CRYSTAL FALLS—Lexi Gussert picked the perfect night to go for a school record.
When the Forest Park junior struck for 50 points on Jan. 24, it broke the Forest Park single game scoring record of 46 set by Kim Hautala during the early 1990s. It also tops the boys record.
Gussert’s previous best was 41 at home against Bark River on Nov. 30. She has really been been putting on a show for the scouts and coaches from NCAA Division I schools who have been attending nearly every Lady Trojan game lately.
This one also came against the perfect opponent. More than halfway through the season, Rapid River is winless and usually gives up plenty of points—80, 75 and 74 to opponents earlier in the season. When Forest Park visited, Gussert got her 50 as the Lady Trojans won 91-30.
That was Forest Park’s only game last week—their Jan. 21 game with Iron Mountain was postponed by the subzero spell. Their record now stands at 13-0, 8-0 in the Skyline Conference.
3-point barrage: Gussert also had the perfect teammates. Early in the game, Rapid River used a box-and-one defense on her. That left Lady Trojans free on the outside, and they capitalized. Samantha Nylund hit a three. Kelsi Hendrickson also nailed one and then another. Lexi also hit two triples. The Lady Trojans led 26-6 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, with the Rockets still in their box, Stankewicz hit two threes and Adel Isaacson made another. “Then they had to start backing off Lexi a little bit and start paying attention to more people,” Coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “And then Lexi hit two more threes in that period.”
Gussert scored 19 points in the second quarter alone. “Before long, the run was on.” Forest Park scored 34 points in that quarter and led 60-14 at halftime. The entire second half was played under running time.
Closing in: All the Forest Park reserves saw plenty of time on the floor. Nobody played fewer than eight minutes nor more than 16—except Gussert. “The reason we had her out there,” her coach said, “is because Illinois was there—their coaches came up.”
Lexi had 27 points by halftime and 38 after three quarters; within eight of the school record. Trojan fans at the game let coaches know Lexi was closing in on the record.
“We decided to try to let her get it,” Syrjanen said. “Her teammates were just fantastic—the girls in the lineup with her were rebounding and trying to help her as much as they could.”
Gussert tied the record and then broke it with 3½ minutes to go. “It was just a really good team effort,” Syrjanen said. “From everybody—all players seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.”
For their part, the coach added, Rapid River “tried everything they could” to stop her. “At the end, when they knew she was trying to get it, they were covering her with three people. And she was still able to find the openings.
“It was a record that she was inevitably going to get somewhere along the line. We thought last night was a good night to get it done.”
Numbers: FP team: 32-68 FG (47%), 11-24 3’s (46%), 16-19 FT (84%), 7 fouls, 34 rebounds. RR team: 13-45 FG (29%), 1x3, 3-5 FT, 13 fouls, 16 rebs.
FP stats: Lexi Gussert, 50 pts, 4x3, 8 rebs, 3 asts, 7 steals; Maria Stankewicz, 10 pts, 2x3; Samantha Nylund, 8 pts, 5 rebs; Kelsi Hendrickson, 6 pts, 2x3; Kendra Campbell, 5 pts, Adel Isaacson, 5 pts; Bradley, Grandahl, Jaeger, 3 rebs each; Sierra Robarge, 3 stls. RR scoring: H. Kanyuh, 7 pts.
Trojans 26 34 16 15 -- 91
Rockets 6 8 7 9 -- 30
Coming up: This week, the Lady Trojans host Carney-Nadeau on Jan. 28 and Kingsford on Jan. 31. They travel to Baraga on Feb. 4.
That Kingsford game was originally Forest Park’s final home game of the regular season—but the Lady Trojans now have make-up dates with Iron Mountain on Feb. 11 and Rapid River on Feb. 19. FP also hosts the District 127 tournament late in February.