Flyin’ to the Hoop ready for takeoff

There will be an abundance of great moves during this weekend’s Good Samaritan Flyin’ to the Hoop basketball invitational. But the best will have been done behind the scenes of Fairmont High School’s Trent Arena.

“I don’t want to call myself the Mad Hatter, but we have definitely pulled some bunnies out of the hat the last couple of years,” admitted Flyin’ creator Eric Horstman.

That’s the kind of driven organizational mojo that separates Horstman’s annual boys basketball invitational from others. CBS Sports and Max Preps have labeled Flyin’ the No. 2 regular-season tourney in the nation.

The 11th annual event runs from today through Tuesday at the Trent. Nine states will be represented in 20 games, including many area teams.

First up is today’s doubleheader that is sell-out quality. Thurgood Marshall (9-0), the state’s No. 1 Division II team, is matched against Findlay Prep (Nev.) in the 6:30 p.m. opener. Findlay is one of five teams with a consensus national ranking and has six players who have signed D-I scholarships.

The nightcap features the nation’s No. 1 player, Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (W.Va.). Huntington’s opponent is La Lumiere (Ind.), which knocked out national power Oak Hill Academy (Va.) in a recent tourney.

College coaches are expected to flock to Trent for the chance to woo Wiggins, who remains verbally uncommitted.

There will be six more games each of the next three days. Tickets prices vary and can be purchased at the arena or online at flyintothehoop.com.

Horstman estimates the growing success of Flyin’ annually pumps $1.7 million into the local economy.

“I never could have imagined that it would have blossomed into what it is now,” he said. “It really is like that movie, Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come.”

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