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.
“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.”
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.
“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