Nine Packers score in win over Mankato East girls

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Everyone got involved in the action and the Austin girls basketball team won its second game in the last three contests with a 55-50 win over Mankato East in Packer Gym Tuesday.

“Things finally went our way,” Austin head coach Gary Peterson said. “A lot of people did good things for us and this was a team win.”

Sophomore Babaye Oja gave the Packers (4-16, 3-11 Big Nine) the lead for good when she drove for a lay-up to make it 48-46 with 2:12 left in the game. Robin Arjes came up with a block on the Cougars’ ensuing possession and Oja, who had six points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, found Jenna Svoboda for a lay-up to make it 50-46 with 1:12 left in the game.

“I know me and all the other girls are sick of this losing by five or less,” said Austin guard Kaycee Lukes, who had 12 points and five steals. “We just want to close out these games. We’ve been keeping our composure lately and we’ve been relaxed.”

The Cougars (5-15 overall, 4-10 Big Nine) jumped out to a 31-21 lead with 3:30 left in the first half, but Austin scored the last four points of the half when Meredith Molhusen hit a runner and Taylor Lady hit two free throws.

“It was very important that we weren’t down by a lot at halftime,” Peterson said. “I didn’t want to be down by ten or more, because its a struggle to come back.”

The Packers put on the full court press to open the second half and it changed the game’s tempo as they forced 15 East turnovers in the last 18 minutes.

“That gave us a ton of energy,” Lukes said of the press. “It’s kind of hard to just fall back into a defense and you don’t get as much momentum as you should. With the press, you have more energy and that helped.”

Austin hung to within two to four points for most of the second half, but it never led in the second frame until Oja’s bucket that gave them the lead for good.

Robin Arjes had a big game inside for the Packers as she had 10 points and 11 rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting.

“We played more as a team and the posts were open,” Arjes said. “We moved the ball around and our defense was a lot better than it’s been in a while.”

Arjes had the task of guarding Mankato East center Kelsey Mosher, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds. While Mosher, who scored 21 in the team’s first meeting, was effective — Arjes limited her to just nine field goal attempts by denying the ball.

“I just played hard and stayed in front of her. I watched a little tape of her before the game and got down what she was doing,” Arjes said.

Nine different players scored in the win for Austin and senior Bri Mayer came up big off the bench. She had a steal that set up a Mary Kate Barinka lay-up to tie the game at 46 and she had all four of her points in the second half.

“Bri really gave us a lot of energy,” Lukes said. “I know from not starting this game she had a lot of motivation to get out there and she gave us some fire.”

Mankato East 31 19 — 50

Austin 25 30 — 55

Austin scoring: Kaycee Lukes, 12; Robin Arjes, 10; Babaye Oja, 6; Jenna Svoboda, 6; Taylor Lady, 6; Meg Brucker, 5; Meredith Molhusen, 4; Bri Mayer, 4; Mary Kate Barinka, 2; field goals: 36.5 percent (23-for-63); three-pointers: 0 percent (0-for-10); free throws: 56.3 percent (9-for-16); rebounds: 32 (Arjes, 11); turnovers: 17

Mankato East scoring: Kelsey Mosher, 17; Taylor Homan, 12; Abby Connell, 8; Grace Benzkofer, 6; Coley Ries, 4; Karli DesLauriers, 3; field goals: 33.3 percent (17-for-51); three-pointers: 6.7 percent (1-for-15); free throws: 71.4 percent (15-for-21); rebounds: 29 (Mosher, 14); turnovers: 21