Girls Basketball: Red Wing knocks down another section foe8th-ranked Winger open the season 4-0 after beating Austin 62-47 on Thursday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
Nothing was slowing down Tesha Buck in the second half on Thursday. Not Austin’s defense. Not even an injury to her shooting hand.
The senior guard went off for 20 points in the second half, pushing the Wingers to a 4-0 start with a 62-47 home victory over the Packers. Buck finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals.
“We just pushed the ball and got the ball to the open person,” Buck said about the second half, “and we just made good shots.”
Ranked eighth in Wednesday’s Class 3A poll, Red Wing has already made a statement against section foes with a 3-0 record against Section 1AAA opponents this season.
“These games have big implications,” said Wingers head coach Dave Muelken. “We’re proud of the kids and proud of the effort. We didn’t quit, we kept fighting and we beat a good team by 15 tonight.”
Early on, Red Wing relied on a strong post presence from forward Macy Kelly, who muscled her way through the physical Austin frontcourt. Up 5-3 early in the first half, Kelly scored six consecutive points, sparking a 16-2 run.
“She’s a very calming influence for us,” Muelken said of Kelly. “She’s strong and can handle the ball. She’s a senior; she’s been here before and been in these kinds of games.”
All 13 of Kelly’s points came in the first half.
“We had a great game on Tuesday against Winona and we wanted to come out strong again just like that,” said Kelly, who also grabbed 10 boards for a double-double.
The Packers’ outside shooters picked up their play late in the first half as Austin scored eight of the last 11 points of the half to cut the deficit to 36-24 as both teams headed into the locker room.
Leading 46-35 with 11 minutes left in the game, the Wingers got a scare when Buck was clutching her right hand after jamming her finger while receiving a pass.
“The ball just came and I jammed my finger,” Buck said. “I don’t know, it happened really fast.”
She admitted afterwards that her hand was sore, but it clearly didn’t show on the court as she scored 14 of her second-half points after the injury.
“That’s just mental toughness. She could have quit, she could have pouted, but she fought back and that was good to see,” Muelken said of Buck. “I’m pretty proud of her.”
After Kelly’s strong first half, the Packers’ defense crashed the paint, allowing Buck and the rest of the backcourt to get better looks from the outside.
“It really opens up for players like Kenzie Muelken, Kara Norvet … they stepped up,” Kelly said. “It opens up for them when people are trying to put their entire defense on Tesha and I. They can’t take five of us down; it helps a lot of girls.”
Austin cut Red Wing’s lead to 11 after a turnaround hook shot by Steph Justice put the score at 46-35, but that was the closest the Packers got in the second half. Leading Austin was senior Jenna Svoboda, who had 17 points in the loss.
Aiming for their second straight 5-0 start, the Wingers are on the road today against Faribault in another section showdown.
“It’s a good confidence boost,” Kelly said of the 4-0 start. “We know we can do this and hopefully keep this up all year. It’d be nice to go 26-0, but we know once conference starts, it’ll really kick into gear.”