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High school notebook: Buchtel hosts Firestone in City Series boys basketball game tonight

By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer

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Buchtel and Firestone renew their City Series rivalry on the basketball court tonight in an intriguing matchup.

The Griffins (3-0, 3-0) will host the Falcons (5-1, 4-0) at 7 p.m. in a boys game that features the final two undefeated teams in the league.

Firestone defeated Buchtel 74-65 and 77-63 last season, but the Falcons ultimately finished as City Series runners-up to East in the regular season and in the playoffs.

“We have been thinking about those games since last year,” Buchtel senior Demonte Hicks said. “They really beat us bad twice. We have not forgot that. That is in the back of our heads. All the players, coaches and fans are looking forward to playing this game.”

Hicks joins senior Tyler Jones, senior Elijah Bell, junior Tre Smith and sophomore Deric Rucker in Buchtel’s starting lineup. Griffins coach Stephen White relies on a 12-man rotation that includes senior reserve Erron Cosey to pressure opponents.

“I think we have a different mentality, and we are a different basketball team than last season,” White said. “Firestone is a good team.”

Firestone coach Dave Milo has a starting lineup that has undergone changes. He said his top six players right now are seniors Jerome Lane, Kevin Gladney and Chaz Brantley along with juniors Evan Kennerly, JaeQuan Jones and Richard Burroughs.

‘‘Obviously Buchtel is a good team,” Milo said. “They are very athletic and very talented. I wish we didn’t play them right now. I would like to have a little more time to practice and prepare, but I think we will be ready. We will have to play our best and not turn the ball over. We are really looking forward to it. It is a game the guys mark on the calendar.”

The ‘1040 Classic’

Buchtel will host the second annual “1040 Classic Fundraiser” at 5 p.m. Saturday at 1040 Copley Rd.

The event will feature a Buchtel alumni basketball game. Tickets are $3 for students under age 18 and $7 for adults.

Mentality change

The North girls basketball team entered Thursday with a 2-4 overall record after posting a 1-19 mark last season.

Vikings first-year coach Kenny Thomas, 28, said changing the mentality and personality of the team were his main objectives.

“We outwork every team that we play against,” Thomas said. “I like to think of it as we are changing the look of the North Lady Vikings program. We play all out, all the time.”

North defeated Garfield and East this season after beating only Buchtel last season.

Junior Sabria Meadows (17.5 points per game) and senior Keishawnna Burts (7.5 steals per game) have emerged as North’s top players. Burts has a 4.0 grade-point average, and Meadows has a 3.8 GPA.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.