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Fletcher’s block and free throws seal 47-41 win over Mercy

SOUTHFIELD >> As Kierra Fletcher goes so does Cousino's girls basketball team.

Fletcher got a key block, her fifth of the game, and converted a pair of free throws right after to give the Patriots a 47-41 lead with a minute and 13 seconds left to play in their Class A state quarterfinal game against Mercy played at Southfield A&T.

It was a lead that didn't change as Cousino advanced to a second straight state semifinal.

"That's her," Cousino coach Mike Lee said. "Anyone who watches us and thinks she's just a scorer and tries a gimmick to stop her she'll find other ways to beat you. With her 19 rebounds last game and with her blocks and switches and her big free throws at the end she'll find a way to help us no matter what."

Along with a game-high five blocks, Fletcher, who grabbed those 19 boards in a 41-39 overtime win over Marian (22-4) in a regional final on Friday, added 19 points to go along with seven assists and six steals.

"She does all the little things and that's what separates her from everyone else," Lee said. "No knock on anyone else, because there is so much talent in girls basketball in the state of Michigan, but she's not afraid to sacrifice her body. You'd think a Georgia Tech commit, with everything ahead of her for her future, would pause, but she'll be the first to 50-50 balls and do the little things. She's get teammates who have never been to the Breslin Center there."

Fletcher's block came on Mercy's Chloe Godbold, who drove the lane.

"It was a miscommunication," Fletcher admitted. "We were supposed to switch and we didn't. Instead of just giving up and letting her have a free layup and potentially have this game a little closer or potentially have it go to overtime, I just decided to go for the block because I knew that my length was going to get there.

"It's just what I do," Fletcher added. "I'm pretty long for my size so I just try to use that to my advantage."

Kate McArthur tossed in 13 points and had four steals, while Mackenzie Cook added eight points and had four steals for the Patriots (24-2). Rachel Hayes had 10 rebounds and three steals.

"You have a player like Fletch and she can only make you better and people feed off that," Lee said. "We put her in spots to make plays and now wear her out too much by putting her on the ball. We have other girls that can do that, but in the fourth quarter we know it's No. 3's time and she'll find a way to get it done."

The Patriots, who beat Detroit King in last season's state title game, will meet Flushing at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Raiders beat Dakota on Tuesday, 59-28.

"We knew she could shoot, she just hadn't been hitting shots," Mercy coach Gary Morris said of Fletcher. "She came out and hit her first couple shots, and we were climbing uphill all night."

Mercy trailed the entire game.

"We were eight down at the half, and we felt a little bit better," Morris said. "The closest we got was probably four. The tough thing with them, though, when you're trying to come back against that team, is when you have someone like Fletcher, she's got the capability to make a play, when they really need a play.

"She can be guarded and whatnot, but she kind of can get to where she needs to go, and make the shot," Morris added. "They're a tough team, because like I said, when things break down for them, or they're being pushed a little bit, Fletcher can make a play. That's what that type of player can do. She can make a type of play that a lot of people can't."

East Kentwood meets Southfield A&T in the other semifinal at 2:50 p.m. The championship game is Saturday at noon.

"We're not thinking about a state championship," Lee said. "We're just going to enjoy this one and get back to the Breslin Center. We will be wide-eyed open when we pull off that exit on the bus."

Cousino is the fourth team from Macomb County to reach the state semis twice and just the second to go back-to-back, matching Utica (1999 and 2000).

The Marlins got 13 points from Godbold, while Jenna Schluter and Jackie Bauer tossed in 10 apiece.

Last Updated: 3/14/2017 10:46:34 PM EST