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After the late addition of LaMelo Ball, Spire Institute has taken the high school basketball scene by storm.
Upon his return to America, the youngest Ball brother linked-up with an already star-studded squad at Spire. Michigan State commit Rocket Watts and five-star prospect Isaiah Jackson were already at the program before Ball’s arrival.
Given his reputation as a prolific scorer from his sophomore year at Chino Hills (Calif.), people questioned how Ball would fit in with his new team at Spire. The answer: After seven games with his new teammates, things appear to be coming together rather quickly.
Spire remains undefeated after an 81-58 victory over LeBron James’s alma mater at St. Vincent-St. Mary on Monday.
The first quarter was a back-and forth affair with the score tied at 17. And the second quarter provided much of the same, with both teams recording just 13 points apiece to provide a 30-30 tie at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, Spire increased the pressure on defense which opened things up on the offensive side. Watts and Jackson especially made their presences felt in the second half. Watts attacked the rim in the open court and made several three-pointers from off-the-bounce and in catch-and-shoot situations. In the paint, Isaiah Jackson was dominant as his ferocious dunks were must-see TV.
Watts led the way for Spire with 27 points, followed by Jackson with 12 points, which all came in in emphatic fashion.
It was a somewhat quiet performance for Ball as he finished with just 9 points, but a second half fast break dunk and late corner three-pointer were critical in quieting a raucous SV-SM crowd.
Everywhere Spire plays, there’s always crowds of people anxious to see them. That was certainly the case last Thursday as the team faced off against Garfield Heights in Euclid, Ohio.
After news dropped of Ball’s arrival in Northeast Ohio, Garfield Heights head coach Sonny Johnson took to social media to offer a challenge to Spire about a potential game. Spire head coach Jermaine Jackson accepted that challenge at Ball’s introductory press conference. The stage was set for a showdown between Ball and Garfield Heights sophomore Meechie Johnson after the details were solidified.
People also lined the gym from wall-to-wall as LaVar Ball and son LiAngelo posed for pictures with excited fans. However, although there was plenty of excitement for the celebrities in the stands, the real show happened on the floor as Spire turned the game into a highlight reel. With camera crews following their every move, Spire showcased an ability to simply focus on basketball.
With the season still in its infancy, it will be interesting to see how this team continues to develop.