Three members (second row) of the Ball family: LaVar (left), wife Tina and middle son LiAngelo. Prolific Prep defeated Spire Academy 94-59 in Flyin’ to the Hoop at Trent Arena on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Flyin’ to the Hoop produces another most memorable moment

LaMelo Ball and Spire Academy took top billing, but it was his father LaVar Ball who stole the show.

»» FLYIN’ GAME 19: Trotwood vs. Pick Central

»» RELATED: Boys state hoop polls

That was evident from the moment LaVar took a break from mugging with fans and stepped into the arena, arms outstretched in touchdown mode and encouraging a greater crowd roar. Fairmont’s home court was packed for the 1:15 p.m. game between Spire and Prolific Prep (Calif.). The upper level track was 2-3 deep with onlookers who couldn’t find a seat. The over/under was a conservative 4,000.

“I don’t think we could have legally put another person in Trent Arena,” Flyin’ founder Eric Horstman said. “That’s got to be the biggest crowd Trent Arena has ever had. Kudos to the school, my volunteers and the city. For that many people in this environment, we handled the situation really well. The only people who didn’t come to play (on Monday) was Spire.”

»» FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton

»» TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

Prolific Prep won, 94-59. Afterward, fans raced to mingle with the Balls as they left. Much of that was recorded for their Facebook reality show “Ball in the Family.”

“Obviously, it puts a different pulse and heart rate on the day,” said Fairmont Athletic Director Chris Weaver.

The four-day midseason basketball hoopfest was another rousing success. That’s despite a snow and ice storm that prevented unbeaten and top-ranked Carroll girls playing defending state champ Minster on Saturday and a leaky roof on Monday.

»» FLYIN’ GAME 17: Cin. Hughes vs. Cleveland Heights

»» FLYIN’ RESULTS: All games at Trent Arena

Horstman and his Sports Image marketing company and the City of Kettering maintain the event generates nearly $2 million into the local economy.

“A lot goes into a long four days,” Weaver said. “Eric and his team do a nice job of organizing what I would consider the front of the house and we’ve got a great staff working behind the house. It worked out well.”

Horstman said the buzz the Balls created adds to the Flyin’ mystique. Teams already are requesting spots in the 2020 lineup.

“It added something else unique that we can talk about for years to come,” said Horstman.

»» FLYIN’ GAME 16: Marion Local vs. Cardinal Stritch

»» FLYIN’ PHOTOS: Friday’s Day 1

• Named to the all-tourney team were area players Ryan Hall (Fairmont) and Samari Curtis (Xenia). There were joined by Jaden Springer (IMG Academy), Nimari Burnett (Prolific Prep), Terry Armstrong (Bella Vista Prep) and Meechie Johnson (Garfield Heights).

• There were numerous college coaches in attendance on Monday. All the immediate area programs were represented, including Dayton, Wright State and Miami. Also in attendance was Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, a frequent attendee.

»» FLYIN’ GAME 15: Ball in the Family a Flyin’ hit

»» FLYIN’ GAME 14: Thurgood Marshall vs. Pace Academy (Ga.)

»» FLYIN’ GAME 13: Wayne vs. Garfield Heights

»» FLYIN’ GAME 12: Bella Vista Prep vs. ISA at Andrews Orborne

»» FLYIN’ GAME 11: Lebanon vs. Cin. Winton Woods

»» FLYIN’ GAME 10: Minster vs. Convoy Crestview

»» FLYIN’ GAME 9: CJ vs. Akron Buchtel

»» 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’ GAME 2: IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Huntington Prep (W.Va.)

»» FLYIN’ GAME 1: Fairmont vs. Crestwood Prep (Ont.)

»» FLYIN’: Here comes the “traveling circus”

»» RELATED: Butler undone by early Trotwood blitz

»» PHOTOS: Butler at Trotwood-Madison boys basketball

»» RELATED: “Twin Towers” a good fit at Tri-Village

»» PHOTOS: Covington at Tri-Village girls basketball

»» RELATED: “It’s our time” for Carroll girls basketball

»» PHOTOS: Carroll at Alter girls basketball

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