CRYSTAL FALLS—Halfway through the 20-game regular season, Forest Park’s girls team boasts a perfect record. Can anyone stop them?
It wasn’t Bark River-Harris. Not on Jan. 11. With Lexi Gussert scoring 33 points and the Trojans nailing 12 three-pointers, the Broncos simply couldn’t keep up, even on their home floor, and lost 85-59.
“We played well,” a pleased Coach Jeff Syrjanen said after his team’s lopsided win over a perennial Skyline Conference power.
Including their 77-41 win over Mid Peninsula Jan. 7, the Lady Trojans are now 10-0 overall, 6-0 in the Skyline.
At BRH: Bark River led midway through the first quarter, before Kendra Campbell hit two baskets and Gussert hit a two and a pair of threes. FP’s 12-5 run put the Lady Trojans up 17-12 after one. They were just getting started.
The second quarter featured seven three-pointers, six by the Lady Trojans. Lexi hit back-to-back threes early, Maria Stankewicz added two more later on, and Sierra Robarge and Kelsi Hendrickson also connected.
Midway through the quarter, Bark River rallied within two (26-24) on baskets by Sarah Madalinski, Kylie Van Brocklin and Caitlyn Frazier.
No problem. Robarge and Stankewicz both hit threes, Gussert hit a lay-up and Adel Isaacson and Jessica Bawyn also scored. FP’s 11-0 run put them ahead 37-24, and they led 40-27 at halftime.
Press crew: Syrjanen took off his press and went man-to-man as the third quarter started—but when Bark River rallied to within seven (47-40), he called time and put the press back on.
“That seems to be our bread and butter right now,” he explained later. “When we go to that, we seem to be able to take people out of our game. We play more up-tempo, too—it gets us going at a faster pace.”
From there, six different Trojans scored during a 15-6 rally, and FP led 62-46 after three.
Another big night from outside the arc— Gussert hit five three-pointers, Stankewicz made four, and Robarge had two. FP shot 12 for 21 (57%) on threes. “When you do that, it’s pretty difficult to stop you.”
Campbell scored 10 points in her first game back from an ankle injury. One more weapon for a team that is already loaded for bear.
Numbers: FP team: 34-73 (73%) FG, 12-21 (57%) 3’s; 5-11 FT, 15 fouls. BRH team: 23-74 (31%) FG, 4-12 (33%) 3’s; 9-19 FT; 13 fouls.
FP stats: Lexi Gussert, 33 points, 5x3, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, 5 blocks; Maria Stankewicz, 12 pts, 4x3; Sierra Robarge, 12 pts, 2x3, 3 rebs, 3 asts; Kendra Campbell, 10 pts; Kelsi Hendrickson, 5 pts, 5 asts, 3 stls; Samantha Nylund, 3 pts, 4 rebs; Jessica Bawyn, 4 rebs. BRH stats: Kylie Van Brocklin, 16 pts, 2x3; Sarah Madalinski, 15 pts; Caitlyn Frazier, 14 pts; Jordan Hardy, 10 pts.
Trojans 17 23 22 23 -- 85
Broncos 12 15 19 13 -- 59
Vs. Mid Pen: The Lady Trojans jumped on Mid Pen 24-7 in the first quarter, let them get up in the second, then jumped on them again in the third, 29-8.
“Our press was working,” said Syrjanen. “We were running very well. One of our better quarters of the year.”
With its bigger lineup, Mid Pen gave the Lady Trojans a few problems in December. “We figured if we came out and pressured them and got them into an up-tempo game, it would be better,” the coach explained. “We didn’t want to get caught in a half-court game.”
Trappers: FP lost its momentum in the second quarter and the Wolverines got within four late in the half, but FP rallied for a 35-25 halftime lead and then dominated the third quarter after switching to a half-court trap. “That really seemed to bother them.”
The Trojans scored 29 points, their season high, in the third, with Gussert getting 18 of them, including four triples. She finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Stankewicz and Robarge both scored 10, and Gina Graff, in her first start, added eight.
The Trojans nailed 11 three-pointers: Gussert had four, and Stankewicz, Kelsi Hendrickson and Robarge each had two.
Numbers: FP stats: 29-83 (35%) FG; 9-10 FT; 14 fouls; 35 rebs. Mid Pen stats: 15-51 (29%) FG; 9-13 FT; 9 fouls; 19 rebs.
FP players: Gussert, 29 pts, 4x3, 17 rebs, 7 asts, 7 stls; Stankewicz, 10 pts; Robarge, 10 pts; Graff, 8 pts; Hendrickson, 6 pts; Isaacson, 5 pts. Mid Pen players: Kelsey Shope, 11 pts; Branstrom, 9 pts; Lancour, 7 pts.
Wolverines 7 18 8 8 -- 41
Trojans 24 11 29 13 -- 77
Coming up: The Lady Trojans host North Dickinson on Jan. 15 and visit North Central on Jan. 18. The Jets are second place in the Skyline standings with just one loss.
On Jan. 21: a nonconference match-up at home against Iron Mountain.