Detroit King wears black and gold, but accessorizes its jerseys with unique orange socks and shoes. The orange represents deep roots to the former Detroit Eastern High, which opened in 1901 and wore black and orange. The school name was changed in 1968 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Teacher Elbert Johnson, who was in the stands Friday afternoon, came out of retirement to again teach history at King. He was captain of the swimming team as a student at Eastern.
“It means they respect me and the other alumni (of Eastern),” Johnson said of the orange apparel. “When the alumni come out to games, it makes them proud.”
And they have plenty of reasons to be proud.
King head coach William Winfield has the most coaching appearances in the girls Class A finals with 12, ranging from 1985 to this year’s match up against Warren Cousino, scheduled for today at noon.
ON POINT: It wouldn’t be fair to her teammates in a sport like basketball to call Warren Cousino junior Kierra Fletcher a one-player show. But her season-long offensive statistics far out-paced those of any other player coming into the four-team Class A semifinals field.
Through regional play, Fletcher was the only player to score over 500 points (513), while the next closest was Micaela Kelly of Detroit King with 346. The key for King’s success — including Friday’s win over St. Johns — is having a teammate close to that total, which the Crusaders did in Tia Tedford with 328 points.
In Friday’s semifinals, Fletcher was a powerhouse in a win over Hudsonville, scoring 37 points to tie for third all-time in semifinals action. Kelly added 18 points to her stats and Tedford scored seven in King’s win over St. Johns.
WHAT A RUN! Hudsonville experienced a breakout season in 2015-16 like no other the past seven years under head coach Casey Glass. With a career record just over .500 at 83-77, nearly 30 percent of his wins came this season alone, with 23.
Two years ago, Hudsonville won just two games.
“A couple girls were on that team then, so now it’s really nice to see the difference, and the difference in support from our students,” said Hudsonville senior and fan, Aaron Chycinski. “Now that we’re here at the Breslin, with over 300 students (in the student cheering section) it’s pretty cool to be here. They look really good. They’ve been playing really well.”
CROWD CONTROL: St. Johns’ fans filled virtually every seat of five lower bowl sections, estimated at 1,800 people, a huge crowd for Friday afternoon semifinals — and more than double of any other school in the Class A semifinals.
“They’ve given us a lot of energy and they’re part of the reason why we got here,” said St. Johns coach Mark Lasceski. “It’s just tremendous to be a part of the St. Johns community and how people came out and just helped us be what we were, knowing we had their support. It’s been awesome.”