Jemetria Fletcher is thankful for rebuilt knees and a chance to play basketball again.
In her sixth game with Paine, Fletcher is proving to be a major asset.
The junior guard came off the bench for 16 points as the Lions continued their hot stretch, knocking off Lane, 87-68 on Saturday.
Ashley Watts made six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points. Ariel Brown added 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Lashonda Canty chipped in 10 points.
After opening the season with six losses in seven games, Paine (5-8, 3-1) is finding its footing. And some of the credit goes to the addition of Fletcher, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, who transferred from Atlanta Metropolitan College and was finally eligible to play Dec. 14 after establishing herself at Paine for two semesters.
On Saturday, she scored in double figures for the fifth time – Fletcher is now the Lions’ second-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder.
“She gives us toughness,” Paine coach Willie Adams said. “She’s helped Brown open up her game. And it takes a load off (Watts).”
Fletcher tore her anterior cruciate ligament in each knee during her high school career. After playing at Atlanta Metro and working on her shooting with former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Fletcher found a chance to show off her improved game in Division II basketball.
“I had a setback on opportunities,” she said. “Coach (Adams) gave me a chance and I took it.”
Against Lane (0-7, 0-5), the Lions led by six at halftime and expanded their margin. With 9:20 to go, Brown pushed a pass ahead to Watts who found Fletcher for a layup to stake Paine to a 60-50 lead. Fletcher followed with a 17-foot jumper to push the lead to 12.
“We’ve got chemistry on and off the court,” Fletcher said. “We pass the ball and play well as a team. I have good teammates. They’re great people.”