Do the hustle: Packer girls bring energy to top winless Tigers

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Packer girls basketball team has surpassed the halfway point of the season and its once inexperienced roster is starting to look a little more gritty.

Austin set the tone early against Albert Lea as they walked away with an 81-56 win over the Tigers (0-19 overall) in Ove Berven Gym Tuesday.

Junior Marissa Shute led the attack on both ends as she was all over the court while compiling 18 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and four assists. Despite being the favorites, the Packers didn’t take anything for granted.

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“Even though they don’t have the best record so far this season, we knew they were still going to come out and fight and we’d have to play our hardest,” said Shute. “We needed to work for everything and I think that’s what we went out there and did.”

Austin jumped out to a 15-9 lead early on as junior Ajiem Agwa scored nine of her 31 points in the game’s first three and a half minutes. That lead only grew with time as the Packers (8-10 overall) continued to provide pressure.

Austin sophomore Gracie Arndt played a big role in the paint as she posted up seven points and 12 rebounds. Arndt is starting to find her footing in her varsity season.

“I learned that the varsity game is much faster and you have to get used to it. You can’t let mistakes let you down,” Arndt said. “If I make a mistake, I just have to get back and support my team. The juniors are amazing. They offer so much support and they’re so helpful to me. They always have something positive to say.”

Shute, Agwa and Mackenzie Brede have all been thrust into major leadership roles as the only Packers with big-time varsity experience headed into this season. They’ve matured fast this season as they’ve shown the way for their younger teammates.

“All three of us have had to grow up and we’re basically the leaders on the team,” Shute said. “Everybody looks to us and when we make a mistake or something’s going wrong, they look for us to have a good attitude and be leaders on the floor.”

AL 28  38  –  56

Austin 46  35  –  81

Austin scoring: Ajiem Agwa, 31; Marissa Shute, 18; Addison Walsh, 12; Gracie Arndt, 7; Mackenzie Brede, 2; Nyaguay Mar, 2