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Falcons eager to meet Cowboys on the court again

November 28, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The 2018/2019 high school basketball season will begin in Austintown when Fitch rekindles its longtime relationship with Chaney.

When those two schools square off on the hardwood on Nov. 30 it will mark the first time these rivals have met since December 2010. If the Falcons want to make this reunion a special one they will need to have a few new players step up their game.

"We have two more scrimmages left," said Fitch head coach Brian Beany about 10 days before that season opener with the Cowboys. "During that time we will try to find a rotation because we're not sure of a rotation right now. We will also need to work on the things we're not good at and continue to get better at the things we are good at."

Not having a set rotation may not actually be a bad thing for Beany. According to the veteran coach, he has as many as a dozen boys that are talented enough to play significant roles. Eight of those kids are seniors, but Beany isn't looking at class rank as a deciding factor on who gets the most minutes.

"Just because you're a senior it doesn't mean you'll play," Beany said. "We've replenished our roster with a lot of younger guys."

Two seniors who are shoe-ins for the starting five are returning letter winners A.J. Green and Tommy Leskovac. Green is a 6-foot-5 forward who really cemented his status as one of Fitch's go to guys during his junior year. Leskovac stands 6-foot-2 and will side with Green up front. Together they are one of the best forward tandems in the All American Conference. Junior guard Kris Brown also lettered as a sophomore and should be the third part of this lethal combination.

"They are our returning letters and the guys we'll be counting on the most," Beany said.

Seniors Cory Vernon, Deondre McKeever, Stevie Woodberry and Israel Jusino are four more Falcons that Beany will rely upon to help make an impact.

"We know these kids can play," said Beany.

Fitch also has the fortune of getting guard Lorenzo Russo back in the fold this season. The junior missed his sophomore season due to suffering a pair of knee injuries. Russo's role should be more defined once he gets some of the rust off of him.

Todd Simons is a 6-foot-3 guard that played a lot of varsity as a freshman. He will lead a quartet of sophomores that will all vie to take time away from the upperclassmen. Point guard Reuben Talley, guard Nate Leskovac and guard Tyrese Bandy are the other three tenth-graders that have impressed Beany in camp.

"We have a pretty good sophomore class," said Beany. "Our whole group is pretty instinctive and pretty athletic. They have some skill and can read and react well."

While the Falcons had to say farewell to a good number of seniors who shined a season ago, their coach feels as if a lot of teams in the AAC are in the same boat. Once the division games get going in earnest after the holidays, Beany believes the race for the top spot in the conference will be wide open.

"It's up for grabs," Beany said. "Nobody is a favorite. It makes this season very exciting."

So far the preseason has been exciting for the Falcons. The coach hopes all of the work that his group has put in since July pays off once that tipoff against the returning Cowboys commences.

"We had a really nice summer league, but you take that with a grain of salt," said Beany. "We did get to see what we're made of and we're starting to put things together. It should be a fun season."



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