MANKATO — Lexi Schoper is taller, stronger and more experienced, and the 5-foot-10 sophomore guard is off to a great start for the Mankato West girls basketball team.
Schoper is averaging 25.1 points, but she’s been more explosive in the last three weeks.
Schoper scored 38 points in a game against Waconia on Jan. 4, just one point shy of the program record, set by Sarah Rippke during the 1996-97 season.
Schoper has scored 31 or more points in four games, including 36 vs. Sioux Falls Lincoln on Dec. 28, 31 vs. Albert Lea on Jan. 9 and 31 vs. Rochester Mayo on Jan. 10. The 36-point effort was the third-best single-game total at West.
“She’s a lot stronger than she was last year,” West coach Kristin Krusemark said. “She’s making better decisions. Last year, she didn’t really want to step on the toes of the seniors so she’s more of a leader this year.”
Schoper, who already has 719 points in her career, is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range, setting a school record with seven 3-pointers against Mankato East on Dec. 17. The previous record was six by Nicole Kenne in the 2002-03 season. Schoper is also shooting 79 percent on free throws and averaging 4.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 steals.
“She had a good summer of playing AAU ball,” Krusemark said. “She’s able to get to the basket better, and she’s finishing better. We do a lot for her in the motion offense, but we also need other players to score to be successful.”
In the game against Waconia, junior point guard Sarah Buryska made 10 assists, which is one off the program record. Cathy Van Guilder had 11 assists twice during the 1996-97 season.
West (5-7) plays at Austin on Thursday.
East’s Margenthaler out: Mankato East’s senior captain Brock Margenthaler is out for the rest of the season after breaking his arm during a game last week against Rochester John Marshall. He was taking a charge and fell backward, landing on his left (shooting) arm, which broke in two places.