Trojans show off depth
By BURT ANGELI
IRON MOUNTAIN – Forest Park is definitely more than a one-girl team.
The unbeaten Lady Trojans, with the flu bug sidelining all-stater Lexi Gussert, romped past Iron Mountain 74-39 in non-conference girls basketball Monday.
“We’ve got other players that can play,” Forest Park Coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “I was real proud of them. We asked them to come out and play without their leader, and it’s not the easiest thing to do.
“They’ve never played without Lexi and never missed a beat. We didn’t change one thing that we do.”
Senior forward Kendra Campbell paced Forest Park with 21 points and eight rebounds. Sierra Robarge tacked on 11 points while Jessica Bawyn had 10. Maria Stankewicz tallied 10 points, five steals and four assists.
“Most people saw a complete team victory out there tonight,” Syrjanen said. “You saw what Kendra Campbell and the others can do.
“Teams that leave our shooters open are going to pay.”
A fever that topped 100 degrees had the future Michigan State player at home. Spartans head coach Suzy Merchant had been expected to attend the game, which drew a good crowd in the Mountaineer gym.
“It says a lot about that team to not have your star player out there,” Iron Mountain Coach Ginger Moore said. “It’s definitely a credit to them because that’s just going to make them stronger.
“I expected them to rally together. They’re fighters.”
Forest Park, pressing and moving the ball like Gussert was out there, dominated the final four minutes of the second quarter with a 12-2 surge. Iron Mountain’s problems with pressure defense surfaced in that stretch.
“It seems we can never stop the bleeding,” said Moore, her Mountaineers going from a 19-13 second-quarter deficit to 31-15 at halftime. “You’re competing, improving and all of a sudden the wheels fall off, and then we don’t know how to get it back on.”
Alena Herman’s 12 points and eight rebounds topped the Mountaineers. Alyssa Khor, Brianna Geyser and Marti Pirkola tacked on eight points apiece.
Moore cited Pirkola for her post moves and Herman for assertive rebounding.
“I’m happy with the effort,” Moore said. “We came out much more aggressive and intense than we did against Norway. That right there is a victory in itself.
“We have accomplished a lot. But it’s just not enough.”
As for Forest Park, four straight triples and a Stankewicz steal boosted the spread from 15 to 27 in the third quarter.
“Lexi has been a fabulous influence on all of these kids,” Syrjanen said. “She’s got them thinking like her.
“But we want Lexi back tomorrow. I don’t want to go through this too often.”
Forest Park (12-0) hosts Rapid River Thursday and Iron Mountain (1-10) entertains Escanaba Friday.
Iron Mountain’s junior varsity, behind Katie Brule’s 17 points, downed Forest Park 48-30. Kate Bugni chipped in 12 points and Olivia Truscott had 10. Becky Kolenda led the Trojans with nine.
Forest Park 14 17 27 16 – 74
Iron Mountain 8 7 13 11 – 39
FOREST PARK: Stankewicz 10, A. Nylund 4, Bawyn 10, Campbell 21, Robarge 11, Grandahl 5, S. Nylund 3, Toivonen 5, Bradley 5. FT: 4-6. F: 8.
IRON MOUNTAIN: Khor 8, Geyser 8, Herman 12, McCole 3, Pirkola 8. FT: 3-6. F: 7.
FGs: FP 31-59, IM 10-59. 3-pt FG: Stankewicz 2, Campbell, Robarge 3, S. Nylund, Bradley, Herman 2, Khor 2, McCole, Geyser. Reb: IM 22 (Herman 8), FP 25 (Campbell 8).