It’s game on for the Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop.
Worsening winter weather took a toll on most area boys basketball teams on Friday, which resulted in multiple postponements. Not affected was Friday’s Flyin’ doubleheader opener. As usual, host Fairmont began play, this time against upstart SPIRE Institute of Geneva, Ohio, at Trent Arena in Kettering.
The nightcap featured national prep powers Findlay Prep (Nevada) vs. Huntington Prep (West Virginia). That game was loaded with NCAA Division I recruits, including Bol Bol of Findlay, Manute’s 7-foot-2 son who recently signed with Oregon.
This is the 16th consecutive year that Flyin’ has been held in the Dayton area. It was creator Eric Horstman’s dream to pair outstanding small and big school area programs against top talent throughout Ohio along with a blend of national caliber teams.
“In some ways, it’s easier (since the beginning) and in some ways it’s harder,” Horstman said. “The easier part is we have a lot of teams to pick from. The harder is deciding which teams do come down. We know what to expect. Our sponsors and volunteers are like family and even the fans now know what to expect. In most ways it’s easier, but don’t think I’m not stressed.”
The annual midseason event will feature 38 teams and 20 games during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend and through Monday. Six more games will be played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All of the games are expected to be played at their scheduled time and day.
• Saturday’s best individual matchup will be Princeton’s Darius Bazley vs. Jerome Hunter of Pickerington North. Bazley, 6-8, originally committed to Ohio State but instead signed with Syracuse after Thad Matta resigned as the Buckeyes coach. Hunter, 6-6, was lured to Indiana by former Dayton coach Archie Miller.
• Tippecanoe (11-1) will play Springboro (9-3) in a girls game to open Saturday’s session at 11:30 a.m. Tipp lost last week 54-53 at Versailles, which is ranked No. 2 in the state in Division III and was the D-III state runner-up last season.
• Horstman said more than 40 Flyin’ alums have played in the NBA and countless others have played basketball professionally overseas. There have been three overall NBA No. 1 draft picks: Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep) by the Cavaliers in 2014; Anthony Bennett (Findlay Prep) by the Cavs in ’13 and Anthony Davis (Chicago Perspectives Charter) by the Pelicans in ’12.
Among the Flyin’ alums who have played in the NFL are Ohio State products Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati Taft/Bills) and Jalin Marshall (Middletown/Jets), and Indiana’s Cody Latimer (Jefferson/Broncos).
• Dunbar graduate Chris Jackson was awarded the $1,000 River Valley Credit Union Flyin’ scholarship last year. A freshman guard at Urbana University, Jackson is averaging 7.1 points for the Blue Knights.
• All reserved tickets have been sold out. General admission tickets are $18 and are good for all of that day’s games.
SATURDAY’S FLYIN’ GAMES
All at Fairmont’s Trent Arena, Kettering
Springboro vs. Tippecanoe girls, 11:30 a.m.
Olentangy Liberty vs. Xenia, 1:15 p.m.
Hilliard Bradley vs. SPIRE Institute (Ohio), 3 p.m.
Pickerington North vs. Princeton, 4:45 p.m.
McEachern (Ga.) vs. Trotwood-Madison, 6:30 p.m.
IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Prolific Prep (Calif.), 8:15 p.m.