In Play with Tom Markowski

Fletcher scores 17, Cousino upends G.P. South, 49-40, nears division title

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Fletcher scores 17, Cousino upends G.P. South, 49-40, nears division title

Warren – Kierra Fletcher of Warren Cousino has seen all types of defenses thrown her way and on Thursday Grosse Pointe South added another variation to that list.

 Fletcher, a 5-9 junior guard, was double-teamed nearly the entire game by a combination of four different players and South went to a box-and-one in an attempt to disrupt the best player in Macomb County, and one of the best in the state.

South did limit Fletcher to 17 points, eight below her average, but Cousino prevailed 49-40 in a Macomb Area Conference Red Division game at Cousino.

Cousino (14-3), in and out of the Class A top 10 this season, is in first place at 9-2 in the division and can clinch a share of the title with a victory at Macomb Dakota on Tuesday.

At times, to offset South’s double teams, Cousino coach Mike Lee instructed Fletcher to stand near the half-court line to one side of the court and draw two defenders, normally Natalia Engel and Sayanna Roy, away from the basket creating a 4-on-3 advantage. Other times Fletcher would attempt free herself and create off the dribble or cut through the lane.

“I didn’t get frustrated,” Fletcher said. “I was surprised they would double team me the whole game. I’ve seen a lot of junk defenses all season. I’d get triple-teamed at times, a box-and-one, triangle-and-two. All kinds. For me it’s not about the offensive end. If I’m not able to score my teammates are there to finish. I’ll be on the defensive end going one-on-one. That’s my favorite. Just pressing their guards. That’s what I take pride in.”

Though Fletcher didn’t shoot well from the field (4-of-14, 28.6 percent), she executed in other ways. Fletcher had nine rebounds, four steals, three assists, two blocks, she drew 12 fouls and had but one turnover. She was 9-of-14 from the free throw line including two with 1:04 remaining that gave the Patriots a 48-40 lead.

 Mackenzie Anderson, Cousino’s only senior, had 14 points and freshman Mackenzie Cook added 11.

For South (6-10, 5-5) Roy had 14 points.

Cousino had made considerable improvement under Lee, who’s in his seventh season. The Patriots were in the Blue Division, two below the Red, when Lee took over and they soon moved up to the White. Cousino won three consecutive White Division titles before being moved to the Red last season. The Patriots finished third (South was first) last season and now has a shot at the top spot in the county’s top division.

“It would mean a lot to us if we were to win,” Lee said. “I know the state tournament is the main goal but this league has so much balance.”