Changing of the guard: A pair of Austin hoopers are on the rise

Published 9:22 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

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There comes a time in every go-to scorer’s life when they suddenly realize that they are no longer just a spot-up shooter, or occasional option on the basketball court.

They are now the focal point.

That approach started to form in Austin junior Ajiem Agwa last season and now freshman Quinn Osgood has followed suit as the Packers’ young dynamic duo is starting to grow up.

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“Ajiem looks really good on offense. She can score from deep and she’s really tough on that one and one,” Austin head coach Eric Zoske said. “Quinn was one of our best scorers last year and she’s starting strong again. She had five threes against Kasson; the season’s early, but the growth from game one to game two was pretty unbelievable.”

Osgood is averaging 14.5 points, 2.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, while Agwa is averaging 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 7.0 steals per game.

Both players have played fearless this season and they’re quickly learning what it takes to be aggressive on offense.

“If I keep shooting, one of them will drop eventually,” Agwa said. “I have to lead the team now. It’s more fun this year, because we’re all playing together and we’re all friends.”

Osgood carries Agwa’s sentiment on shooting until she makes it and she’s also learned to stay focused on the task at hand, no matter what is going on in the background.

“I just tell myself to keep shooting and don’t let people in the stands get in my head,” Osgood said.

Both Osgood and Agwa were motivated by family. Osgood started playing basketball after her older brother and current Austin senior Isaac started playing and Agwa was inspired by her cousins and Austin grads Medi Obang and Agwa Obang.

“My brother started playing in third or fourth grade,” Osgood said. “ When you have an older sibling, you obviously look up to them. I kept it going and it became one of my top priorities.”

Osgood balances basketball along with softball and volleyball, while Agwa plays volleyball, but focuses on basketball.

Agwa is a threat every time she has the ball in her hands, but she also knows it takes more than just buckets to win games.

“Basketball is one of my favorite sports and I really like playing it,” Agwa said. “We have to make sure we’re all rebounding and boxing out. If we don’t do that, we’ll never win a game.”

The Packers (1-1 overall) have a lot of new players on the roster this winter, which makes this an interesting season for the team.

“We had three good seniors last year, and it is nice because these girls are all really good friends and their leadership skills have really developed,” Zoske said. “They’re young and there are no egos on the team. They’re a tough little bunch and I give a lot of credit to the underclassmen on this team. They’re playing really hard.”

Osgood knows that the Packers have had a successful program over the past few years and she is intent on keeping things that way.

“We did lose two of our best players from last year, but we just have to bring it together,” Osgood said. “Whatever they left, we have to keep it going.”

Austin will host Rochester Century in its home opener in Ove Berven Gym at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Packers at the next level

If Ajeim Agwa and Quinn Osgood end up playing college basketball, they’ll join a plethora of Packers who went on to play at the next level.

The Austin girls basketball program has produced a lot of talent in recent years as the team has five recent players playing college basketball.

Austin grads Oliva Walsh, Hope Dudycha and Emma Dudycha are all playing at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Walsh is averaging 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, Hope is averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and Emma is averaging 1.7 points per game.

Cassidy Shute is averaging 11.7 points per game in her freshman season at Rochester Community and Technical College (5-1 overall). 

Austin grad Elyse Hebrink is averaging 1.2 points per game at Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota.