Former record holder not surprised by Gussert’s 50-point night
By BURT ANGELI
CRYSTAL FALLS – Kim (Hautala) St. Juliana expected her Forest Park High School scoring record to fall after hearing about the exploits of Lexi Gussert.
Gussert erased the school’s scoring record, for boys and girls, with a 50-point salvo against Skyline Conference foe Rapid River on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Kim’s dad, former Forest Park coach Jerry Hautala, alerted her to the Lady Trojans junior standout.
“My dad informed me what a talented player she is, so I wasn’t surprised she set the scoring record,” St. Juliana said. “I wish Lexi nothing but the best in her career and I’m sure she’ll be breaking many more records at Forest Park and in the U.P.”
Kim Hautala set the school record with a 46-point effort against Watersmeet on Oct. 26, 1993.
“I remember being double teamed, but I made most of my inside shots and free throws,” she said of the memorable game.
Coach Jerry Hautala said after the game that “everybody was working to get Kim the ball.”
She agreed with that assessment.
“The thing that stands out is the response my teammates had when they knew I had a chance of breaking the school record,” St. Juliana said. “They said I was going to break the record because they were going to get me the ball. They were behind me all the way.”
Against the Nimrods, Forest Park freshman Christina Bruce added 18 points; freshman Nicki Paulsen, nine points and nine rebounds, and Chrystie Maki, seven assists and five steals. Kristi Fabbri was also part of the scoring summary that night.
Kim Hautala played college basketball at Western Illinois and Wisconsin-Stout. Gussert is now going through the college recruiting process.
“Lexi will have many doors open to her, and I remember that more than anything,” St. Juliana said. “To have all of your hard work pay off and sign a scholarship is the most rewarding moment of your career.”
Rapid River threw a box-and-one and other defenses in the hopes of checking Gussert.
“We did everything we could, but you just can’t stop Gussert,” Rockets coach Michelle Carne said. “Any college coach is going to be lucky to have her. She’s just an all-around athlete and a very respectful girl, too.”
Kim (Hautala) St. Juliana remains involved with basketball, coaching fifth-grade girls at Freedom (Wis.), half-way between Green Bay and Appleton.
“I enjoy the time with the fifth graders and I feel it is such an important time to help develop those basic fundamentals,” said the former Forest Park record-holder, a Freedom elementary teacher for eight years. “It’s only a two-month season with about nine games so it fits nicely into my schedule with work and a family.”
Kim and her husband, Leno, are the parents of two boys, Leno, 4, Devin, 2.