Here’s the big moment: Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert (22) watches her shot soar to the basket early in the fourth quarter against Kingsford Dec. 13, scoring her 2,000th high school point. Teammates nearby are Kendra Campbell (15) and Sam Nylund (25).
CRYSTAL FALLS—All the waiting and counting ended about a minute into the fourth quarter of Forest Park’s home game with Kingsford Dec. 13.
Lexi Gussert got the ball just left of the basket near the free throw lane and put up a one-handed shot. Up and in, like so many before.
But this shot scored the 1,999th and 2,000th points of Lexi’s high school career. One more milestone in the career of the Lady Trojans’ superstar, who will take her skills to Michigan State University next year. All the other school scoring records and milestones at Forest Park—Lexi surpassed them long ago.
A brief time-out and announcement followed, and Forest Park’s loud crowd—the noisy student section—waved their “2,000” signs, and then the game went on. Lexi exited the game a little later with 30 points for the night and 2,002 for her high school career.
And, lest we forget, the Lady Trojans (4-0, 3-0 Skyline) easily ran past Kingsford 71-41, following their 75-21 demolition of Carney-Nadeau on Dec. 10.
Against the Flivvers, FP dominated 38-15 in the first half, and the unanswered question is: If Kingsford can’t put up a challenge to the Lady Trojans, who can?
Sure Lexi is unstoppable. But all the Lady Trojans seem to have improved from last year and are playing with tons of confidence. Coach Jeff Syrjanen said there is so much talent on the team, “They can’t take a night off” because an improving teammate can steal away their minutes.
“Our team is getting better around Lexi,” Syrjanen said. “Last year, we had Lexi, and the kids weren’t quite there. This year, they have improved that much to make us that much better.”
FP’s only struggles came late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, when Gussert was at 1,998. Everyone knew the total, and her teammates were pressing to get her the ball for her milestone shot. “We were getting almost sloppy, trying to get it to her.”
That’s out of character for the Lady Trojans, who normally go with the flow. Lexi passes to open teammates, plays aggressive defense, dives for loose balls and does all the mundane things like dribbling the ball upcourt.
Once Lexi got point No. 2,000, everyone immediately relaxed, and Stankewicz scored the next seven points to expand the lead to 35.
Gussert had four triples among her 30 points. Stankewicz scored 11, with seven by Sierra Robarge, six by Jessica Bawyn and five by Abby Nylund.
Flivvers 8 7 12 14 -- 41
Trojans 23 15 15 18 -- 71
Against Carney, it was open season on the poor Wolves. FP took a 19-4 lead into the second quarter—and then things got really ugly. The Lady Trojans outscored Carney 33-9 in the second frame for a 52-13 halftime lead.
Gussert did her part, with 10 in the second quarter, but FP is not a one-girl team. Bawyn scored eight in the quarter and Robarge added seven.
FP connected on seven threes: three by Gussert, two by Stankewicz. Lexi finished with 21 points, Stankewicz had 12, Bawyn contributed 10 and Robarge netted seven.
Carney didn’t score in the fourth quarter, and never stepped to the free throw line all night. Just seven total fouls were called. When it’s 52-13 at halftime … well, you get the idea.
Wolves 4 9 8 0 -- 21
Trojans 19 33 11 12 -- 75
• The Lady Trojans host Mid Peninsula on Dec. 17 and will trek to Watersmeet on Dec. 20. Then they get a break until their visit to West Iron on Jan. 3.
Note: There will be no JV game at Watersmeet, so the varsity tip-off has been moved up to 6 p.m.