DAVE GORICKI

Prep Insider: Cousino, Northville reach quarters for 1st time

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Cousino’s defense was stellar in the regionals, lifting the Patriots to wins over Utica Ford and Marian.

Warren Cousino and Northville earned regional championships in girls basketball for the first time last week and will face each other Tuesday night for the right to move on to the semifinals at the Breslin Center.

Cousino (20-4) ended Birmingham Marian’s 18-game postseason winning streak Thursday, defeating the Class A two-time defending champions, 49-39.

Northville (21-3) tossed aside its disappointment of losing in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association tournament semifinals by making its first run to the regional title, defeating Farmington Hills Mercy, 46-29.

Northville will play Cousino at Southfield High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“It’s a really exciting time for us,” eighth-year Northville coach Todd Gudith said. “We have a great group of kids and the team chemistry lifted us to the next level. The 13 kids are best friends and you can’t coach that. They defend very well and they share the ball, attacking the basket.

“We have no Division 1 stars, just good athletic kids who know how to play, who believe in themselves and expect to win when they take the court.”

Northville is led by 6-foot junior forward Jessica Moorman (13 points, six rebounds) who is a three-year starter. Brook Adams, a 6-1 junior who played outside last year, is now a force inside, averaging nine points and six rebounds. Sophomore point guard Kendall Dillon, sophomore guard Roan Haines and 5-11 senior forward Lindsey Rathsburg are the other starters.

Gudith said the turning point of the season came against Salem in January, coming back from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to win. Salem defeated Northville in a district semifinal last year, ending its season at 13-8.

“We were down 17 to Salem at the end of the third quarter and came back to beat them in overtime,” Gudith said. “That was definitely the springboard for the rest of the season.”

Northville hasn’t played Cousino, but knows all about Cousino junior guard Kierra Fletcher.

“Cousino was in our Christmas tournament, but we didn’t play them because they lost to a talented Dexter team,” Gudith said. “I know Fletcher is a D1 guard and they have a freshman who can shoot triples. I’m happy for Mike (Cousino coach Mike Lee).”

Fletcher led Cousino to multiple trips to the regionals, but failed to win the title … until Thursday. Fletcher averages 20.5 points, scoring 23 in the win over Marian. Freshman Kate McArthur is the team’s perimeter threat.

Detroit King has to be considered the team to beat in Class A after dominating top-ranked Southfield Lathrup 74-56 in a regional title game, making 11 3-pointers. The question for King will be on the status of injured guards Alicia Norman (ankle) and Tia Tedford (cramps). Tedford should be able to play, but how effective will Norman be if she can play in the quarterfinal against Ann Arbor Huron in the 5 p.m. game at Southfield is the question.

Another Class A favorite, Saginaw Heritage, was upset by St. Johns in a regional title game, 46-43.

There will also be new champions in Class C and D with St. Ignace defeating defending Class C champion and previously unbeaten Calumet 53-52 to earn its seventh straight regional title. St. Ignace was the Class D state champ last year, moving up this season.

The lone defending champion still competing in the Class it won last year is Detroit Country Day, and is considered the team to beat in Class B.

Country Day dominated Flint Powers 65-43 in a regional title game and will play Detroit Mumford on Tuesday night at Marysville.

Country Day returns the majority of its team from a year ago, including Dream Team guard Destiny Pitts. Mumford rebounded from an 81-57 PSL semifinal loss to Detroit Renaissance last month to make a strong state postseason run, led by De’Anna Fletcher.

Classic matchup

Clarkston (20-2) and Macomb Dakota (23-0) will play in a Class A boys regional semifinal Monday night at Dakota in a rematch of last year’s classic battle. The teams are in search of their first state title.

Clarkston pulled out a 63-58 win a year ago in the regional title game against Dakota with point guard Foster Loyer — now a sophomore — scoring 35 points, 13 coming in the final quarter to bring the Wolves back from a 53-51 deficit with three minutes left.

Dakota junior point guard Jermaine Jackson is having an outstanding season, averaging more than 20 points while leading his team to an unbeaten record, including a 46-35 win over Clarkston on Dec. 15.

Jackson is averaging 21 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals. He has multiple weapons to work with in 6-8 sophomore Thomas Kithier (11 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks) and 6-1 senior guard Steven Marshall (16.5 points).

Cousino’s Mackenzie Anderson shoots a jumper in Tuesday’s 53-24 victory over Utica Ford in a Class A regional semifinal.

“They ended our season last year and we used it as motivation for this season, to get back and have another shot at them,” Dakota coach Paul Tocco said. “It should be a fun environment. We beat them at their place earlier this year, using a 12-0 run to close out the game. That was good for our confidence, but means nothing since March is what really matters.

“I’m happy with how we’re playing. Jermaine (Jackson) is the best player I’ve ever coached. He does everything well and is very unselfish. Thomas (Kithier) is like a point guard when he gets the ball and is a difference-maker at the rim, blocks three shots a game and changes another six or seven shots, and Steven Marshall is our high energy guy, a great defender.”

Clarkston has bounced back from the early season loss, consistently winning behind the strong backcourt of Loyer and 6-4 guard Dylan Alderson.

Top-ranked Detroit Jesuit and defending Class A state champion Detroit Western are each a win away from playing each other for a regional title Wednesday at Cass Tech.

First, Jesuit has a regional semifinal game at Livonia Churchill at Cass Tech with Western facing Dearborn Fordson.

Loyola a surprise champ

Detroit Allen Academy was predicted to make a long postseason run in Class C if it could get by Detroit Edison in the district at Detroit Loyola.

Well, Loyola had other ideas, crushing Allen Academy 69-45 in a semifinal before lifting the district championship trophy following a 61-55 win over Detroit Pershing.

Next up, Loyola (18-5) faces Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Ecorse.

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Top performer

Brailen Neely, Sr., G, Detroit Western

Neely scored 30 points, making 17 of 21 free throws in a 77-76 overtime win over PSL champion Detroit East English in a Class A district semifinal game Wednesday

By the numbers

12: Ann Arbor Huron’s girls basketball team held Temperance Bedford to 12 points in a regional final victory

9: Number of 3-pointers Detroit King made during the middle two quarters in its 74-56 girls basketball regional title win over Southfield Lathrup.

7: Number of consecutive regional titles won in girls basketball by St. Ignace, defeating defending Class C state champion and unbeaten Calumet, 53-52

Last week’s top game

Detroit Western 77, Detroit East English 76 (OT)

It was a showdown between last year’s Class A state champion Western and this year’s PSL champion East English.

The game lived up to its billing with Mr. PSL, Western point guard Brailen Neely, and Mr. Basketball finalist, East English guard Kamari Newman, going head-to-head at times. Neely scored 30 points, making 17 of 20 free throws while Newman scored 25 points, but missed a 3-pointer and a driving layup in the final minute of the extra session.

This week’s top game

Clarkston at Macomb Dakota, Tuesday, 7

This is a rematch of last year’s regional title game won by Clarkston 63-58 when Foster Loyer scored 35 points, including 13 in the final quarter.

Loyer returns to a backcourt that includes 6-4 Dylan Alderson, a transfer from Davison. Dakota, which defeated Clarkston 46-35 earlier this season, has a strong backcourt in Jermaine Jackson and Steven Marshall and a difference maker inside in 6-8 Thomas Kithier.