Packers overcome early struggles to knock off Falcons
Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019
The No. 4 seeded Austin girls basketball team didn’t back down when it faced an early deficit against No. 5 Faribault (5-21 overall). Instead the Packers reached deep down and found a spark to knock off the Falcons 79-49 in a Section 1AAA quarterfinal in Ove Berven Gym Wednesday.
Austin (18-8 overall) trailed 15-7 early on, but the Packers bounced back with a 16-4 spurt to go up 23-19 with five minutes left in the half. Emma Dudycha, who had 13 points and five steals off the bench, had a pair of lay-ups in that rally and she also drained a three to beat the halftime buzzer that put Austin up 35-27 at the break.
“As a team, we decided that we were going to start to play mad,” Emma said. “We just had to come in and want it.”
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Ten players scored in the win for Austin and the Packers forced 27 Falcon turnovers.
“Depth really made the difference,” Austin head coach Eric Zoske said. “Faribault’s got some good players and they have a really good point guard with Abby VanRyn. She can hang for as long as she can hang, but when we throw nine girls out there who are pretty athletic; I think over the course of 36 minutes it wore her down tonight.”
Hope Dudycha finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists for Austin, Elyse Hebrink had 11 points, three rebounds and two steals and Kyra Walters had 12 points and five rebounds.
“When we play as a team, we play as one and it’s a lot better game,” Walters said. “We’re moving the ball so fast that the defense just doesn’t know what to do.”
Austin will now take on No. 1 seeded Red Wing in the Section 1AAA semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday in Mayo Civic Center. The Wingers (23-2 overall) swept the regular season series from Austin, beating the Packers 53-46 on Jan. 8 and topping Austin 72-39 on Feb. 21.
Zoske said the Packers will come into the game fired up.
“For everyone who’s paid attention to the section voting, I think that’s all of the motivation that we need,” he said.
Zoske also credited the support from the Austin community this season.
“I’ve got to thank the people of Austin for coming out,” Zoske said. “I’ve had multiple coaches tell me that this is the hardest place to play in the Big Nine and it doesn’t happen without the support of the community.”
Faribault 27 22 — 49
Austin 35 44 — 79
Austin scoring: Emma Dudycha, 13; Hope Dudycha, 12; Kyra Walters, 12; Elyse Hebrink, 11; Abby Lewis, 9; Colie Justice, 7; Kiwi VanZant, 6; Chloe Sheehan, 4; Erica Lundberg, 2; Emily Bollum, 2; free throws: 85 percent (11-for-13); rebounds: 30 (VanZant, 7); turnovers: 9