All-U.P. Girls: A Dream Team for all classes

By Jon Young

MARQUETTE – All four classes were represented on the 2014 All-U.P. Girls Dream Team, with Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert being the only Class D player nominated, as well as the only unanimous decision at the 39th Annual U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association meeting in Marquette.

It’s the third straight Dream Team selection for Gussert, who will continue her basketball career at Michigan State in the fall.

The Forest Park star is joined by a returning trio of Dream Team players in Houghton’s Elisa Jurmu, Marquette’s Hunter Viitala and St. Ignace’s Kelley Wright, who were all members last season. Madi Swanson of L’Anse, was also named to the Dream Team after a Class ABC First Team selection a season ago.

Wright, a senior, paced St. Ignace’s run to the Class C state finals. The forward netted 16 points per game, collected eight rebounds and nabbed nearly seven steals per contest. Wright finished her career with 1,542 points and will continue playing next season at Division I Youngstown State University, which is coached by Escanaba native John Barnes. Wright was a part of two state championship teams at St. Ignace. The Saints fell short in the finals this season, losing 62-40 to Saginaw Nouvel. Wright was also named the Associated Press Class C Player of the Year.

Houghton’s Elisa Jurmu was the lone Class B player on the Dream Team. The senior guard paced the Gremlins to a 19-3 record. She averaged 20.8 points a game, while grabbing 4.9 rebounds, recording 2.7 steals and averaging two assists per contest. She also shot 49 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line. Jurmu finished her career with 1,045 points. Her efforts also earned her a spot on the Associated Press Class B All-State Team.

Marquette’s Hunter Viitala paced the Redettes to a 19-3 record, en-route to earning her second straight Dream Team selection. The junior guard poured in 21.2 points per game. She also averaged five rebounds, five steals and 2.4 assists per contest. Viitala was the Great Northern Conference Player of the Year, edging Escanaba’s Michelle LaFave by a 2-1 vote for the honor.

L’Anse senior Madi Swanson made her first Dream Team. The Lake Superior State University recruit led the Purple Hornets with 15.2 points per game. The speedy 5-foot-2 guard also averaged 6.4 assists, 3.5 steals and four rebounds per contest. She shot 42 percent from 3-point range this season and finished her career with 1,368 points.