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Cousino tops Northville behind Fletcher’s 23, advances to first Class A semifinal

By: Jeff Dullack, March 15, 2016, 10:53 pm

Southfield – Going into Tuesday night’s Class A quarterfinal at Southfield, Warren Cousino had never advanced that far in the state tournament in school history.

But the Patriots were looking for even more when they faced Northville with a spot in the Class A semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on the line.

After watching its lead cut down to just three at the end of the third quarter, after leading by as many as nine earlier in the second half, Cousino’s defense took over in the fourth quarter, limiting

Northville to just four points and scored the final eight points of the game to earn a 41-29 win.
Cousino coach Mike Lee said that after struggling late in the third quarter, his team regrouped defensively and that helped secure the win for the Patriots.

“We were reeling there at the end of the third,” he said. “So we got them together and what got us here is great defense, it’s cliché for a reason, but defense wins championships.”

With the win, Cousino now heads to its first ever Class A semifinal as the Patriots will face Hudsonville at 2:50 pm on Friday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

After falling behind by nine points early in the third quarter, Northville closed out the third quarter on a 6-0 run to cut Cousino’s lead down to 28-25 after back-to-back baskets from Brook Adams as the game headed to the fourth quarter.

Cousino’s Kierra Fletcher opened up the fourth quarter with a quick basket and later in the quarter, assisted on a 3-pointer from freshman Kate McArthur which widened the Patriots’ lead to 33-26 with 4:20 left to play.

Lee said that while McArthur had her struggles on Tuesday night, he still was confident in her continuing to shoot and she stepped up in a big way.

“She was, but she’s got the green light, she’s got ice water in her veins,” he said. “She was meant to play basketball, she was born with a basketball in her hands. You would never know she’s a freshman and she hates when I tell her layups only, so she’s got the green light until the bitter end.”

Northville answered right back on the next possession when Kendall Dillon knocked down a 3-pointer of her own to cut the deficit back to four points with under four minutes to play.

Cousino would take the game over from there, not allowing another Northville point in the game as the Patriots scored the final eight points, six of which came from Fletcher.

Fletcher said that throughout the game she and her teammates had the mentality of needing to play an aggressive style of basketball to carry them to a win and to the semifinals.

“Our mentality was that we had 32 minutes until we get to the Breslin,” she said. “He (Lee) said before the game it’s like we’re at the finish line and if we lose, it’s like we’re walking or stopping right before we get there. So our mentality was to flip the switch and keep pounding and playing aggressive to come out with the ‘W’.”

Fletcher finished with a game-high 23 points to lead the way for Cousino.