THE WINNER: Lexi Gussert
School: Forest Park (Crystal Falls, Mich.)
Athletic achievement: She led the Trojans to a 25-0 record and a berth in the Class D semifinals, scheduled for March 13. Entering the postseason round of eight, Gussert was averaging 29.3 points per game before dropping 43 in the quarterfinals. She was also averaging 11.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 3.7 steals through 24 games. The two-time Associated Press Class D Player of the Year, she enters the final four with 99 career 3-pointers, one off the state record of 100. A three-time First Team All-State selection and a Michigan Miss Basketball finalist, she has broken the Upper Peninsula’s career scoring record with 2,629 points and counting.
Academic excellence: Gussert has maintained a 3.97 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society and the Business Professionals of America student organization, she has served as the president of her graduating class in addition to volunteering as a youth basketball and volleyball coach.
“I’ve seen a lot of great players over the years and by far Lexi Gussert is a better player than all of them,” said Mike Cross, head coach at Kingsford. “When we played her, she had a quiet 40 points if it’s even possible to have a quiet 40 points. She’s very subtle about her game. But what really makes her stand out is the way she passes. You could contain the other kids, but you just can’t account for her passing. She is just a phenomenal kid and a great player.”
THE FUTURE: Gussert has signed with Michigan State.