JACKSONVILLE, Florida (December 10, 2018) – The first Fortegra High School 9:12 Invitational Presented by The CSI Companies (www.jaxhighschool912.com/basketball-invitational) places a new focus on Jacksonville-area high school boys basketball and academics when the event tips off on Thursday.
The three-day, 12-game competition among Bishop Kenny, Bolles, Episcopal, First Coast, Orange Park, Ponte Vedra, Providence and Ribault begins Thursday at 12:30 p.m., at the Episcopal School (4455 Atlantic Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207) and includes live radio and television coverage for an eight-team field that has won a combined 12 state championships and has two coaches who are among the all-time winningest in the area and Florida. General admission tickets range from $8-15 and can be purchased in advance (www.jaxhighschool912.com/store).
The overlying emphasis of the Invitational is the High School 9:12 program, launched by Airstream Ventures in October to aid all students in academics, life skills development and athletic awareness.
“We are excited to create this program that will help all of the students in Duval County,” said Alan Verlander, Founder and CEO of Airstream Ventures, a new sports and entertainment firm, and a member of Bolles’ 1988 and 1989 state Class 2A basketball title teams. “With the three pillars – life, academics and sports – our focus is to make an impact with the high school students through these three areas to increase opportunities and allow the children of Jacksonville to achieve their dreams.”
The life pillar will focus on engaging the students in extracurricular activities to increase life skills for after graduation. High School 9:12 will work with Jacksonville non-profits to help further their mission in the local schools, such as Marathon High – which takes students from no running experience and trains them to run the 26.2 with Donna. Another feature of the life program is creating internship opportunities with corporate partners to develop a pipeline for future employees.
“This is about sports, this is about academics, and this is about giving kids skills when they’re out of the classroom and off the field,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
Here are some features of the Invitational for this week:
- Current records: The eight schools have a combined record of 28-12 in games so far this season (though last weekend), including unbeaten marks by Bolles (6-0) and Bishop Kenny (3-0). Providence is 5-1, with the only loss coming at USA Today national No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) on Dec. 1.
- State titles: Bolles (1952, 1988, 1989, 2016) and Ribault (1989, 1990, 1994, 1995) lead the way with four state titles each (and they meet in Thursday’s opening day nightcap at 8 p.m.). Providence has won three state championships (2010, 2013, 2015). Bishop Kenny won its state crown in 1957.
- Coaching wins: Two coaches have already cemented their place in coaching lore. Ponte Vedra coach Bud Beech, in 35 years in St. Johns County, is 530-382 through last weekend’s play – at Nease where he won the 2002 state championship and at Ponte Vedra since 2008. Providence coach Jim Martin holds a 484-95 record entering the Invitational. In his 19th season at Providence, Martin has produced multiple Division I college players, most notably former Duke star and current NBA Utah Jazz rookie Grayson Allen.
- TV-Radio: All games on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on the News4Jax App. The Friday semifinals will be shown on tape delay Saturday by CW17 prior to the championship game live on CW17. All evening games Thursday and Friday and the Saturday 7 p.m., Championship Game will be broadcast live on 1010XL-AM.
Invitational bracket: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/17c5ba_f927df3dfeea4db4a6f482a924b5dea8.pdf
Invitational Media Guide (with schedule, program overview, team profiles and rosters): https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/17c5ba_84f1019852df45d6924f64da77848c81.pdf