Packer girls start strong in big win

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Austin's Jenna Svoboda puts up a shot through the lane during the first half Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. - Eric Johnson/

It was all about the starts for the Austin girls basketball team against Rochester John Marshall Tuesday night.

And the starts were good.

The Packers started the first half on a 14-0 run and they opened the second half on a 7-0 run as they beat the Rockets 57-28 in Ove Berven Gym Tuesday.

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It was the best defensive effort of the season for the Packers as they held JM (2-8 overall, 2-3 Big Nine) scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second half to seize a 37-15 lead.

“We just need to come out with that intensity all the time and we’ll get some confidence from this win,” Austin guard Mary Kate Barinka, who had 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting while dishing out four assists, said. “It helps us a lot to start fast, because it’s hard to fight back when you’re down right at the beginning of the game.”

Austin's Meredith Molhusen looks for a putback against Rochester John Marshall in the first half Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. - Eric Johnson/

Austin’s defense was in full force from the opening tip as it ran a box and one zone on JM’s Katelyn Rushton, who had scored 30 in her previous game. The Packers (4-5 overall, 4-1 Big Nine) used Babaye Oja and Taylor Lady’s defense to hold Rushton to six points on 2-for-10 shooting.

“We didn’t want to let her get going or get confidence,” Austin head coach Gary Peterson said. “We were trying to keep fresh people on her and nobody else stepped up for them.”

While the defense was rolling, the Packers were out and running as they looked to get out on the break. Sophomore center Jenna Svoboda led Austin with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals.

“We don’t really have height, so our speed is our number one thing. We try to run as much as we can,” Svoboda said.

While Austin started strong by taking a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes, their offense slowed down for the rest of the first half. They scored just 14 points over the next 12 minutes and JM pulled within 20-13 off a Megan Haynes three-pointer.

Nina Carney banked in a three to make it 23-13 and Austin led 28-15 at the half.

It took four minutes for either team to score in the second half when Taylor Lady finally knocked down a short jumper and that’s when the Packers took over.

“I was a little worried in the second half, but once we got that first basket, we got going,” Peterson said. “We didn’t want to let them back in it, because they can get confidence, but if you can push it out a little, it goes easier.”

JM 15 13 — 28

Austin 28 29 — 57

Austin scoring: Jenna Svoboda, 16; Mary Kate Barinka, 10; Sophia Hebrink, 7; Nina Carney, 7; Babaye Oja, 6; Stephanie Justice, 4; Meredith Molhusen, 3; Taylor Lady, 2; Ashley Follmuth, 2; field goals: 35 percent (24-for-69); three-pointers: 27 percent (3-for-11); free throws: 40 percent (6-for-15); rebounds: 40 (Sophia Hebrink, 7; Babaye Oja, 7); turnovers: 21

JM scoring: Amalia Dzamalija, 7; Katelyn Rushton, 6; Christina Block, 6; Megan Haynes, 5; Kellie Grossman, 4; field goals: 21 percent (12-for-56); three-pointers: 7 percent (1-for-14); rebounds: 39 (Dzamalija, 9); turnovers: 31