It was not the model start the Cougars were looking for, but the Mankato East girls basketball team was resilient in Thursday’s overtime win over Austin.
The Cougars scored 31 points in the second half and outscored the Packers 9-7 in the overtime to come out with the 55-53 Big Nine Confernce win at the East gym.
It looked bleak for the most part but East was able to come back on Austin late in the game, as Claire Ziegler’s make-and-one gave the Cougars their final lead of the game in overtime to end the up-and-down evening in East’s favor.
“We were flat in the first half and a little bit in the second half, which was disappointing,” East head coach Mike Barger said, “But we came out and came out on fire.”
The Cougars were held to just 15 points in the first half, as the stifling Packer defense and an contributed to just four East players scoring at that time. East was held scoreless through the first seven minutes of the game, finally obtaining its first bucket with just under 11 minutes to play in the opening half.
Though they trailed heading into the locker room, East kept moving forward as the Austin lead that was built since the tipoff slowly dwindled down.
East gained their first lead of the night with just 3:30 to play in the second half, when senior forward Shelby Beckman’s layup fell to put the Cougars up 38-37.
The first half eventually ended in a 46-46 tie. In the overtime session, it was Beckman again as her make on the second attempt of a 1-and-1 fell to put the game at 52-52 in the final minute.
East senior Claire Ziegler then fouled Austin’s Shayley Vesel with 18.7 seconds left, where Vesel sank the second of two to give Austin the 53-52 lead.