The Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop has a way of bringing out the best in teams. But not always.
“We were down here last year and we got embarrassed (71-43) by Prolific Prep,” recalled Meechie Johnson of Garfield Heights. “That didn’t get it.”
Johnson, a sophomore guard who has rocketed to Ohio’s A list among the Class of 2021 recruits, provided a sequence of game-ending highlights that are sure to go viral, if not already. That’s what happens to those gifted with crossover grace and closeout ability.
»» FLYIN’ GAME 12: Bella Vista Prep vs. ISA at Andrews Orborne
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The final was Garfield Heights 64, Wayne 62 in the last of six Flyin’ games at Trent Arena on Sunday night. How that happened is already the stuff of legend.
Garfield trailed 62-59 after Wayne’s Ronnie Hampton hit a free throw with 39 ticks left. Johnson took about five seconds to set up Wayne senior Bobby Cole on the wing. A crowd roar accompanied Cole tumbling backward into the lane after Johnson’s slight-of-hand magic. Then it went deafening after Johnson stepped back, took slow-motion aim and bottomed a 3-pointer.
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That drew the teams even at 62-all and just enough time for Wayne to get a final shot off. Instead, Johnson made a steal, raced the length of the court and finished with an uncontested layup for the go-ahead points.
Stunned, wide-eyed Wayne inbounded but couldn’t get a shot off as time expired.
“It was so crazy,” said Johnson, who tallied a game-high 26 points. “I’m just thinking about it now and I don’t really know what happened. I’m just blessed to be able to do that.”
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»» FLYIN’ GAME 9: CJ vs. Akron Buchtel
Ohio State already has made an offer to Johnson. Louisville and many others have shown keen interest. It also could be a midseason jump start for Garfield, which returns to its Cleveland home base at just 7-6 and multiple blowout losses.
It’s Wayne (7-7) that now will have future Flyin’ incentive. Cole hit three 3-pointers and led the Warriors with 20 points, only the third time he’s hit double digits. Tallice Landers added 13 points, Rashad McKee 12 and Hampton 11.
What’s wrong with Wayne? Four of the Warriors’ losses are by a combined 13 points. Wayne also is the only team to beat mighty Trotwood-Madison. All that adds up to a hard-luck team that has the second half of a season and the postseason to right itself.
»» FLYIN’ GAME 8: Stivers vs. Cin. Taft
»» FLYIN’ GAME 7: Springfield vs. Prolific Prep
»» FLYIN’ GAME 6: Huntington Prep vs. Bella Vista
»» FLYIN’ GAME 5: Centerville vs. Oak Ridge (Fla.)
»» FLYIN’ GAME 4: Crestwood Prep (Ont.) vs. Cin. Dohn Prep
»» FLYIN’ GAME 3: Xenia vs. First Love Christian (Pa.)
»» FLYIN’: Girls Sat. opener canceled
»» FLYIN’: Saturday’s Day 2 schedule adjusted
»» FLYIN’ PHOTOS: Friday’s Day 1
»» FLYIN’ GAME 2: IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
»» FLYIN’ GAME 1: Fairmont vs. Crestwood Prep (Ont.)
»» FLYIN’: Here comes the “traveling circus”
»» FLYIN’ SCHEDULE: All games at Trent Arena
»» WEATHER ALERT: Postponed varsity events
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