Providence wins Fortegra H.S. 9:12 Invitational

Stallions led by tournament MVP Ahren Freeman's 22 points, 14 rebounds

By Matt Kingston - Sports photographer/producer

The Providence basketball team won the inaugural Fortegra High School 9:12 Invitational in 2018. The event is returning this year, with the Stallions back to defend their title.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Providence Stallions head coach Jim Martin told News4Jax that he thinks senior forward Ahren Freeman is the best player in the city.  

After Freeman's performance in the Fortegra H.S. 9:12 Invitational, there should be few that don't agree.

His 22 points and 14 rebounds led the Stallions to a 66-27 win over Bishop Kenny in the championship game on Saturday seen on CW 17 and

Bishop Kenny hung around in the first 16 minutes, ending the half with a Jack Peeler jumper that just beat the buzzer to cut the Providence lead to just 9.  However, the Stallions began the second half on a 20-0 run to put the game away for good.

At one point in the 2nd half, Freeman equaled the Crusaders total after his lay up to made the score 50-20. But the University of New Orleans commit says that wasn't the game plan tonight.

"Gameplan was just to keep the ball moving and basically get everybody open looks throughout the whole game," said Freeman.  "Every time I got the ball they would double and triple team me and I would kick it out.  Once they stopped doing that, that's when I went to work.  That's what really turned it up for us in the second half."

Head coach Jim Martin has coached many great players in his two decades at Providence, including four players currently playing division one basketball right now.  He says that Freeman has a chance to be the best of them all.

"He is a special player.  He impacts the game in so many areas," said Martin, who is 18 wins shy of 500 for his career. "He rebounds, he defends, he can handle it, he can pass it, he can shoot inside, he is a strong kid, he can step out and shoot it, and he's able to kick it out and knock down a three."

After hoisting the championship trophy, Martin didn't spend too much time celebrating the victory.  He was already moving on to the next game, but did not discount how much this win can mean down the road.

"This was huge but we have to focus on getting better every day. Next week we have three really big games in a national tournament down in Ocala.  We open up with a powerhouse school from Wisconsin, so we have a tough schedule. I don't think we can step back and relax, we have to get better every day."  

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