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Firestone boys basketball team looking to defend City Series title

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — Firestone High School boys basketball head coach Dave Milo said the Falcons are making it a priority to advance further in the playoffs than they have the past two years.

“Last year, we had a good year in the City [Series]. We only had one loss and that was to East. We played Buchtel three times, including the City [Series] championship, where we won,” the coach said. “In the league, we were 12-1.”

Outside of the league, however, Milo said the Falcons had “a rough time.”

“We had a tough schedule and we didn’t travel well. We had some tough teams on our schedule, and our overall record at the end of the year was 13-10,” he said. “And we had a bad postseason. We lost in our first game to [Stow-Munroe Falls]. But my guys, this year, say it’s going to be different. In the last two years, they got a little flat after the City championship. This year, we’re going to try to change that.”

According to Milo, Firestone’s first goal this year is to defend its City title.

“After that, we want to make a dent in the playoffs and maybe make it to regionals,” he said. “It’s all about the schedule. That’s why I want to play the tougher teams. For the independent games, you want a tougher schedule. We’re not ducking anybody. You can’t always win those games, but we’re having a lot of fun and we’re getting better. The No. 1 goal is always to win the City, but after that it’s to prepare for the postseason.”

Milo said this year’s team has “some guys coming back with good experience,” including a trio of senior starters.

Two of those starters are Jae’Quan Jones, who took over as the team’s point guard last season, and Evan Kennerly, who can play at nearly any position.

“Jae’Quan Jones did a great job for us as a junior. I expect big things from him this year. He’s a leader, he plays hard all of the time and he loves basketball,” Milo said. “Evan is also one heck of a vocal leader. Evan can play the five, he can play the four and he can play the three. Heck, he could probably play the two. He’s very versatile and I enjoy watching his hustle and his desire on the floor. He’s doing a real nice job for us.”

The third returning senior starter is Miles Kirk.

“He’s a big man in the middle,” the coach said. “He was first-team all-City as a center on the football team, but he also loves basketball. He ended up taking 14 charges for us last year. He’s not afraid to bang bodies and he’s also fun to watch.”

Stepping into the starting lineup at the four this year is 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Rayvon Lewis.

“He could have been a starter last year — in fact, I think he was a spot starter — but the thing about Rayvon is that he can go from point guard to five,” the coach said. “He can go inside or outside, and he’s one of our better players. He’s one to watch.”

The fifth starter, Milo said, will depend on the opponent and whether Firestone needs to play a bigger or smaller lineup.

“If we go small, it’s Andre Simmons. He’s a senior guard who lives for basketball. He’s a great defender and he always plays hard. He had a game last year against Ellet where he took three charges. He has a lot of heart,” the coach said. “If I go bigger, I’ve got a 6-foot-2 junior who played [junior varsity] last year, Davoris Allen. Davoris is rounding out to be a pretty good player. He plays defense and gets rebounds. That’s why I like him.”

The strength of this year’s team, Milo said, is the athleticism of the players.

“We’ve got good athletes on this team,” he said. “And there are no egos on this team. They come to practice, they work hard and there are no clashes. We enjoy practice.”

Firestone’s season will get under way Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at home against Wadsworth High School.

“I think we’re going to be very exciting this year,” Milo said. “I think this will be a fun team to watch.”

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