In Play with Tom Markowski


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Fletcher is at her best as Cousino throttles Port Huron Northern, 66-45

By: Tom Markowski, January 19, 2017, 9:48 pm

Warren – I’ll have a little mustard with that hoop, please.

Kierra Fletcher displayed a bit of spice in her game on Thursday as Warren Cousino used a 19-7 run during the second quarter to outdistance Port Huron Northern, 66-45, in a Macomb Area Conference Red Division game before a lively crowd at Cousino.

Fletcher, a 5-9 guard who signed with Georgia Tech, had 24 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and five steals in what Cousino coach Mike Lee said was her best all-around game this season.

As example, Fletcher had three blocks during the first 23 seconds of the second half that had Northern players where her next block would come from.

“In a dogfight like this we need that,” Lee said.

Fletcher was 9-of-14 from the field and just 6-11 from the free throw line. The latter didn’t sit well with a player State Champs named No. 1 in the preseason.

“I’d say it’s my best complete game,” she said. “I’m not happy with my free throws. That was my downfall (tonight). I’m not pleased at all. I practice that. I’m better than that. I was happy with my defense though.”

The six blocks represents a career-high.

Cousino (9-2), ranked No. 5, is 5-0 in the division and has a game and a half lead over Northern (11-2, 4-2), which was ranked No.. 6. Grosse Pointe North (7-3) sits in third place at 3-2.

Lee couldn’t be more pleased with his team’s play. Cousino handed Northern its other loss, 53-51, two weeks ago at Northern and it’s a bit of a payback from last season where it was Northern that took both division games.

But there was one tenuous moment. Fletcher took a spill after delivering a pass with 4:53 left. Lee quickly called time out as Fletcher hobbled to the bench after suffering a cramp in her right calf. Fletcher said she tore the calf last summer and it’s given her problems since.

On the bench Fletcher took a big swig of mustard then washed it down with a larger swig of water.

Mustard? Fletcher said an AAU coach told her it’s a quick remedy to combat cramps.

“It’s quick and easy,” she said. “It taste terrible.”

Lee laughed it off.

“We keep that mustard close by,” he said. “I tease her. I tell her she’s a hot dog so you need that mustard.”

The game was close for much of the first half. Jenna Koppinger’s basket with 30 seconds left in the first quarter pulled Northern to within 15-14.

A Fletcher basket started a 19-7 run that she ended a player with Fletcher’s all-around abilities could. She blocked a shot by Northern center Bree Bauer, got the rebound then scored on the other end to give Cousino a 34-21 lead with 2:36 left in the half.

Northern never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

“They played really well,” Northern coach Mark Dickinson said. “We played hard. We had too many turnovers (14 in the first half). We had some open looks and didn’t get it into the post often enough.”

Sophomore Kate McArthur did what she does best for Cousino as she made 6-of-8 attempts from the 3-point range and had 19 points.

A coach from Youngstown State was at Cousino to get a closer look at McArthur.

“She’s one of the best shooters in the state,” Fletcher said. “If you watch her you might say, why is she taking those shots? But more times than not she’s making them.”

Sami Klink led Northern with 18 points, Bauer had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Koppinger had 12 rebounds.