BY HANSON CRAFTON
NEW WASHINGTON —
In a battle of two top-10 teams, the Class 2A No. 9 Austin Eagles came away with a 48-44 victory over the Class A No. 4 New Washington Mustangs on Tuesday at Matthews Gymnasium.
New Washington found its groove early and used Eagle turnovers and mistakes to jump out to a 15-4 first-quarter lead.
“We are kind of still coming together. We have new kids with new roles.” Austin coach Jared Petersen said. “We are young and inexperienced. So far, every game we have started slow.”
In the second quarter, Austin settled down and started to find its offensive rhythm. Junior Holli Reynolds began to control the paint and the Eagles caught fire from behind the arc. With back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman Kami Owens and one at the buzzer by Kaitlyn Embrey, Austin closed the quarter on a 21-9 run taking a 25-24 lead into the half.
“We got off to a good start,” New Wash coach Terry White said. “We hoped to use the momentum. They fought back, we lost focus.”
The third quarter was highly contested with back-and-forth action. Behind senior Caroline Ricks, New Washington got going offensively and began to trade leads with Austin and was able to maintain the lead for most of the quarter.
With two minutes left in the third, Austin freshman Akaya Walker went on a five-point scoring run by herself that saw the Eagles close the third with a 38-36 lead.
The close action continued in the fourth as both teams tightened up on defense, making it hard for either team to get any decent looks at the basket.
Austin was the team that was able to make the last run of the game to pull away from New Washington.
“[The loss] showed our weaknesses. Our biggest opponent is ourselves,” White said. “They played harder and smarter. We didn’t focus and lost it defensively.”
Reynolds ended up with 17 points and five rebounds, while Walker had nine points, three assists and two rebounds. Kami Owens also had nine points along with two assists and two rebounds for the Eagles.
Caroline Ricks scored a double-double for the Mustangs with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ashley Johnson added 11 points in the loss.
New Washington will be back in action on Friday at Henryville for its Southern Athletic Conference opener.
AUSTIN 48, NEW WASHINGTON 44
Austin 4 21 13 10—48
New Washington 15 9 12 8—44
Austin (2-1): Holli Reynolds 17, Akaya Walker 9, Kami Owens 9, Kaitlin Embrey 8, Megan Smith 3, Brenna Riley 2.
New Washington (1-1): Caroline Ricks 12, Ashely Johnson 11, Courtney Amick 8, Lexie James 7, Brooke Abbott 4, Kaitlyn Schindler 2.
3-point field goals: Austin 4 (Owens 2, Embery 2); New Washington 1 (Johnson).
Rebounds: Austin 15 (Reynolds 5, Walker 2, Smith 2, Taylor Jeffries 2, Owens 2, Embrey 2); New Washington 21 (Ricks 12, Amick 3, James 2, Schindler 2, Johnson 1, Abbott 1).
Assists: Austin 13 (Walker 3, Reynolds 2, Smith 2, Jeffries 2, Owens 2, Embrey 2); New Washington 9 (James 5, Ricks 2, Johnson 2).