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Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 @ 11:27 PM
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Roni Toppin walked into the Lahaina Civic Center minutes before the opening tip between the Dayton Flyers and Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Hokies
Obi Toppin’s mom wore a Dayton jersey customized for her by a Dayton fan. It read “Obi 1 Kenobi” on the back and had a Star Wars patch on the front.
Roni got to watch her son score 24 points in an 89-62 victory in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, but the most amazing thing about the day wasn’t Toppin’s performance. It was the fact that Roni, accompanied by Obi’s godfather Victor Monaros and his fiancee, Taheerea Ah, made it to the game at all.
Obi Toppin’s mom Roni just arrived in Maui after a long day of travel from Jamaica where Jacob Toppin played with Rhode Island. A Dayton fan made this Star Wars-themed Jersey for her. pic.twitter.com/NPDLrxwIEt— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 27, 2019
They traveled from Jamaica, where they watched Obi’s brother Jacob play with Rhode Island, to New York City to San Francisco and finally to Maui, landing with just enough time to check into their hotel, drop their bags and drive to the arena. They knew it was going to be a close call, so they got dressed for the game during their layover in San Francisco.
“It was a tough 24 hours of travel,” Roni said.
“We’re tired, but it’s gone now,” Monaros said before the game. “Once you’re here, the adrenaline is pumping.”
Monaros said they watched Dayton beat Georgia on Monday while on the plane. Toppin scored 25 points in that game.
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“No headphones,” Roni said. “We were just yelling.”
“The whole plane was excited,” Victor said.
“We apologized after the game,” Roni said.
Monaros said they couldn’t watch one of the brothers without seeing the other. Jacob, a freshman, is averaging 6.3 points for the Rams, who went 2-1 at the Jamaica Classic.
“Jacob was the first,” Monaros said. “We had to make sure he’s doing what he needs to do because Obi’s going to take care of what he needs to take care of. Everything for him is straight business. He’s got to do whatever it takes to take the Dayton Flyers and the fan base to a higher level.”