West Iron’s Sierra Rasmussen battled with Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert for a rebound during their game Jan. 4. In back are the Lady Trojans’ Samantha Nylund and WIC’s Kylee Erickson.
CRYSTAL FALLS—West Iron’s girls basketball team really shouldn’t feel bad about getting flattened by Lexi Gussert and Forest Park in the raucous Eddie Chambers Gym Jan. 4.
Lexi and her fellow Lady Trojans are doing that to everybody this year. They don’t play favorites.
Gussert scored 16 points in the first quarter alone—including four three-pointers—on her way to 37 points, powering Forest Park to a comfortable 61-39 win.
The Trojans are now 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Skyline Conference. Their only close game so far was against Bark River-Harris on Nov. 30, which they won by six, 63-57.
On Jan. 11, the teams meet again, this time at the Broncos’ corral.
The Lexi show: The battle with West Iron was over quickly. WIC’s Mallory Tomasoski scored the game’s first points, but Gussert came back with a three from the left. Baskets by Sierra Robarge and Maria Stankewicz put Forest Park in front 7-2 and prompted Wykons Coach Mike Dallavalle to call a time-out
After Robarge and WIC’s Emilie Christensen traded baskets, it was time for the Lexi show. Gussert hit a three from the left corner, then a two from the top. That made it 14-4, and prompted another Wykon time-out.
It didn’t stop the flood of points. Gussert hit back-to-back threes when they came back (her third and fourth) and the Trojans went on to lead 22-8 after one.
“We just got off to a good run,” Coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “We were running the floor real well.”
Act two: After 16 points in the first quarter, Gussert started the second frame with a two and two more threes (we’re up to six now), for a 29-9 gap. West Iron started getting back into it, though with a three from Megan Miatech, Sierra Rasmussen’s rebound hoop and several free throws cut the gap to 29-16 at halftime.
Late in the half, Gussert picked up her third foul. “That changed our whole strategy,” said Syrjanen. “We had to leave our aggressive man and pressing—we came out in the third quarter and sank in a zone. It kind of slowed us down.
“We don’t want to play that style of basketball, but I had to move Lexi to the wing. We knew they’d be attacking the center and try to draw a fourth foul on her—which I would certainly try to do.”
Second half: Gussert hit her seventh (and last) triple to start the second half, and FP also got two treys from Stankewicz and one from Robarge. Baskets by WIC’s Emilie Christensen, Kylee Erickson and Alexis Golfis and Miatech free throws helped cut the lead to 14 late in the third,
The Lady Trojans build the lead back to 23 and later 25 in the fourth quarter. Gussert left the floor with 51 seconds to play and 37 points in the scorebook—four short of her season and career high of 41.
Want one more amazing fact? From midway through the first quarter to early in the third, Gussert scored all 23 of Forest Park’s points.
Triple threat: Syrjanen noted Stankewicz’s pair of three-pointers in the third quarter. “They were huge at the time. I think they [the Wykons] may have cut it to 14.”
Behind Gussert’s 37, the Trojans got 11 from Robarge and eight from Stankewicz. West Iron’s top scorer was Miatech with 12.
In all, Forest Park made 11 three-pointers—seven by Gussert, two from Stankewicz and one each by Robarge and Ronnie Jaeger. FP was 7 from 13 outside. “Any coach would be happy with that. That makes it tough to guard us.”
In all, Syrjanen proclaimed it “a good win” for the Lady Trojans. “We knew West Iron would play us hard, and they did. But I think we’re coming on as a team.”
Coming on? How do you improve on a perfect record?
And if the Lady Trojans aren’t loaded for bear already, Adel Isaacson saw her first action after an injury, and Kendra Campbell may return this week.
Numbers: FP stats: 24-56 FGs (43%); 11-24 3’s (46%); 2-2 FTs; 23 rebs; 15 fouls. WIC stats: 14-70 FGs (20%), 3-14 3’s (21%), 8-15 FTs; 29 rebs; 6 fouls.
FP stats: Lexi Gussert, 37 pts, 15-27 FGs (55%), 7-12 3’s (58%), 9 rebs, 4 asts, 5 stls, 4 blocks; Sierra Robarge, 11 pts; Maria Stankewicz, 8 pts, 2x3; Gina Graff, 4 rebs. WIC stats: Megan Miatech, 12 pts; Emilie Christensen, 6 pts, 6 rebs, 3 blocks; Alexis Golfis, 6 pts, 2x3, 3 stls; Sierra Rasmussen, 5 pts, 4 rebs.
Wykons 8 8 13 10 -- 39
Trojans 22 7 19 13 -- 61
Coming up: After hosting Mid Peninsula on Jan. 7, the Lady Trojans visit Bark River-Harris on Jan. 11. They are back home Jan. 15 when North Dickinson visits.