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Packer girls fight to the finish against Mankato East

Jan. 19—The Austin girls basketball team was a little under the weather and a little short on experience, but it fought until the final whistle in a 71-60 loss to Mankato East in Ove Berven Gym Friday.

The Packers (5-9 overall) trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, but they tied the game at 29 after a three-pointer by Marissa Shute and a lay-up by Ajiem Agwa late in the first frame.

East took a 32-29 lead when Macy Birkholz drilled a three with 38 seconds left in the half and Austin was never able to tie or take the lead again.

"We're sick, we're beat up. We've got ankles, we've got backs and we've got illnesses," Austin head coach Eric Zoske said. "Kind of behind the curtain, we're fighting through a lot of adversity and for them to go out there and compete like that is good. I've got a locker room full of beat up girls."

Austin trailed by as many as 54-38 in the second half and it crawled to within 66-57 when Quinn Osgood hit a three with 1:40 left in the game.

Osgood finished with 10 points and five rebounds for Austin, Agwa had 21 points, six rebounds and two steals and Shute contributed 13 points, seven rebounds.

Birkholz led the Cougars (10-6 overall) with 32 points. She is one of four seniors who stepped up for East.

"Macy is an incredible player and I've always enjoyed going against her," Zoske said. "They have a lot of seniors on their team and we don't have any. Our young girls had to step up and play grown-up ball against them. There is a lot to be proud of."

The game served as teacher appreciation night as teachers were given a chance to participate in a three-point shootout at halftime.

"You've got to give these teachers credit for putting in a lot of time and we appreciate them," Zoske said.

East 29 42 — 71

Austin 32 28 — 60

Austin scoring: Ajiem Agwa, 21; Marissa Shute, 13; Quinn Osgood, 10; Atee Obang, 6; Gracie Arndt, 5; Kenzie Brede, 3; Addison Walsh, 2