Packers clamp down Panthers
Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023
The Packers didn’t light up the scoreboard, but they were active throughout the night as they locked down Rochester Century in a 57-27 win in a girls basketball game in Ove Berven Gym Tuesday.
Austin sophomore Ajiem Agwa created a lot of defensive pressure and she also carried much of the offensive workload as she paced the Packers with 20 points.
The Packers (15-6 overall) have now held two opponents to 27 points a game this season and this was the lowest scoring game for the Panthers this season. Austin was able to stay effective due to the defense of Marissa Shute, who matched up with Century’s Taylor Clarey.
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“We knew when the season started that we were going to get better as the season went on because we were so young,” said head coach Eric Zoske. “Tonight Marissa Shute held one of the best players in the conference without a point until late in the game. That was a phenomenal effort.”
Austin took a 37-18 lead when Cassidy Shute hit a three with 9:25 left in the game and the Panthers were never able to get back in the game. Austin dominated the second half with controlled possessions and strong defense.
With both Shute girls having a background in cross country and track and field, their endurance sets the pace for younger players like Agwa, who has done her best to add defensive prowess to compliment her offensive firepower.
“Playing defense is a big role,” Agwa said. “If you play defense right, the offense will flow together. Cassidy and Marissa push me to my hardest. Sometimes I fall a little behind, but I try my best.”
Austin eighth grader Quinn Osgood brought the crowd to its feet when she swished her third three of the half to beat the halftime buzzer and put the Packers up 25-15 at the break.
Osgood continues to be a spark plug to the Packer offense with shooting and her hustle on defense has been crucial as well.
“I am getting more comfortable with the team and I’m more confident right now,” she said.
The game was tied at 6-6 early on when the Packer defense stepped up and held Century (14-7 overall) to two points over the next 12-minute stretch as Austin built up a 19-8 lead.
Olivia Walsh finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks for Austin.
With just five games remaining in the schedule, the Packers are right in the thick of the Big Nine race. If Austin stays hot, it has a legitimate chance to win a conference crown, which says a lot for a team that starts two sophomores and a middle schooler.
“We’re so excited,” Agwa said of the conference chase. “That’s going to be our biggest motivation for the rest of the year.”
Century 15 12 – 27
Austin 25 32 – 57
Austin scoring: Ajiem Agwa, 20; Olivia Walsh, 12; Quinn Osgood, 9; Marissa Shute, 8; Cassidy Shute, 6; Kristen Nielsen, 2