Former U.P. girls scoring champ expected record would go down

CRYSTAL FALLS – Allison (Bailey) Bottoms expected her U.P. girls basketball record to fall one day.

Sure enough, 18 years later, Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert eclipsed the standard once set by the Ewen-Trout Creek star.

Bottoms closed out her ETC career in 1996 with 2,131 points. Gussert passed that mark, along with the U.P. boys record (Dominic Jacobetti Jr., Negaunee, 2,140), in the Lady Trojans’ 71-41 victory over Bark River-Harris at Eddie Chambers Gymnasium Friday, Jan. 10.

Gussert entered the game with 2,119 points and tacked on 24.

“I surely knew somebody would break it at some point,” Bottoms, now living in Hibbing, Minn., told Jason Juno of The Daily Globe. “I did not know how long it would take. “Records are made to be broken. It just shows athletes in the U.P. continue to get better every year and I think it’s great.”

Bottoms went on to fine basketball career at Michigan Tech.

North Dickinson County School’s Lisa (Roell) Harry (1897 points) held the U.P. girls basketball record after the 1990 season. Bottoms erased that mark on Oct. 22, 1996, in Bessemer.

Bottoms, who received a note of congratulations from Harry after the accomplishment, never focused on breaking the U.P. scoring record. Same with Gussert.

“Lexi is such a team player,” Forest Park Coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “She would never bring it up (record), not in a million years.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s remarkable she’s doing it this early in her senior year.”

Forest Park is also represented on the U.P. career scoring list by the Hautala sisters – No. 9, Kim, 1,806, 1994 (final season), and No. 10, Julie, 1,762, 1997.

With 10 games left in the regular season, Gussert’s point total stands at 2,185. Headed to Michigan State University next year, she scored 42 points with a school-record 10 triples against North Dickinson Tuesday.

The Lady Trojans (10-0, 7-0) host North Central Friday and visit Iron Mountain Monday.