Seniors help lead Tigers past Packers

Published 12:21 am Saturday, February 26, 2011

Albert Lea's Alyssa Sager gets a shot off over an Austin defender on Friday.-- Jon Theuer

Alyssa Sager scored 28 points and pulled down 27 rebounds Friday as the Albert Lea Tigers girls’ basketball team defeated the Austin Packers 77-72 on senior night in Albert Lea.

Seniors Alyssa Sager, Skyler Anderson, Taylor Friehl and Emily Stoneking combined to score 60 of Albert Lea’s 77 points.

The Tigers at one point held a 16 point lead with 3 minutes and 31 seconds left in the ball-game.

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Although, the Packers would make things interesting in the final minutes.

Austin used a 14-2 run to cut the Albert Lea lead down to five points with 18 seconds left in the game.

Sager then pushed the Tigers lead back to seven points as she hit two free throws with 13 second left in the game.

Austin then hit a two point jumper with three seconds left to cut the lead to five, but it wasn’t enough as Albert Lea secured the victory.

Alyssa Sager ended the night with 28 points on 10 of 25 shooting and pulled down 27 rebounds.

“I went out there tonight and left it all on the court,” Tigers senior forward Alyssa Sager said. “It was senior night and I just wanted to play my hardest for the team and for the fans.”

Along with Sager, Seniors Skyler Anderson and Taylor Friehl both scored 12 points, while Emily Stoneking chipped in eight points.

Those four seniors combined for 60 points and 42 rebounds in the game.

Albert Lea also hit the boards hard as a team on Friday as the Tigers out rebounded the Packers 75-55.

“The rebounds make a big difference,” Albert Lea coach Sean Gillam said. “I think for the last two games, against Rochester Mayo and against the girls from Austin, we’ve hit the boards the way we need to hit the boards.”

With the huge advantage in rebounds, it also helped the Tigers get to the free throw line and with second chance scoring opportunities.

The Tigers ended up shooting 27 of 46 from the free throw line.

“The other thing with rebounding is when you get the rebound it allows you to push the ball,” Gillam said. “We got a lot of lay-ups in transition and if were getting those boards on the offensive end, it allows us another chance to shoot or get them in more foul trouble and thats what we did tonight.”

With the win, the Tigers conclude their regular season with a 5-19 overall record and a 5-13 record in the Big Nine.

The game marks the last time that seniors Alyssa Sager, Skyler Anderson, Taylor Friehl and Emily Stoneking will play at the Albert Lea High School Gym in a Tiger uniform.

“It’s really sad,” Sager said. “I’ve been playing on this court for four years. It was fun. It was good to end it on a good note with a win.”

Albert Lea 77, Austin 72

Austin 31 41 – 72

Albert Lea 31 46 – 77