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Fast start propels Cousino to championship game PHOTO GALLERY

  • Cousino wins over Hudsonville during girls championship basketball at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Kierra Fletcher (3) of Cousino moves the ball down the court during the match between Cousino and Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Kierra Fletcher (3) of Cousino gets ready to put up a shot during the match between Cousino and Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Rachel Hayes (2) of Cousino moves in to put up a shot during the match between Cousino and Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)
  • Girls championship basketball Cousino vs Hudsonville at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 18, 2016. (MIPrepZone photo gallery by David Dalton)

EAST LANSING >> Cousino’s girls basketball team could not have gotten off to a better start in its Class A state semifinal game Friday at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University.

And the Patriots rode that momentum all the way to the end.

Cousino raced out to an 11-0 lead just before the midway point of the first quarter and cruised from there to defeat Hudsonville, 60-45, and reach Saturday’s Class A state championship game.

“The tone was set early on, but I had a pretty good feeling going in once they got on the bus,” Cousino coach Mike Lee said. “They were focused.”

Kierra Fletcher scored eight of the Patriots’ first 11 points and Kate McArthur buried a triple in between that forced the Eagles (23-4) to call a timeout.

“When Kate gets hot early it’s going to be a good day for us,” said Lee of his freshman shooter, who finished with 13 points behind three triples.

And then there was Fletcher, who was unstoppable, finishing with 37 points, the third-most points in a girls state semifinal game.

“I just wanted to come out and get an early lead on them,” Fletcher said. “We knew they had great post players and we didn’t want to get down in the game. We wanted to set that aggressive tone because we were fast and I think our mindsets were just right at the time.”

Cousino (22-4) forced 16 Hudsonville turnovers, five of which came in the first quarter.

“We set the tone early on, as far as defensively, and it really helps when you hit the first four shots that you take,” Lee said. “Kate set the tone, especially from the outside range, and Kierra sort of set the tone on the inside part of it.

“We don’t have a lot of height so that came to play a little bit,” Lee added. “We went a little quicker in the end of the first half. We had some girls really step up.”

Fletcher, who played the final four minutes of the game with four fouls, finished with 12 points in the first quarter, while McArthur had six and Mackenzie Cook tossed in three.

“You have to give credit to them, they controlled the ball,” said Hudsonville coach Casey Glass, who guided the Eagles to their first trip to the state semifinals. “They came out and got after it. We had some shots that didn’t fall for us. I thought we got good looks early on, but it’s just so hard to recover from that.

“I thought we did a good job battling back just to get back into the game,” Glass continued. “It just wasn’t our day.”

Fletcher, who also grabbed nine rebounds, had five assists and two steals, was 14-of-20 from the floor and 9-of-13 from the free-throw line.

“(Fletcher) is a phenomenal player,” Glass said. “She did what she’s been doing this year. We didn’t have an answer for that. For us, we’ve been in situations when we’ve had to play from behind, but I don’t know if we’ve had a situation where we’ve been that far behind and had to come back.”

Cousino, which ended the season unranked, was also making its first trip to the state semis, but didn’t seem nervous at all.

“They were going to be as nervous as us, we knew that coming in,” Lee said. “We focused on making sure to do our assignments in the first quarter and we can make adjustments as we go, but if we let (Kasey DeSmit) or something like that, or (Shaina DenBesten) makes a couple buckets we could be playing from behind. We wanted to come out in those first four minutes and set the tone. Once the shot went down, we played defense that let them relax and we just played better from there.”

Cousino led 21-8 after the first quarter.

“No not at all,” Lee said when asked if he ever thought the lead would slip away from them. “Especially when you have (Fletcher), she’s a human-press breaker and one of the best free-throw shooters and has a good jumper. You would never know it because she rarely takes them because she’s always driving to the hole and looking for her teammates.”

Cousino will meet Detroit Martin Luther King at noon, Saturday. The Crusaders, who ended the regular season ranked fourth in the state in Class A, beat St. Johns in the other semifinal, 56-48.

The Patriots are just the fifth girls basketball team from Macomb County to reach a state championship game and are looking to become the fourth team to win a title. Utica (Class A) was the last team to win one in 1999. L’Anse Creuse (1978) and Warren Woods (1975) each won Class B titles.

Last Updated: 3/18/2016 5:57:49 PM EST