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Athletes of the Week — Austin Girls Basketball Team

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) — For the first time since 2008 the Austin Girl’s Basketball team is headed to the State Tournament, heading to the University of Minnesota armed with a 20 win season.

March marks the start of spring. A time when things can start to blossom and that’s exactly what’s happening to the Austin Girl’s basketball team.

Austin Junior Guard, Colie Justice

They’ve hit their stride at the perfect time and as we see time and time again all it can take is a little luck, and the shots to fall, to create the madness and the magic of March.

“We just work so well together and we just gotta stay focused,” said Austin Guard, Colie Justice.

A hot start to the season propelled the Packers to a 9-2 record, but then they had to play Red Wing, the number one team in the state and things started to unravel, losing five of nine games.

But then they hit their stride in late February, playing 11 games in the shortest month of the year and winning four of five to end the season, but that one loss was to Red Wing, when the Packers only mustered up 39 points.

Fast forward to just a week later in the Section 1AAA tournament and the four seed Packers took down the number one Wingers in a 73-70 thriller.

Austin Head Coach, Eric Zoske, leads a team huddle

“Doesn’t matter about other people, because their coach voted us at the number four seed, when we should have been the number 2 or 3, so we’re glad to stick it to them and move on,” said Austin Head Coach, Eric Zoske, after the quarterfinal game,

“This year has not been easy for all of our close knit fans that know things that we’ve gone through this year, so it has not been easy, we believed that we could and I’m a religious man and the good Lord helped us out today.”

Fast forward another week and the Austin Packers claimed the section championship with a 62-50 over the two seed Northfield Raiders.

“I think we got a little underrated being the four seed, but we had to show everyone that we weren’t the four seed and I think we did just that. Being the four gave us the drive to want to come out on top,” added Justice.

What started as a dream, has blossomed into an unexpected state championship run.

Austin Head Coach, Eric Zoske

“I’d be lying if I told you that we expected this, but we knew we had a chance and whatever that chance was, we got it,” said Zoske, after their section championship.

“It feels unreal, it’s super awesome, because we all put in so much hard work and it paid off and it’s a great feeling,” continued Justice.

The Austin Packers are headed to Maturi Pavilion, in Minneapolis, to take on the champions of Section 6, Robbinsdale Cooper.

For their improbable run, the Austin Packers Girls Basketball Team is this week’s KTTC Newscenter Sports Athletes of the Week.

Holden Krusemark

Holden Krusemark

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