The original Firestone High School gymnasium hosted its final varsity boys basketball game Wednesday night.
Seniors Jaylin Moore and Raybon Lewis and their friends made sure the home team earned a win in the last hurrah of the facility that opened in Akron in 1962.
Moore and Lewis each scored in double figures to lead Firestone to a 74-61 victory over Nordonia in a Division I sectional semifinal.
Firestone (17-6) will play at Archbishop Hoban (17-5) in a sectional final on Saturday with a 7 p.m. tipoff. Nordonia concluded its 2015-2016 season at 4-19.
“It feels great to come out with a win in our last game in this gym,” Lewis said. “I will miss this gym. I have a lot of memories in this gym from freshman year to now.”
Firestone will move into its new building and gym in time for the upcoming school year.
Wednesday’s game had entertaining moments with some top-notch athleticism, and ugly moments in which each team shot poorly and was careless with the ball.
“What I like about tonight’s game is we did what we do every night — we come out, play as a team, get out and run, get fast-break points and we try to play defense to the best of our ability to help us win the game,” said Lewis, who had 17 points and six rebounds.
“What I didn’t like was our second half. We started off in the first half good. We were up 23-7 after the first quarter and 41-26 at halftime, and then we came out and had a slow third quarter and they pulled it within seven points [45-38]. It was just a battle from there.
“We were battling. Basically, in the third quarter we need to come out with more aggression, more enthusiasm and energy, and play defense together and play like how we played in the first half. I think we will be good for the rest of the tournament.”
Moore led the Falcons with 21 points and six steals. Senior Kylan Richburg totaled 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks, junior Tre’Maine Gray finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and senior Isreal Spear had five points, seven rebounds, five steals, five assists and three blocks.
“I knew Nordonia was going to come out hard because it is do or die,” Firestone coach Dave Milo said. “If you lose, you go home. They have three really good shooters and we knew that. I don’t think our intensity was up for this game. I know we can play a lot better. I still like our defense, but I know it will be a little better on Saturday.
“The last three games we looked so good. Tonight, there were times where we were in a funk. We didn’t look like the usual Firestone team. We were in a zone in the City championship game against Buchtel. We played great against Green, and then against Lake we played the best we have played. Lake is a great team and we came out and played hard. We need that intensity Saturday.”
Junior Mike Piotrowski paced Nordonia with 15 points Wednesday, and junior Ryan Smith had 12 points and seven rebounds for Knights coach Kirk Culler.
Juniors Ricky Evans and Jordan Jones and senior Bryce Obeng each scored three points for Firestone, which beat Nordonia 74-45 in the regular season on Dec. 29.
“It felt really good playing in the gym one final time where all of the alumni played, and seeing that a lot of them came out to watch us play tonight felt great,” Moore said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.