The opening eight minutes of Friday night’s boys basketball game at Firestone belonged to East.
Firestone made sure the final 24 minutes were different.
The Falcons replaced turnovers with points, and rallied from behind to defeat the Dragons 72-62 in the City Series opener for each team.
Senior Evan Kennerly scored 19 points and sophomore Raybon Lewis added 16 points to lead the host Falcons (3-1, 1-0) over the Dragons (0-2, 0-1).
East led 24-12 after one quarter, 38-33 at halftime and 50-47 following three quarters. Firestone came back behind the play of Kennerly, Lewis and three guards.
“We had to slow the tempo down,” Kennerly said. “In the first half, we had (14) turnovers. That is unacceptable. We just slowed the game down and cut down on the turnovers.”
Firestone finished with 23 turnovers and 49 rebounds. East committed 14 turnovers and grabbed 31 rebounds.
East junior Derik Lewis scored 22 points and had five steals. Dragons senior Kenyon Philpott totaled 13 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and six steals. Both players are 5-foot-9 and were scrappy all evening for coach Joe Wojcik.
Raybon Lewis, who is a 6-foot-5 forward, also had 16 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Firestone. He tipped an East pass near mid-court with around two minutes to go in the third quarter and dribbled the ball down the floor to complete a powerful right-handed slam dunk. The play started a 21-7 scoring run for the Falcons, which went from trailing 48-42 to leading 63-55.
“I am just stepping up, playing with heart and being aggressive,” Lewis said. “I am doing what I gotta do for the team.”
Kennerly, who is a 6-foot-3 forward, scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half. He grabbed 12 rebounds in the game.
Derik Lewis made four 3-pointers in the first half for 12 points. He was scoreless in the third quarter and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Firestone outscored East 25-12 in the fourth quarter. Senior guards Andre Simmons and JaeQuan Jones played effectively in the final eight minutes for Firestone along with junior guard Kyrell Allen.
Simmons finished with 13 points and Jones had nine points, five rebounds and five assists. Allen scored seven points, all in the second half.
“East played very good pressure defense and we weren't ready for that in the first half,” Firestone coach Dave Milo said. “In the second half, we came out and made adjustments and the kids played hard.”
Senior center Miles Kirk had five points, four rebounds and four assists for Firestone. Junior forward Davoris Allen chipped in three points and six rebounds.
East freshman guard Jemarulin Suggs scored nine points and junior forward Treyuan Bell added eight points and seven rebounds.