Lexi Gussert is the Associated Press Class D Player of the Year again.
The 6-foot senior from Crystal Falls Forest Park and future Michigan State Spartan won the award for a second straight season.
“Obviously, it’s a well-deserved award for her,” Forest Park head coach Jeff Syrjanen said. “She has been just a tremendous all-around player in her class or any class.”
Gussert averaged about 30 points per game this season, surpassed the 2,000-point plateau in her fourth game and became the all-time leading scorer — boy or girl — in the history of the Upper Peninsula.
She is one of five unanimous selections on this year’s AP Class D All-State team, joining Posen senior Korynn Hincka, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart senior Sara Hansen, Fruitport Calvary Christian junior Taylor Richards and Twining Arenac Eastern coach Butch Beckham.
Lansing Christian senior Mikayla Terry, Novi Franklin Road Christian senior Kristen Massey, Eben Junction Superior Central senior Vanessa Freberg, Stephenson senior Tiffany Wangerin, Gaylord St. Mary senior Kari Borowiak and Marine City Cardinal Mooney Catholic senior Katie Theut also received enough votes from a 10-perseon panel to earn first-team AP All-State honors in Class D.
Gussert guided Crystal Falls Forest Park to its first undefeated regular season (20-0). She scored a regular-season high of 42 points in a January game against Iron Mountain North Dickinson. In that game, Gussert made 10 3-pointers to erase the school record of nine held by her brother, Drew.
In the regional final, she scored even more.
Gussert had 43 points and made the 99th 3-pointer of her career as she led the top-ranked Lady Trojans into the quarterfinals with a 69-52 win over Eben Junction Superior Central. The state record for 3-pointers made is 100, a mark set by Jenna Felice of Waterford Our Lady.
Always putting her team first, Gussert took her latest feat in stride.
“I just want to give credit to my team,” she said.
Syrjanen said Gussert deserves to be recognized because of her skills as a player and how she carries herself as a person.
“Her personality, leadership, how she conducts herself on and off the court is exemplary,” he said.
With more than 2,500 career points, Gussert will finish her prep career among the top five career scorers in state history.
“I don’t know anybody really that can shut us down from scoring with Lexi out there,” Syrjanen said. “Lexi steps up in big games. Most of her highest point totals this season have been against the better teams we’ve played.”
Gussert, who also plays volleyball and golf, had seven triple-doubles this season and averaged 12 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 3.9 steals per game.
“I think this year more than ever, she has elevated the game of all her teammates,” Syrjanen said. “That’s been a huge thing for us this season. She is stronger, faster and very confident. She has really worked on her strength.”