- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Take a stroll down the hallway next to the gymnasium at Birmingham Detroit Country Day, and you’ll see memorabilia from all the greats of past years who played there in the adjoining gym.

The current star of the girls basketball team, senior Destiny Pitts, belongs among those luminaries for what she’s done physically. But she may even stand out among that august crew, as longtime Country Day coach Frank Orlando has called her possibly the best leader he’s had in his 36 years as head coach.

“If not the best, then one of the best,” he said. “Destiny is a girl that, she can play the game as well as arguably anybody, but she’s as good with people as the game.”

Someone you can peg as a future coach, just by watching them as a player?

“Yeah. There’s no question,” Orlando said with a laugh. “She knows more than I do.”

A Miss Basketball finalist, Pitts is a four-time all-stater, earning Class B Player of the Year honors from The Associated Press this season.

She’s joined on the Class B first team by Country Day teammate Kaela Webb, along with Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Sophia Karasinski, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep’s Adrienne Anderson, Dearborn Heights Robichaud’s Kamaria McDaniel, Williamston’s Maddie Watters, Ithaca’s Kayla Belles, Flint Southwestern’s Tyeshia Bowers, Marshall’s Nikki Tucker and Bay City John Glenn’s Kalle Martinez.

The 2016-17 AP All-State Basketball Team is selected by Michigan sportswriters and broadcasters.

Frankenmuth’s Tom Keller is the Class B Coach of the Year.

With Pitts, it’s not just the points she puts up - although those can pile up quickly. She’s averaging 25 points, six rebounds and three assists per game.

It’s how she manages to get the best out of her teammates, too, leading both vocally, and by example. The Yellowjackets went 67-7 in the regular season in her four years, and 18-2 in the Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason entering this year.

“I think she leads both ways, most definitely by example, because you see 30, 20 points she puts up per game, and then in the locker room, and in timeouts, she definitely leads vocally, telling us what we need to do to break the zone, or break the press. She most definitely is a leader,” classmate Tylar Bennett said, downplaying the thought that Pitts‘ instructions could ever get overbearing. “No, you never feel that way, because you know she has good intentions. She’s always helping us out, so you can never look at it that.”

Pitts helped lead a young Country Day team to a title as a sophomore, then vowed - after an earlier-than-expected exit in the semifinals as a junior - to bring the Yellowjackets back to Breslin Center as a senior.

“It’s really like every night,” junior Webb said of Pitts‘ leadership. “”It’s more vocal than anything. She’s a winner first. She wants to bring the team together and that’s really been the goal, ever since I’ve come along, too. That’s we wanted - to do something that none of us had ever done.

“It started with winning, and the winning attitude, and being disciplined and working hard in practice.”

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