Best of the U.P.


Sports Writer

MARQUETTE – Good news for U.P. high school girls basketball.

The stars from the past season will return in 2013-14.

U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association met this week and the “Dream Team,” led by unanimous choice Lexi Gussert of Forest Park, shows a lineup with four juniors and a sophomore.

Gussert, a repeat selection as U.P. Class D Player of the Year, averaged 32.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. The 6-foot junior, drawing the interest of major college programs, is on course to become the U.P.’s all-time leading scorer with 1,891 career points.

Gussert was joined on the “Dream Team” by Houghton’s Elisa Jurmu, Superior Central’s Vanessa Freberg, St. Ignace’s Kelley Wright and Marquette sophomore Hunter Viitala.

Jurmu, Class ABC Player of the Year, averaged 19.7 points per game. Wright (20.1 ppg), also considered for Class D Player of the Year, led the Saints to the state title. Viitala (16 ppg) was runner-up to Jurmu for Class ABC Player of the Year. Freberg (17.5 ppg) powered Superior Central to an unbeaten regular season.

U.P. media awarded 10 more area players with All-U.P. status.

Kingsford’s Carlee Benzie (14 ppg) and Norway’s Bailey Grayvold (16 ppg), both nominated for the “Dream Team,” landed on the Class ABC first-team.

West Iron County’s Kylee Erickson (14.2 ppg) and Kingsford’s Andrea Roell (10 ppg) earned Class ABC second-team slots.

In Class D, North Dickinson sophomore Miranda Jacobson (13.6 ppg, 10.75 reb) and North Central junior Morgan Wells (13 ppg) made the second team.

Iron Mountain seniors Katelynn Johnson and Abby Gerhard along with North Dickinson freshman Elizabeth Charlevoix received All-U.P. special mention. Kingsford sophomore Courtney Qualley and Forest Park junior Kendra Campbell claimed honorable mention.

In other special awards, Marquette’s Ben Smith was named Class ABC Coach of the Year. Smith utilized five seniors and five sophomores to capture the Great Northern Conference title with an 8-0 ledger. Kingsford’s Mike Cross and Houghton’s Julie Filpus were also up for the award.

In Class D, St. Ignace’s Dorene Ingalls won U.P. Coach of the Year for the fourth time. The 14-year coach has piloted the Saints to four state titles. Forest Park’s Jeff Syrjanen, Pickford’s Paul Griffin and Superior Central’s Greg Trowbridge also garnered votes.

Marquette, Class AB; Houghton, Class C, and St. Ignace, Class D, gained Team of the Year by acclamation.