Premier Holiday Basketball Showcase starts Friday

This weekend there will be some high-level prep hoops coming to Gainesville.

The third annual Florida Get Down Holiday Basketball Showcase for high schools and post-grad teams starts on Friday. The tournament is directed by University of Florida basketball Hall of Famer Dan Cross and hosted by St. Francis Catholic Academy on Friday, Dec. 31, and Saturday, Jan. 1.

A total of 18 teams will participate during the two-day event. There will be eight games each day and includes area teams Buchholz, P.K. Yonge, Eastside, The Rock and the hosting Wolves.

“Our showcase committee has done a great job putting together a very competitive field of high school teams with talented players that are being recruited at the Division 1 and Division 2 level,” Cross said. “Proud to be able to showcase talent and provide opportunity for players to receive scholarships for higher education because of a skill set they possess.”

It will also feature three teams from Georgia, including Creekside Christian Academy from McDonough, which will finish Day One against Buchholz on Friday at 8 p.m.

The Bobcats went 2-1 at the Mainland (Daytona Beach) Christmas Tournament this week. They defeated St. Cloud on Monday, 75-53, and Kathleen (Lakeland), 77-68, on Wednesday, sandwiched around a loss to 7A West Orange (Winter Garden), 52-49, on Tuesday.

Cross, who played for the Gators from 1991-1995 and helped lead Florida to its first-ever NCAA Final Four in 1994, said the tournament is a chance to give back.

“This opportunity to host the Florida Get Down New Year’s Showcase means a lot to be able to come back to Gainesville and give back to the game and the community who once supported me,” Cross said. “I will always love the Gator Nation and this basketball showcase provides me the opportunity to be around the game in a healthy way. I greatly appreciate the support Gainesville and the University of Florida has shown me over the many years.”

The games begin on New Year’s Eve at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude with The Rock against King (Tampa) on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. The Lions (10-4) finished third at the Kreul Classic in Coral Springs two weeks ago. They are led by 5-star forward Ryan Jones, one of the top sophomores in the state.

To purchase tickets, visit FloridaGetDown.org.

Tournament schedule

Friday, Dec. 31

Clearwater International Academy vs. Potter’s House Post Grad, 9:30 a.m.

St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) vs. Strawberry Crest (Dover), 11 a.m.

P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) vs. Carrollwood Day (Tampa), 12:30 p.m.

West Nassau (Callahan) vs. Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta, GA), 2 p.m.

King (Tampa) vs. Potter’s House National (Jacksonville), 3:30 p.m.

Eastside (Gainesville) vs. Lake Worth, 5 p.m.

The Rock (Gainesville) vs. Augusta Christian (Martinez, GA), 6:30 p.m.

Buchholz (Gainesville) vs. Creekside Christian Academy (McDonough, GA), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 1

Oakleaf (Orange Park) vs. Feltrim Academy, 10 a.m.

St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) vs. Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta, GA), 11:30 a.m.

P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) vs. Strawberry Crest (Dover), 1 p.m.

Lake Worth vs. Potter’s House National (Jacksonville), 2:30 p.m.

Carrollwood Day (Tampa) vs. Creekside Christian Academy (McDonough, GA), 4 p.m.

Eastside (Gainesville) vs. West Nassau (Callahan), 5:30 p.m.

Buchholz (Gainesville) vs. Augusta Christian (Martinez, GA), 7 p.m.

The Rock (Gainesville) vs. King (Tampa), 8:30 p.m.

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