key with 55 seconds left to put the Falcons up 58-56.

Besides shooting well, Austin played good defense at times against Faribault, which has now won five straight.

After falling behind 10-5 to open the game, the Packers scored 15 straight points as they shutout the Falcons for a five-minute span and took a 20-10 lead.

Sophia Hebrink, who was three-for-four on threes with nine points, and Kaycee Lukes, who hit treys during the rally.

The loss was Austin’s fifth by five points or less this season and the close shortcomings are starting to wear on the team.

“It’s rough, because we’re playing way better than we were at the beginning of the season. It’s hard to play that hard the whole game and end up losing,” said Austin senior forward Bri Mayer, who had nine points and three rebounds Saturday. “We need to get each other pumped and ready for the game. We have our intense moments and other times we just kind of give up a little bit.”

Senior center Robin Arjes had six points and nine rebounds and freshman forward Jenna Svoboda had seven points and five steals for Austin.

Faribault beat Austin 73-55 in the team’s previous meeting Dec. 15.

Faribault 22 40 — 62

Austin 24 34 — 58

Austin scoring: Bri Mayer, 9; Meg Brucker, 9; Sophia Hebrink, 9; Babaye Oja, 8; Jenna Svoboda, 7; Robin Arjes, 6; Nina Carney, 5; Kaycee Lukes, 5; field goals: 47 percent (20-for-53); three-pointers: 50 percent (6-for-12); free throws: 17 percent (2-for-12); rebounds: 25 (Arjes, 9); turnovers: 29

Faribault scoring: Michaela Smith, 18; Marisa Amacher, 13; Jenna Henry, 10; Maggie Stoeckel, 7; Jenna Peanasky, 6; Emily Dell, 6; Katie Kaderlick, 2; field goals: 40 percent (23-for-58); three-pointers: 50 percent (3-for-6); free throws: 65 percent (13-for-20); rebounds: 27 (Smith, 8); turnovers: 13