Warren Cousino junior – Girls Basketball
It’s fair to say that few outside of Macomb County and perhaps the Greater Detroit area knew much about Warren Cousino girls basketball and Kierra Fletcher in particular before last weekend. But in scoring a combined 64 points over two games and leading the unranked Patriots to their first MHSAA championship, Fletcher became a possible Miss Basketball Award contender for 2017 and earned the Michigan National Guard Performance of the Week.
The 5-foot-9 guard made 14 of 20 shots for 37 points and added nine rebounds and five assists in Cousino’s Class A 60-45 Semifinal win over Hudsonville, then made 9 of 13 shots for 27 points with eight rebounds and five more assists in the 67-65 upset of Detroit Martin Luther King in the championship game. Fletcher managed her high scoring totals by attacking the basket; in fact, she didn’t take a 3-pointer over eight postseason games. She finished with season averages of 22.3 points and five assists per game and made more than 50 percent of her shots from the floor. Cousino finished 23-4 and also shared the Macomb Area Conference Red title.
Fletcher is a strong student, carrying a 3.97 grade-point average, and a thoughtful teammate as well. She dedicated this season to her best friend Erin McArthur, who previously has shared the backcourt with her but tore a knee ligament during the team’s second practice and was forced to miss the season.
Coach Mike Lee said: “We have had great basketball players, DI players, and leaders, but Kierra has taken it to the next level and as a result of that has taken the team to the next level. On May 21, 2015, she texted me after a rough AAU practice and said, ‘Coach, for whatever reason something clicked tonight and all the things you preach hit home a lot harder, and I am making you a promise that next season is Breslin or bust.’ And after we won on Saturday, she sent me a pic of the text from that day and said, ‘I told you so.’ She is such an amazing kid with a burning passion for the game. You guys only see the basketball player side, but she is a tremendous role model, 3.9 GPA, great friend, watches my own kids. She is what is right, true and pure about high school sports – a homegrown kid that just wants her school and team to be proud.”
Performance Point: “I think I showed people I can play basketball. People don’t really know who I am, which is fine. I guess since I just played on statewide television that people (might say), ‘Oh, that’s Kierra Fletcher.’ It’s going to be humbling (next year). The rankings to us don’t really matter. Just as long as we know who we are, inside the program, that’s all that matters.”
My game: “I don’t shoot 3s. I’m more of a mid-range, pull-up type person. Three-point shots to me, they’re not very high percentage, so I just try to go in closer, because the closer you are to the basket, the more likely you are to go in. … Defense, I just love it. The length of my body and getting steals and breakaway layups is just fun. I like defense more than offense.”
Sharing the rock: “I just want to have a high basketball IQ. It doesn’t really matter how much I score. If I score, I score. If I don’t, I can get my ball to my teammates. I just do whatever I have to do to get the win. … I’m just not a selfish player at all. Sometimes (Coach) Lee tells me I need to be more selfish, but that’s just not who I am. I get hyped when another person on my team makes a play, because it gets me going. Because if I’m getting the layup, it’s just a layup. But if I’m getting someone else the opportunity to score, that’s what matters most to me.”
Investigating her future: If pro basketball doesn’t work out, then I want to major in sociology and narrow it down to criminology and become an FBI agent. I just like to help people. The FBI, it’s different from a police standpoint; it’s more investigative work, being with people and talking with people. I think I’m a people person. That’s something that I like to do.”
Macomb County power: “I think it’s great for Cousino … because everyone knows who Cousino is now. It says a lot because we do have great players in Macomb County. Now, since a team in Macomb County just won a state championship, it gives a whole little watch list for the Macomb County teams. It’s great, because now we’re the poster children of Macomb County.”
– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2015-16 honorees
March 16: Jacob Montague, Grosse Pointe South swimming & diving - Read
March 9: Kyle Tuttle, St. Charles boys bowling - Read
March 2: Brittney Schnicke, Caledonia girls bowling - Read
Feb. 24: Kamari Newman, Detroit East English boys basketball - Read
Feb. 17: Jason Whitens, Powers North Central boys basketball - Read
Feb. 10: Rachel Hogan, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Read
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Kierra Fletcher (3) makes a move to the basket during Saturday’s Class A Final against Detroit Martin Luther King. (Middle) Fletcher defends during the Semifinal win against Hudsonville.
The St. Ignace girls basketball teams is off to a 2-0 start – and great starts and finishes certainly have been the norm over the last 25 seasons under the leadership of head coach Dorene Ingalls and her assistant, and husband, Doug.
Tuesday’s season-opening win over Brimley made Dorene Ingalls 500-94 beginning her 25th season guiding the program – now 501-94 after Thursday’s 63-27 victory over Boyne City. She entered this season 16th on the state list for most girls basketball coaching victories, and seventh among active coaches.
For all 501 wins, Doug Ingalls has been by her side as an assistant within the program – while also serving as boys varsity basketball coach from 1992-2008, 2011-16 and again currently in the fifth season of his latest tenure. His Saints also have opened 2-0, and he has a 355-175 record leading the boys program.
The Ingalls have led the girls program to five MHSAA Finals championships, most recently in Class D in 2015, and four runner-up finishes, most recently in Division 4 in 2019.
Dorene Ingalls received the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2021.
PHOTOS (Top) Doug and Dorene Ingalls, far left and right, respectively, take a photo with 2003 Miss Basketball Krista Clement. (Middle) Dorene and Doug Ingalls. (Photos by David Latva.)