Cousino tops Regina in Class A girls basketball district final
March 1, 2013
WARREN — Down 32-28 at halftime, the Warren Cousino girls basketball team used all its alloted time to talk strategy before the start of the second half.
That proved to be a good approach, as the Patriots outscored the Saddlelites 36-19 in the second half to secure their second straight Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A district title March 1 at Warren Woods Tower with a 64-51 victory.
"(Cousino coach Mike Lee) let us have it," said Cousino junior guard Natasha Baetiong, who led the Patriots with 20 points. "He just told us what we weren't doing and that we needed to get to it."
Cousino (17-6 overall) clinched its second straight district crown and third in four years under Lee. The Patriots have also won two straight Macomb Area Conference White Division titles. The league championships come after Cousino hadn't won a division title in 30 years.
Cousino advances to face either Grosse Pointe North or Grosse Pointe South in a Class A regional semifinal set for 5 p.m. March 5 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.
"I told the girls at halftime that we've worked too hard for it to end here," Lee said. "Nobody in that locker room wanted the season to end. They played so much better in that second half, and I couldn't be prouder of those young ladies."
It was a tale of two halves, as Cousino shot 50 percent (12 for 24) in the second half, while Regina (9-13) shot 59 percent (10 for 17) in the first. The Patriots trailed for much of the game, being down 8-2 at the start and leading for just one possession — 16-15 at the start of the second quarter — in the first half.
Cousino took the lead for good at 47-46 early in the fourth on two Baetiong free throws, giving the Patriots their first lead of the second half. Regina, which led 46-45 going into the final stanza, didn't score again until late in the fourth when senior Rebecca Sabol hit two free throws to cut the Cousino lead to 64-48.
Sabol led the Saddlelites with 17 points, 11 in the first half.
"Give all the credit to Cousino, but we didn't execute any of the things we did all week in practice," Saddlelites coach Diane Laffey said.
That lack of execution included 27 turnovers, including 17 in the second half. Cousino senior Bethany McCord swiped10 Regina passes to go along with 10 points and 13 rebounds to record a triple double. The Patriots turned the ball over 11 times.
"We got sloppy with the ball," Laffey said.
Cousino opted to run a zone defense for much of the second half to slow Regina down, according to Lee.
Cousino got to the basket more in the second half, taking just three 3-pointers, as opposed to 14 it took in the first half.
"We've never been to a regional final, and the only way we could continue this road is to win against Regina," Lee said.
Sophomore guard Haley Hoffman and senior forward Moriah Grys netted 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Cousino.
Senior Christine Palazzolo chipped in with 11 for Regina.