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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cousino stays perfect in MAC White

Fletcher leads Patriots to win over Eisenhower

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Cousino freshman Kierra Fletcher played like a seasoned varsity veteran in Monday’s Macomb Area Conference White Division basketball game against Eisenhower.

Fletcher had a game-high 20 points, including a clutch three-point play and key free throws down the stretch, leading the host Patriots to a 43-32 win over the Eagles.

“Kierra, at this point, she’s not a freshman anymore,” Cousino coach Mike Lee said. “She attacked the basket and she does the little things out there that we need.”

The win kept Cousino unbeaten in MAC White Division play with a 6-0 record.

The Patriots had seemingly been in control since the second quarter, when they held the Eagles to one field goal en route to taking a 28-13 halftime advantage. Cousino was still in command, 35-20, heading into the final quarter but Eisenhower went on a 10-0 run that started and ended with three-point baskets by Jillian Doss, cutting the Patriot lead to 35-30 midway through the fourth.

However, Fletcher stopped the run with a three-point play. Then after a jumper by teammate Alex Ruster put the Patriots back up by 10, Fletcher helped seal the win by making 3-of-4 free throws in the final 41 seconds.

Before falling behind by double digits in the second quarter, Eisenhower started strong, taking an 8-3 lead only to see the Patriots close the first quarter with a 10-0 run for a 13-8 advantage going into the second. Lee said the Patriots’ pressure defense helped give them the momentum after the early Eisenhower lead.

“I think when we picked up our pressure and started double-teaming a little bit more we opened that up and got some transition buckets,” Lee said.

Eagle coach Mike Satawa said a key to the Eagle’s fourth-quarter rally was taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over just three times in the period after turning it over 17 times in the first half and nine in the third quarter.

“When you take care of the basketball and don’t turn the basketball over, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win and that’s what we did. We gave ourselves a chance to win,” Satawa said.

Another factor in the outcome was Cousino’s offensive rebounding, as the Patriots scored several points on second and third chances.

“We know that, eventually, if we’re going to do anything in the state tournament, it’s going to be with our rebounding,” Lee said. “And we sort of hit that home a little bit and we’re trying to be a little more aggressive. The odds of you making the first shot are not that great. The odds of you making the second or third one increases and that’s what we’re trying to preach.”

Aside from Fletcher’s 20 points, the Patriots got eight points from Ruster and six from Haley Hoffman. In addition to improving to 6-0 in the MAC White, Cousino upped its overall record to 9-5. The Patriots travel to second-place Port Huron Northern (6-1, 10-5) on Thursday. Cousino won the teams’ first meeting 62-47. The teams shared the MAC White title a year ago.

“Since they’ve been in the league the last couple years it’s been a nice little rivalry,” Lee said. “It was sort of set up this way last year. We won at our place and they won at their place. Hopefully we’ll have a couple good days of practice and we’ll get on that bus and give it a go.”

The Eagles, 3-4, 4-9, were led by Doss with nine points and Katie Hayes and Nicole Meyer with six apiece.

Eisenhower - 8-5-7-12 - 32

Cousino - 13-15-7-8 - 43

Eisenhower - Jillian Doss 9, Katie Hayes 6, Nicole Meyer 6, Amy Salter 4, Katie Suhy 4, Ashley Perry 2, Alexa Panourgias 1. TOTALS: 9 (3), 11-16, 32.

Cousino - Kierra Fletcher 20, Alex Ruster 8, Haley Hoffman 6, Lauren Freckelton 4, Mackenzie Anderson 4, Abby Vojtush 1. TOTALS: 15, 13-26, 43.

Last Updated: 2/3/2014 11:01:55 PM EST