Family affair: FP’s Gussert busts big bro’s 3-point mark
By BURT ANGELI
FELCH – A school record performance figured in Lexi Gussert’s 42 points and unbeaten Forest Park rolled past North Dickinson 85-27 in Skyline Conference girls basketball at Carl F. Lemin Gymnasium Tuesday.
Gussert drained 10 three-point field goals in the game to erase the mark (nine) once held by her brother Drew. The record-breaker came with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“I told her when it got down to the four-minute mark it was her last chance because you’re coming out either way,” Forest Park Coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “We had a sub going in and I said this is your last shot, and she hit it. It’s nice to get records but it’s also good to get our kids playing time.”
Gussert garnered 28 points, with 18 on six treys, in the first half. The state’s top-ranked Class D team held a 34-3 lead after the first quarter.
“I have to congratulate Forest Park,” North Dickinson Coach Mike Roell said. “They have a great team.
“They really took it to us. I don’t think the girls knew what they were in for. They beat us in every phase of the game.”
Syrjanen has wrestled with how much playing time to dispense for Gussert and the other 13 girls.
“I hesitate to do that sometimes,” Syrjanen said of the Michigan State recruit’s fourth-quarter playing time. “Sometimes you have to just let records be challenged.”
Gussert, who smashed the U.P. girls and boys career scoring standards last week, pumped her career total to 2,185 after the Nordics’ game.
“We feel like we have to play her even if we’re ahead,” Syrjanen said. “If we have to start taking her out at halftime it’s not going to prepare us for down the road.”
A running clock also hampered Forest Park’s substitution process.
“She’s such a good player and the kids that come in later in the game deserve to play with her also, and that’s what we try to do,” said Syrjanen, noting the senior has been rested more this year than any time in her high school career. “Tonight was different. She did some shooting but normally she’s passing at the end of the game. She’s looking to feed the other girls.”
Gussert also contributed seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block. Sierra Robarge added nine points while Maria Stankewicz and Jessica Bawyn each had eight.
“We’ve got to get ourselves ready (for the state tournament),” said Syrjanen, his team up by two games in the Skyline standings with five to play. “We can’t sit back and worry if we’re winning by 30. We have to think about the big picture.
“Coaches like Mike Roell are totally understanding. They’re class acts and know what we’re trying to do.”
Lexi Steele’s six points paced the Nordics. Hannah Miller and Chelsey Stroud each had five.
“We have to get better and you get better by playing good teams,” Roell said. “They’re as good as advertised, no doubt about it.”
North Dickinson lost to Stephenson, ranked No. 2 in the U.P. behind Forest Park, in the second game of the season. Can the Eagles fly with the Lady Trojans?
“Not from what I’ve seen tonight,” Roell said.
On Friday, Forest Park (10-0, 7-0) hosts North Central and North Dickinson (2-7, 2-3) visits Norway.
Forest Park’s junior varsity, behind Libby Shamion’s 13 points and Hanna Logan’s 12, spilled North Dickinson 68-33. Kimberly Pekarek had 12 for the Nordics.
Forest Park 34 16 9 26 – 85
North Dickinson 3 8 0 16 – 27
FOREST PARK: Gussert 42, Robarge 9, Stankewicz 8, Bawyn 8, Nylund 5, Campbell 4, Isaacson 3, Grandahl 2, Roose 2, Bradley 2. FT: 7-9. F: 2.
NORTH DICKINSON: Steele 6, Stroud 5, Starnes 4, Rotter 3, Charlevoix 2, Miller 5, Roell 2. FT: 3-3. F: 6.
3-point FG: FP 12 (Gussert 10, Nylund, Robarge), ND 5 (Rotter, Steele 2, Miller, Stroud). FG shooting: FP 33-76, ND 10-46. Rebounding: ND 25 (Steinbrecher 6), FP 37 (Gussert 7, Bawyn 6).