Defending champion Providence leads star-studded field
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After winning the inaugural event, The Providence School returns to defend its title as the field for the second annual Fortegra High School 9:12 Invitational Presented by The CSI Companies was released on Wednesday.
“We have a tremendous field for our second event, giving the best teams in the area a chance to showcase their programs on a big stage,” said Alan Verlander, Founder and CEO of Airstream Ventures. “The response to this event from the basketball community has been amazing. We look forward to another a great event and appreciate all of our partners making it possible.” Put on by the Jacksonville High School 9:12 program through Airstream Ventures, northeast Florida’s premier high school boys basketball tournament features a strong field again – including the top three teams in the Gateway Conference in 2019. Joining the Stallions in the tournament are Fletcher, First Coast, Mandarin, Paxon, Ponte Vedra, West Nassau, and host school Episcopal.
“Fortegra is excited to be the title sponsor of this great event again this year,” said Mike Grasher, Chief Financial Officer at Fortegra. “This field for the tournament is strong and we expect a great weekend of competition highlighting the best high school basketball in our area.”
Providence returns after running through the three games to claim the title, defeating First Coast, Bolles, and Bishop Kenny.
“It’s great for us to play in a tournament in our city against the best competition on a big stage,” said Providence head coach Jim Martin. “We’ve played in tournaments around the country and this continues to grow into a major event with the caliber of teams playing in it this year.”
West Nassau is led by junior Dallan Coleman, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who averaged 22.6 points, 4.1 assists, and 7.4 rebounds a game last year. Coleman is ranked 23rd in the country by ESPN.com, 30th by Rivals.com and 41st by 247Sports. Naseem Khalid leads First Coast in the event this year. The 6-foot-2 Florida State commit is projected as a four-star recruit thanks to being ranked as the eighth best point guard in the country. He is joined by Tyree Saunders, a 6-foot-1 guard who is a star on the football team that has already committed to South Florida.
Coming off a trip to the Final Four last season, Paxon looks to make a big splash again this year led by all-Gateway Conference performers Isaiah Adams and Michael Caswell.
Mandarin returns five seniors from last year’s team that won its district in Class 9A en route to a trip to the regional semifinals, led by Alexander Schwenke and William Spriggs.
Episcopal will be the host school for a second year looking to improve off its trip to the semifinals in the inaugural event. The Eagles will use an inside-outside attack led by Max McQuiddy and Mark Flakus.
For more information on the event and how you can get tickets, including courtside seats that include food and drinks, visit the High School 9:12 website.