The annual City of Palms Classic begins Thursday and there is no shortage of intrigue as 17 elite high school basketball teams head to Fort Myers, Fla., to vie for the nation’s most prestigious in-season tournament title.
Five teams nationally ranked by MaxPreps this week will be in the field and two of those will carry winning streaks of over 40 games into the event.
Here’s a look at the field and what to watch for in Fort Myers:
Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa.), Bentonville (Ark.), Florida Air Academy (Melbourne, Fla.), No. 12 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), North Port (Fla.), Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.), Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), No. 5 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.), Trinity (Louisville, Ky.), Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio), Webster Groves (Mo.), No. 14 Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), No. 16 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), Whitney Young (Chicago)
North Port vs. Webster Groves, winner meets Mater Dei
Wesleyan Christian Academy vs. Whitney Young
Bentonville vs. Wheeler, winner meets Paul VI
Florida Air Academy vs. Riverside Academy, winner meets St. Francis
Montverde Academy vs. Wayne
Sierra Canyon vs. Trinity
Archbishop Carroll vs. Oak Ridge
Info on Two of the Top Five teams in the Tourney….
1. Montverde Academy bidding for three-peat
Ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps, Montverde Academy could become the first team in City of Palms Classic history to win the event three years in a row. 247 Sports’ top-ranked senior prospect Ben Simmons and the Eagles (7-0) own a 41-game win streak.
3. Wesleyan Christian Academy out to make a statement
USA Today has Wesleyan Christian Academy ranked No. 2 nationally (No. 14 this week by MaxPreps) and the Trojans certainly have the talent to make a run. But with juniors Harry Giles, Brandon Childress and Kwe’Shaun Parker leading the way, the North Carolina powerhouse might be a year away from a tournament win this big. Wesleyan opens against a COP veteran in defending Illinois Class 4A champion Whitney Young (Chicago).