- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

WARREN, Mich. (AP) - Kierra Fletcher continued right where she left off after leading Warren Cousino to the 2016 Class A state championship, putting together a strong senior season to earn The Associated Press Player of the Year honors.

Fletcher, a 5-foot-9 combo guard, averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals to help Cousino make a return trip to the Breslin Center for the Final Four this weekend.

“As the stage gets bigger so does her effort, just a cool customer,” said Cousino coach Mike Lee of Fletcher, who will play next year at Georgia Tech. “She does the little things and I think that separates her from everybody else and that’s not a knock on anybody else because there’s so much talent in the state of Michigan for girls basketball, but she’s the first one to go after 50-50 balls and to get teammates who have never played at the Breslin Center, to make sure they get that chance.”

Fletcher said she made the biggest improvement with her mid-range jumper from a year ago.

“I feel I’ve improved the most with my pull-up jump shot and I feel like my leadership has improved since last year where I feel I’ve grown up mentally,” said Fletcher, who finished second in voting for the Miss Basketball award. “Really, just being able to hit the mid-range jump shot has made the defense play me a little tighter and then I can get around them to get to the basket and that’s helped me a lot.”

Fletcher is joined on the all-state team by Miss Basketball award winner Jordan Walker of Muskegon Mona Shores, along with Miss Basketball finalist Deja Church of Southfield A&T;, Ellie Taylor of Midland Dow, Maddy Watters of Rockford, Autumn Kissman of Mason, Camree Clegg of Wayne Memorial, Destiny Strother of Flint Carman Ainsworth, Moira Joiner of Saginaw Heritage, Alisia Smith of Lansing Waverly and Lazurea Saunders of East Kentwood.

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

Walker, set to play at Western Michigan, averaged 22 points, nine rebounds, six steals and 4.5 assists for Mona Shores while the Michigan-bound Church averaged 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals to help Southfield A&T; reach the state semifinals.

Kissman, a 6-2 senior who will play at Oakland, averaged a double-double (19.7 points, 12 rebounds), Taylor, signed with St. Louis, 17.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists and Watters, 16.4 points, four assists and four blocks before heading on to Central Michigan.

Clegg, a junior guard, is a Clemson commit and Strother averaged 17.9 points and eight rebounds. Penn State-bound Smith averaged 16 points and seven rebounds and Saunders, 14 points and eight rebounds to lead East Kentwood to a Final Four berth.

Skip Stevenson of Walled Lake Western was named Coach of the Year. He guided Western to its first district title since 1988 and its first regional victory since 1983.

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