Firestone boys basketball team eyeing postseason run
WEST AKRON — The sectional playoffs will get underway for the Firestone High School basketball team Feb. 26 at GlenOak High School, and head coach Dave Milo said the Falcons have a chance to end the season with some strong play.
One of two seniors who will look to lead the Falcons on a playoff run is Evan Kennerly, who was named first-team All-City this season.
“He’s a good player, and he’ll be playing ball somewhere next year,” the coach said. “He is the heart of our ball club. When Evan is hitting and he’s hot, we play well. But if he goes cold, we don’t really have anyone to pick it up. Evan has capabilities to play in college. He just needs to develop a right hand and get a little stronger.”
The other key senior going forward is Miles Kirk, a two-year starter for the team.
“Miles is the big man in the middle for us,” Milo said. “He strained a ligament in his knee, and that really slowed him down. I don’t think Miles was 100 percent all year, but he’s very intelligent and he’s good on defense.”
The team’s third senior starter throughout the season, point guard Jae’Quan Jones, has been ruled ineligible academically.
“We lost him a week ago to grades and that hurt,” the coach said. “He started all year until last week. He was a great ball-handler and passed the ball very well. In fact, there were times where I wanted him to be a little more selfish. But he’s just a very nice kid.”
The fourth primary starter this season has been sophomore guard Rayvon Lewis, who was named second-team All-City this season.
“I call Rayvon ‘The Future’ because everybody knows how good he is — except I don’t think Rayvon knows how good he can be,” Milo said. “When Rayvon plays hard, there is nobody who is going to stop him. He can play any position from one through five.”
One player who recently rejoined Firestone is junior forward Ezra Wilmington. Milo said the team is glad to have him back.
“He left earlier in the season for the band,” the coach said. “If he was here all year, he would have been a starter. A couple of weeks ago, his band responsibilities were over, and he asked if he could come back to the team. I knew I wanted him back, but I put the question to the team, and it was unanimous that everybody wanted Ezra back. First of all, he’s a nice kid. But he’s also a great rebounder. He can play the three, the four or the five.”
In addition, Milo said, a number of other players have not only played key roles this season, but also are expected to “really make a difference” next season.
“Kyrell Allen is a junior scorer who has really helped us. He’s a high-energy, high-impact player who hustles. He actually led the area in steals for a while,” the coach said. “Davorise Allen is another part-time starter for us. He’s a good rebounder and a great hustler. When he’s in the game, I know I’m going to get 100 percent from him. And I’ve also brought a couple of guys from junior varsity who have injected a lot of energy into the team in Isreal Spear, who might be our starting point guard next year, and Kylon Richburg, who just understands the concept of defense. He’s a great defender, and offensively he doesn’t hurt us.”
Through Feb. 17, the Falcons were 7-12 overall and 5-7 in the City Series, and Milo said the team has “definitely underachieved” as far as its record is concerned.
“We could have played a lot better than what we’ve showed this year,” he said. “There were times where we looked very, very good, and there were other times that were frustrating. If I could put my finger on one cause, that would be nice to be able to do, but it was just a couple of different things. They all want to win, but sometimes it’s just about having the right players in the right situations, and we didn’t always have that.”
However, Milo said, Firestone still has time to put together a winning finish to the season. If the Falcons win Feb. 26 at Glen Oak, they will play March 1 at 4 p.m. at a yet to be determined location. They would play the winner of the Walsh Jesuit and Highland high schools game Feb. 26.
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