Sheehan sparks Packer girls past Falcons

Austin's Jocelyn Sheehan gets a putback in the first half against Faribault in Ove Berven Gym. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin senior Jocelyn Sheehan didn’t just post a career-high amount of points on Tuesday against Faribault, she also kept her team in a game it needed to win.

Sheehan came off the bench to score 16 points as the Packers bounced back from a three-point halftime hole to beat Faribault 49-41 in Ove Berven Gym.

The Falcons (1-10 overall, 0-6 Big Nine) closed the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 30-27 lead, but the deficit would’ve been much worse for Austin if Sheehan hadn’t scored 10 of points in the first frame.

“In the first half, Jocelyn was the difference in us staying in the ball game,” Austin head coach Todd Johnson said. “She did a lot of things for us and that leadership was critical.”

Austin's Christine Barinka heads in for a lay-up as time runs out in the first half against Faribault at Ove Berven Gym Tuesday night. The shot was not in time, coming after the buzzer.

Sheehan, who added six rebounds and two steals, helped the Packers close out the game as well. She grabbed a key offensive rebound with Austin leading 45-40 with 2:58 left in the game and she converted a steal for a lay-up to make it 45-38 Packers with five minutes left in the game.

“I felt that somebody needed to spark up the team, so why not me,” Sheehan said. “I think we were all just assuming we would beat them because we beat them last year. We were going back on last year and not focusing on tonight’s game much.”

Austin took the lead back early in the first half when it used a 10-0 run to take a 39-32 lead. The Packers never trailed the rest of the way, but the Falcons did get as close as 45-41 with 2:05 left.

“It shows character to come back and we only gave up 11 points in the second half,” Austin head coach Todd Johnson said. “We just need to be a lot better at making shots that we should make.”

The Packers (5-7 overall, 2-4 Big Nine) have now rattled off five wins in a row after dropping their first seven games of the season.

“It’s exciting to be in the locker room with five in a row after losing seven in a row,” Johnson said. “You’ve got a little swagger in your step and it feels good.”

While the Packers pulled off a comeback on Tuesday, Sheehan said she’d much rather play in a game where the team starts strong.

“We need to come out strong and say strong. Playing catch-up sucks,” she said.

Austin senior Jenna Svoboda finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and three assists in the win.

Faribault 30 11 — 41

Austin 27 22 — 49

Austin scoring: Jocelyn Sheehan, 16; Jenna Svoboda, 8; Taylor Lady, 6; Steph Justice, 5; Mer Gach, 5; Merideth Fritz, 4; Shayley Vesel, 3; Gabby Wagner, 2; free throws: 65 percent (11-for-17); rebounds: 37 (Svoboda, 11); turnovers: 21

 

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