Packers put forth their best effort to sink KoMets in playoff opener

Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The No. 3 seeded Packers found their shot early on and they never missed a beat as they led throughout the night in a 77-59 win over No. 6 Kasson-Mantorville in a Section 1AAA quarterfinal in Ove Berven Gym Wednesday night.

Austin (19-8 overall) had just four players score and three of them broke the 20-point barrier as senior Olivia Walsh had 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, sophomore Ajiem Agwa had 25 points and seven rebounds and eighth grader Quinn Osgood put up 21 points.

Walsh, who has competed in the state track and field meet and state swimming and diving meet in each of the last two years, is starting to see big signs from her basketball team, which went to state last year with a much different cast.

Email newsletter signup

“Everyone has grown. If you would’ve told me before the season that we had a shot at going to state this year, I would’ve said you were insane,” Walsh said. “I told the girls in the locker room tonight, if we play like we did for stretches tonight, we can beat anybody.”

Agwa has emerged as a go-to scorer for the Packers this winter as she can shoot from the perimeter and get to the hoop against older and bigger opponents.

“I felt very confident going in and I was relaxed,” Agwa said. “Since I’ve been in AAU, I’ve been confident to drive on anyone.”

Austin made its first four threes of the game as it jumped out to a 16-6 lead, but KM crept as close as 16-14, however, it never tied or took the lead.

Austin finished the half on a 9-3 spurt to take a 41-30 lead into the break.

Osgood had 14 of her 21 points in the first half as she was effective from the arc and the open court.

“If the question was if there was pressure on the young kids, Quinn came out and hit two threes in less than sixty seconds and he just seemed to handle it and she wiped off any pressure,” Austin head coach Eric Zoske said. “She’s a gamer and we had 13 made threes on the night. That’s close to, if not a school record.”

The KoMets (13-13 overall) beat Austin in the season opener in Ove Berven, but that was before KM standout point guard Aby Shubert was injured for the season.

“They have a lot of really good young players, but from game one to 27, we’ve grown a lot,” Zoske said.

The Packers will play at No. 2 seeded Red Wing in a Section 1A semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Wingers and Packers split the regular season series, with each team winning their home game.

Kasson-Mantorville 30  29  – 59

Austin 41  36  – 77

Austin scoring: Ajiem Agwa, 25; Olivia Walsh, 22; Quinn Osgood, 21; Cassidy Shute, 9