Packers roll past Byron in opener

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Austin girls basketball team opened its season on a high note as it led by as many as 25 points down the stretch in a 73-62 win over Byron in Ove Berven Gym Tuesday.

Austin juniors Colie Justice and sophomore Elyse Hebrink each made their return to the court count as both of them were back in the lineup after missing a year of sports with injuries. Hebrink had seven points, three rebounds and two steals and Justice poured in 21 points, while dishing out three assists.

Austin’s Elyse Hebrink drives to the hoop during the first half against Byron Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. Eric Johnson/

“I was a little nervous,” Justice said. “It was fun and we had a nice crowd tonight. We had a lot of positive energy, but we kind of let a lead slip late. It’s kind of a lesson for us to remember we have to put teams away.”

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The Packers jumped out to a 12-4 lead early on as Abby Lewis, who finished with four rebounds and four assists, scored 10 of her 12 points in that stretch. Byron (0-1 overall)

Austin (1-0 overall) has a lot of depth at the guard position this season, but the team showed it can also bring some power in the paint. Kiwi VanZant had six points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists.

“I’m super excited about this year,” VanZant said. “I feel like I’m ready to play my best. I’m ready to work hard in the paint.”

Emma Dudycha cuts through traffic on the way to two points against Byron Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. Eric Johnson/

Justice said that VanZant gave the Packers a big lift in a much needed area.

“Our inside-outside game has been really good,” Justice said. “Kiwi is athletic in there and when she draws attention, she kicks it out to the shooters.”

Austin head coach Eric Zoske was pleased with the opening win, but he’d like to see his team sharpen up it’s play down the stretch.

Austin’s Kiwi VanZant moves around Byron’s Sacia Vanderpool during the first half Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. Eric Johnson/

“You like to win that first game, but we’ve got to be better in that situation,” Zoske said. “Kiwi, Kyra (Walters) and Erica (Lundberg) did a really good job on the glass tonight.”

Byron 22  40    62

Austin 37  36    73

Austin scoring: Colie Justice, 21; Abby Lewis, 12; Hope Dudycha, 8; Erica Lundberg, 7; Kiwi VanZant, 6; Kyra Walters, 6; Emma Dudycha, 4; Chloe Sheehan, 3; free throws: 50 percent (4-for-8); rebounds: 38; turnovers: 11

Austin’s Colie Justice goes up for a lay-up against Byron in the first half Tuesday night in Ove Berven Gym. Eric Johnson/