Cardinal Pride Never Dies

Morgan Rock, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Donna Tuura-Polkoski with her “Got Megan?” sign on Iowa’s highlight video on Twitter.
Students, staff, & parents from South Shore there to support Megan Gustafson.

Legends are unexpected from a small school of nearly 40 students in the high school in Port Wing, WI. However, the athletes at this school have continued to amaze in the world of sports. One of the first female athletes to become a legend in Port Wing, WI was Jolene Anderson. There was no stopping Anderson at South Shore High School where she scored what was then a WIAA state record 2,881 points. During her four-year career, the Cardinals went 89-12. As a senior, she averaged 37 points (including 58 against Bayfield) and 15 rebounds. Yet there were questions about her Big Ten Conference readiness because of her small-town roots and Division 4 background. She went to the University of Wisconsin, a Division 1 program. Anderson led the Badgers in scoring all four seasons. She started 123 straight games and finished in double-figures 118 times — highlighted by a personal-best 42 against Iowa as a senior. It’s been a decade since Anderson left the Badgers as the all-time leading scorer in men’s and women’s program history with 2,312 points. Anderson, a shooting guard, has spent the past five seasons in Italy with Famila Schio, which currently leads the standings in the 10-team Italy-Serie A1 division. Famila Schio is based in Schio, a northern town that is 62 miles west of Venice. Needless to say, Jolene shocked the world with her success from this little school.

Shortly after Jolene’s success, a new female athlete rose up from South Shore, Megan Gustafson. Megan came into the spotlight in Wisconsin girls’ basketball with her 6’4 build, hard work and determination. Her accomplishments at South Shore were nothing short of amazing: Ranked No. 12 at her position and No. 80 in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz, four-time first team all-conference honoree, three-time first team all-state selection, and three-time team captain, four-year letter winner at South Shore High School, guided her team to conference, sectional and regional championships as a sophomore, secured conference and regional championships as a junior, led her team to conference, sectional and regional championships as a senior, compiled 3,229 points, 1724 rebounds, and 628 blocks in her career, all-time scoring leader in Wisconsin, and the only player in state history to eclipse 3,000 points, scored a single game, state-record 64 points as a senior, scored more than 50 points in back-to-back nights, scored 1,127 points in a season, another record for the state of Wisconsin and ESPN Top 100 recruit. Megan went on to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes, a Big Ten Conference & Division 1 program. Her accomplishments at Iowa is a list a mile long.

Some of her feats include 2015-16 as a Freshman… Named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team… appeared in every game of her Hawkeye career (33) with 14 starts… letterwinner… only freshman in the Big Ten and one of three players in the conference overall who led her team in field goal percentage (.554), blocked shots (58), and rebounds (225)… compiled the third-most blocks (58), fourth-most rebounds (225), and seventh-most points (352) of all freshmen in program history… tied an Iowa individual WNIT game record with nine field goals made against Michigan (Jamie Cavey twice, at SMS in 2005; vs. Marquette in 2003)… led Iowa in blocks 21 times, rebounds 17 times, and scoring six times… blocked three or more shots in 10 games this season… made the first start of her career at Purdue (Jan. 24)… played her best basketball at the end of the year, starting the final 14 games, nearly averaging a double-double in the stretch (9.6 rebounds, 13.6 points)… recorded her ninth career double-double in the last 13 games with 22 points and 12 rebounds against Ball State (March 17) and more. As a sophomore, the list is even longer including 2017 First Team All-Big Ten by coaches and media. Megan continued to shock the women’s basketball college world and make her small town proud.

Megan is now a senior at Iowa and has just surpassed Ally Disterhoft (2,102 points) as the program’s all-time scoring leader in the first quarter against Michigan State. Then in the third quarter, she became the all-time scoring leader at Iowa when she passed men’s leader Roy Marble (2,116 points). Gustafson finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds in the 84-70 loss to the Spartans. She had 2,124 career points and counting. On Monday, the Hawkeyes went to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Gophers. Since this is the closest game from Port Wing, Clendon Gustafson, principal at South Shore and father of Megan Gustafson, planned a field trip for those who wanted to go to the game to cheer on Megan in her final season of college basketball. Nearly the whole middle school and high school went to go support Megan.

That night, Megan Gustafson put on quite a show for her hometown with 34 points, 13 rebounds and four assists for her nation-leading 15th double-double of the season and No. 17 Iowa beat No. 18 Minnesota 81-63 on Monday night. It was Gustafson’s 70th career double-double. She was 16 of 22 from the field and also had three blocks. Some of the fans even made it on T.V. with their posters. All sorts of news broadcasters and even the team’s twitter account posted about the South Shore fans coming to watch Megan. One South Shore fan, Donna Tuura even made the highlight reel for the night. After the game, the students and parents stayed to visit Megan and even took one big group picture. Overall, it was a great experience to see Megan in that high-level competition and to support one of our own. Megan is also predicted as a Round One, number 8 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft to the Phoenix Mercury should she decide to join the league. We are all so proud of her and cannot wait to see what she does after college, good luck Megan and we are always cheering you on!