JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starting Thursday, some of our area’s best high school basketball players will begin to compete in the third annual Fortegra High School 9:12 Invitational presented by the CSI Companies.
They include Bartram Trail, Lee, Atlantic Coast, Episcopal, Camden County, West Nassau, Bolles and Fletcher. (See schedule and matchups at end of article.)
This year’s basketball tournament has a new venue -- Fletcher High -- and expanded broadcast coverage.
“We are excited to start some new traditions with this year’s tournament, thanks to Tammie Talley and the staff at Fletcher, with a new venue,” said Alan Verlander, Founder and CEO of Airstream Ventures and High School 9:12.
The game-day experience will be different this year at Fletcher, compared to the previous two years when the tournament was held at Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Capacity will be limited to 40% with just 530 tickets available for each game. Other safety measures will also be adopted to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
“We’ll be spraying down all the benches, all the seats in between games. We’ll be spraying down all the locker rooms,” explained Verlander. “Everyone who comes to the games will have to wear a mask, all the coaches and players. We are doing our best to make sure it is a safe environment for everybody.”
Fletcher boys basketball coach Brian Gilbert said his players are looking forward to competing on their home court and hopes it will give his team a slight advantage against the competition.
“Lee is a very tough team, Episcopal is a tough team, West Nassau is a tough team, I’m not sure that there is not a tough team in the tournament, so it’s going to be fun,” said Gilbert.
In terms of talent, the event includes two of the top players in the nation in West Nassau’s Deebo Coleman and Lee’s Alex Fudge. Coleman, a 6-6 shooting guard, is rated as the No. 34 in the nation by ESPN. Fudge, a 6-8 wing, is rated No. 57 by ESPN. He signed with LSU on Monday night. Coleman signed with Georgia Tech on Nov. 11.
Bolles’ Bobby Crouch (Babson College), Episcopal’s Mark Flakus (UNF), Bartram Trail’s Alijah Kuehl (University of San Diego) and Fletcher’s Zyhir Sims (uncommitted) are also in the field.
Broadcast coverage of the tournament has also been expanded. The championship game will be televised live at 7 p.m. Saturday on CW17. The third-place game will also air live at 4 p.m. that same day.
Radio coverage of the event on 1010XL begins live on Thursday, Dec. 10, from noon to 3 p.m. All four games on Friday and Saturday will be streamed on the News4Jax platform, as well as broadcast on 1010 XL.
If you would like to attend the games in person, tickets are $10 and can be purchased on the GoFan app or by clicking here: https://www.jaxhighschool912.com/