In Play with Tom Markowski


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Cousino defeats Marian, 49-39, wins first region title

By: Tom Markowski, March 10, 2016, 9:34 pm



Roseville – Warren Cousino’s bid to win the school’s first girls regional title got off to an inauspicious start when the Patriots’ best player slammed into a wall behind Cousino’s basket 3:25 into its game against two-time defending champion Birmingham Marian.

Kierra Fletcher, a 5-9 junior, swatted a loose ball out of bounds and her momentum carried her into the padded well. Despite the padding Fletcher was in obvious pain and remained prone for nearly two minutes.

“It took me back to when I was a freshman and I hit my head,” Fletcher said. “I hit my lower back. I knew I had to get back in there for my teammates. There was no way I was going to stay out. I didn’t feel it during the game but since my adrenaline is gone, I’m starting to feel it now. My mom said it would hurt a lot when I woke up (Friday).”

Fletcher missed just 20 seconds of action and not much else as Cousino defeated Marian in an emotional and physical game, 49-39, at Roseville High on Thursday.

Cousino (20-4) will play Northville (21-3) in a Class A quarterfinal on Tuesday at Southfield High at 5 p.m.

“It was definitely a physical game,” Fletcher said. “Probably the most physical we’ve played all season. What set the tone is when I hit my back.”

Cousino led 16-8 before Marian ended the half on a 12-4 run to tie it at 20-20. Elizabeth Grobbel’s 3-point play with 7.5 seconds left ended the run.

And, for the most part, it also ended Grobbel’s effectiveness. The 6-1 senior center was held in check by a smaller but quicker team.

The play got heated in the second half and tempers flared.

Hannah Redoute committed a turnover, one of eight for Marian in the third quarter, and out of frustration Redoute slammed the ball. She received a technical and Fletcher made both free throws to increase Cousino’s lead to 31-24 with 2:47 left. A half minute later freshman Kate McArthur made a 3-pointer for a 34-24 lead.

Sparks flew with 1:35 left when Marian freshman Olivia Moore drove to the basket and was fouled by Aubrey Fetzer. Fetzer was assessed an intentional foul and in response Moore shoved Fetzer seconds after the foul. Each team made two throws and Cousino held a 36-28 lead after three quarters.

Cousino scored six straight after Marian opened the fourth with a basket to take a comfortable 42-30 lead.

Emotions got the best of Fletcher as she lost control of the ball then pushed Redoute into the stands as the two rushed for the loose ball. Redoute hit her face as she tumbled into the stands and Fletcher was assessed an intentional foul.

The Mustangs couldn’t capitalize as they missed both free throws with 4:36 left and didn’t score on their next possession.

Cousino put the game away by making 7-of-11 from the free throw line in the final 4:27.

Despite the defeat it was a remarkable season for Marian (17-8). The Mustangs had to replace their top six players and coach Mary Cicerone had but two seniors. Marian won the Catholic League title and was one of the surprise teams anywhere in the state.

“We didn’t execute well,” Cicerone said. “We did in spurts. We didn’t keep our composure and we have to keep our composure in big games. We let our emotions get to them. We got a little frustrated.

“It was a good group. They pushed my buttons.”

Fletcher led Cousino with 23 points, six rebounds and six steals. McArthur had 12 points and Mackenzie Anderson, the lone senior, had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Grobbel had nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Mustangs.

Marian had 23 turnovers, 21 in the first three quarters, and Cousino had 21.

“(Marian) is the epitome of what basketball teams in the state strive for,” Cousino coach Mike Lee said. “They have different talent this year but it’s a system.

“We had to do a couple of things to keep Grobbel contained. We extended our defense and we had to apply pressure. We’re not big but we play bigger than what we are. And we’re fast.

“It’s magnified especially for a school that hasn’t done it before. First time with 20 wins and first time regional champs.”

And it isn’t over yet.