Packers show signs in loss to No. 9 NP

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Austin's Taylor Lady drives to the basket during the first half against New Prague Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. - Eric Johnson/

The Packers showed they weren’t about to lay down to a team that has had their number in the past in their girls basketball opener Tuesday.

Austin battled back from 15 points down to get within five points twice in the second half in a 54-44 loss to New Prague in its season opener in Ove Berven Gym.

Austin's Jenna Svoboda goes up for the shot under pressure during the first half the Packers' game against New Prague Tuesdaynight at Ove Berven Gym. - Eric Johnson/

Austin senior center Danielle Tschann scored to make it 38-33 with 9:06 left and she hit a jumper to make it 40-35 with 8:34 left, but the Packers would get no closer down the stretch.

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Junior point guard Anna Dittberner poured in 23 points for the Trojans (2-0 overall), who were ranked No. 9 in ‘AA’ in preseason polls, as she went 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

“I thought we played hard,” Austin head coach Gary Peterson said. “It’s just executing and we have to be in the right spots. (Dittberner) just killed us with those free throws at the end.”

Tschann finished with six points and eight rebounds and Jenna Svoboda, a junior forward, had 13 points, 7 rebounds, three steals and two blocks as the Packers (0-1 overall) had their way up front.

Austin held a 42-19 rebounding advantage over the undersized Trojans.

“I’m happy when they’re not towering over me, because I know I can be stronger and not get blocked,” said Svoboda.

While the Packers aren’t happy with a loss, they can take solace in the fact that this is the closest they’ve played New Prague in three years.

Austin's Babaye Oja tries to gain control of a loose ball during the first half against New Prague Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. - Eric Johnson/

“Last year we lost to them by 40, so this was a good improvement and a good way to start off the year,” Svoboda said. “It boosts up our confidence.”

Austin scored the first four points of the game as Svoboda and Babaye Oja, who had eight points, seven rebounds and three steals, broke free for lay-ups. The Trojans took control with a 19-4 run over a 10 minute stretch as their full court press forced 20 turnovers for Austin in the first half.

The Packers had just nine turnovers in the second half — where they outscored New Prague 24-23 — but Austin missed 10 of its 14 free throws on the night.

New Prague 31 23 — 54

Austin 20 24 — 44

Austin scoring: Jenna Svoboda, 13; Babaye Oja, 8; Stephanie Justice, 8; Danielle Tschann, 6; Taylor Lady, 5; Jocelyn Sheehan, 2; Merideth Fritz, 2; field goals: 33 percent (18-for-54); three-pointers: 44 percent (4-for-9); free throws: 29 percent (4-for-14); rebounds: 42 (Tschann, 8); turnovers: 29

New Prague scoring: Annie Dittberner, 23; Anna Rynda, 17; Makayla Reimers, 4; Lexi Ruehling, 4; Lauren Carr, 2; Stephanie Hanson, 2; Emily Rezac, 2; field goals: 39 percent (20-for-52); three-pointers: 25 percent (2-for-8); free throws: 75 percent (12-for-16); rebounds: 19 (Hanson, 5); turnovers: 15