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Sports

Firestone boys basketball team ‘gave 100 percent’ this season

3/16/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — Firestone boys basketball head coach Dave Milo said the 2016-17 season was “one of those years you never want to end.”

“This was just a great bunch of kids,” he said. “[Assistant coach] Jerome Lane and I talked about it. We loved coming to practice every day because these guys love basketball. They are good basketball players and even better kids.”

Overall, Firestone compiled a 7-15 record for the season, including a 6-6 mark in the City Series, where the Falcons finished in fourth place.

“It was frustrating to not have the height to always be able to match up, but these kids always gave 100 percent,” the coach said. “I couldn’t question anything about their effort, because they hustled their butts off in practice and they hustled their butts off in the games. They gave me everything they had, but we just didn’t have the size to match up with a lot of teams.”

According to Milo, defense was the team’s top strength this season.

“We beat some good teams behind our defense,” he said. “We beat some good teams and the win against Revere was real big because they’ve got a good ball club.”

Firestone’s leading scorer this year was senior Tre’Maine Gray, who averaged a double-double.

“He averaged 25 points and about 10 rebounds a game,” the coach said. “Basically, he carried us, because the way Tre’Maine went is the way the team went. He was the City Series player of the year, which is a pretty big honor considering there are some really good kids in the league. He’s getting some good looks [from colleges].”

Milo said Gray and senior guard Ricky Evans were the team’s leaders this year.

“The way they practiced and the way they played, they gave it their all. They brought the energy and the hustle, and that’s why they were our leaders. When they hustled, the whole team followed them,” the coach said. “Ricky was hot and cold shooting-wise, but energy-wise he was always there. And I could always count on him on defense. He loves basketball and he’s a great kid.”

The team’s leading rebounder this season, Milo said, was junior Justin Moore.

“He was my 6-foot center. He’s one heck of a football player and he’s also one heck of a good basketball player,” the coach said. “Justin had a couple of 18-rebound games and was just tough in the middle. He led the team in charges and just played so hard overall.”

Rounding out this year’s starting lineup were a pair of seniors: guard Javuani Jones and forward Denzel Robinson.

“Juvi was a first-year starter and good ball handler. He basically ended up playing point guard and he did everything I asked of him. He hustled, distributed the ball very well and was a good passer,” Milo said. “And Denzel gave 100 percent every game. There were games where he was totally exhausted at the end, but he just helped so much. He got rebounds, hit the open shot and knew how to distribute the ball.”

The key players off the bench this season were junior guards Perrion Johnson and Taylor Mack.

“Those are two guys I’m going to depend on next year,” the coach said. “Perrion is smooth, smart and fast. He’s a good ball handler and he gets to the hole faster than a lot of people. Taylor is tall and thin and also a very good shooter. He has good basketball knowledge and we’re just looking for him to get a little stronger. They both helped us whenever they got into the game.”

Milo said the first thing he will be looking for from Moore, Johnson and Mack next season is leadership.

“Hopefully, they learned from Tre’Maine and Ricky that you have to come every day and play hard. That’s the best way,” he said. “We’ll have some kids coming up from [junior varsity] that are big and talented. They’re going to help us and those three will have to be the leaders next season as seniors.”

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