Winhawks knock off Austin girls

Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Austin's Babaye Oja drives between Winona's Ellen Blacklock, left, and Nicky Becher during the second half of their Section 1AAA tournament game Wednesday night in Winona. - Eric Johnson/

WINONA — Two long scoring droughts caught up to Austin as it had its season end in a 64-54 loss in the first round of the Section 1AAA girls basketball tournament in Winona Wednesday.

Austin's Taylor Lady shoots in the first half Wednesday night against Winona during the Section 1AAA tournament in Winona. - Eric Johnson/

The No. 5 seeded Packers (9-16 overall) suffered a 10-minute scoreless stretch in the first half that saw No. 4 Winona (10-12 overall) put together a 15-0 run to go up 29-17 with 3:19 left in the half.

Austin trailed by 10 at the break, but it didn’t score in the first six minutes of the second half as Winona scored nine straight to go up 42-23.

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Austin rallied to get back within six with four minutes left, but the Packers had two straight turnovers and Winona went back up 58-48 with 2:40 left by hitting four straight free throws.

“It was kind of like it’s been all season,” Austin head coach Gary Peterson said. “We get down, we fight back and we make it a game at the end. You can’t go that long without scoring. A couple of times in the first half, we’d go down and throw up a shot on the first pass instead of showing some patience.”

Austin got back into the game when sophomore forward Taylor Lady scored eight points in a span of two minutes late in the second half. She hit a three and a jumper to make it 50-41 and then she converted a three-point play to make it 54-46 with 4:23 left. Stephanie Justice hit a jumper on a pass from Lady to make it 54-48.

Austin's Nina Carney tries to pick up a loose ball in the second half against Winona Wednesday night in the Section 1AAA tournament in Winona. - Eric Johnson/

“I just wanted to win so bad for the team,” Lady, who scored all 12 of her points in the second half, said. “I was pushing hard and pushing all the girls so we could win.”

Austin led 17-14 with 12:51 left in the game after Sophia Hebrink, who had 10 points and three blocked shots, and Jenna Svoboda knocked down threes and Danielle Tschann scored on a lay-up.

That’s when Austin hit its first lull that lasted until Mary Kate Barinka drove for a lay-up to make it 29-19.

While Austin’s offense struggled, its defense shut down Winona’s biggest inside threat in sophomore center Ellen Blacklock. The Packers held her scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the game and she finished with just 10 points.

However, Winona senior forward Nicky Becher picked up the slack as she hit all five of her three-point attempts, including four in the first half. Becher finished with 20 points.

Austin's Danielle Tschann shoots during the second half of the Packers' Section 1AAA tournament game against Winona Wednesday night in Winona. - Eric Johnson/

“I thought we did a good job against Blacklock and that was the right defense to play against her,” Peterson said. “If (Becher) isn’t hitting those shots, we win the game. But there were a couple of times we left people wide open.”

Austin finished the year with four more wins than it did a year ago as it will graduate five seniors. The team will bring back it’s top two scores in Svoboda and Babaye Oja.

“I think we have a good season coming next year,” Lady said. “We have a lot of holes to fill from the seniors that are leaving but I think we can do it.”

Austin 23 31 — 54

Winona 33 31 — 64

Austin scoring: Taylor Lady, 12; Sophia Hebrink, 10; Jenna Svoboda, 9; Stephanie Justice, 8; Babaye Oja, 7; Meredith Molhusen, 2; Mary Kate Barinka, 2; Danielle Tschann, 2; free throws: 43 percent (3-for-7); rebounds: 26 (Svoboda, 7); turnovers: 22

Winona scoring: Nicky Becher, 20; Ellen Blacklock, 10; Makala Hansen, 8; Anna Eddy, 7; Clara Morcomb, 6; Haley Schultz, 6; Audrey Sharmer, 4; Kyarra Pinkerton, 1; free throws: 81 percent (13-for-16); rebounds: 31 (Blacklock, 10); turnovers: 14

Austin's Jenna Svoboda drives past Winona's Ellen Blacklock during the first half in Winona during the Section 1AAA tournament. - Eric Johnson/