In Play with Tom Markowski

Girls Basketball Preseason Top 25 Player Rankings: Cousino's Kierra Fletcher tops the list, Destiny Pitts is No. 2

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Girls Basketball Preseason Top 25 Player Rankings: Cousino's Kierra Fletcher tops the list, Destiny Pitts is No. 2

Warren – Basketball is so much more than a game to Kierra Fletcher. It’s opened doors for her as person, helped her develop as strong, confident personality, and has offered her opportunities for her future she would never would have had had she not played.

Fletcher, 16, is a senior at Warren Cousino and has been named the state’s top player in the preseason by State Champs.

She’s a 5-9 guard-forward who led the Patriots to the Class A title last season. It’s the school’s first basketball state title.

“Sports teaches you discipline in the way you live your life,” Fletcher said. “Sports has a way of bringing people together. I’ve met a ton of people.

“And it’s more than just being on a team. You develop friendships that last. I have 10 or 11 sisters on the team. It’s a family. It’s like your second and third family. And winning helps to build that bond more. You have to experience those tough losses, fix those mistakes and take yourself to a different level.”

Statistically, Fletcher had a phenomenal junior season. She averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds, 9.4 assists and 5.5 steals. As a sophomore she averaged 25 points. More confident with her teammates, Fletcher didn’t have to score as much for her team to be successful.

But when placed on a big stage Fletcher welcomed the spotlight.

When Cousino defeated Detroit King, 67-65, in the Class A final Fletcher had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The day before, when Cousino defeated Hudsonville, 60-45 in a semifinal she had 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Fletcher doesn’t get caught up in all the numbers. She has fun playing and when the fun stops that’s when she’ll stop.

“I just work hard,” she said. “I don’t put a label on it. I just love working hard and getting dirty. Challenging myself. I definitely like getting on the (court) going after the ball. Some girls want to get hurt. If you think about getting hurt you’ll get hurt doing something else.”

Fletcher, who won’t turn 17 until December, signed with Georgia Tech and has designs on majoring in public policy. Eventually she would like to work for the FBI or the CIA.

“Academics are important to me,” she said. “My life after basketball is important, and (those at Georgia Tech) can help in that. I also have aspirations in playing professionally, overseas or in the WNBA. It was a hard decision to go so far away from home but I think it’s best for me.”

Fletcher has a 3.7 grade-point average and seriously considered accepting a scholarship to Michigan. A visit to Atlanta sold her on signing with Georgia Tech.

“As soon as I got there I fell in love with the campus,” she said.

 

2. Destiny Pitts, Detroit Country Day, 5-10, sr.: A four-year varsity player, Pitts plays a variety of positions. If teams close put on her on the perimeter she’ll take her game inside. Double team her in the middle and Pitts will shoot the 3-pointer. She averaged 18 points and is an aggressive rebounder. She signed with Minnesota. 

3. Deja Church, Southfield for the Arts and Technology, 5-9, sr.: Certainly a Miss Basketball candidate, Church averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. Church has improved her game in many ways because she “insists on getting better” her coach Michele Marshall said. Church signed with Michigan.

4. Alisia Smith, Lansing Waverly, 6-3, sr.: A strong post player with a high skill level, Smith signed with Penn State. She averaged 20 points last season and led Waverly to a Class A district final and a 14-8 record. Michigan, Iowa and Oklahoma State were among the other schools who offered Smith a scholarship.

5. Claire Hendrickson, Wyoming, 5-11, sr.: Hendrickson suffered a knee injury in January which cut short her junior season. As a sophomore she averaged 14 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds. She signed with Michigan State.

6. Ellie Taylor, Midland Dow, 5-10, sr.: Taylor is one of the state’s top 3-point shooters. She averaged 44 percent from 3-poi