FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2019) – No Southwest Florida holiday season is complete without a special gift of tickets to the nation’s top high school basketball tournament – the Culligan City of Palms Classic. Tickets are selling fast for the 47th annual event featuring the country’s top teams and players set for Dec. 18-23 at 3,500-seat Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College.
Ticket packages range from $260 for a six-day preferred ticket behind the team benches to $138 for a six-day reserved ticket courtside. Single-day reserved tickets are $32 and $27 each, while a general admission ticket is $17 and $22. A six-day parking pass close to the arena is $65. Visit cityofpalmsclassic.com to buy tickets and for tournament information.
A ticket buys a fan the opportunity to see the nation’s two top-ranked teams, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). They headline a lineup of 16 teams from nine states in the main draw.
IMG makes a return trip to the holiday event after reaching the quarterfinals a year ago, while Montverde is back after a two-year absence. Both are loaded with talent, with IMG featuring Duke commit Jalen Johnson, ranked No. 4 in ESPN’s top 100, and Montverde’s Cade Cunningham, the No. 2 ranked player who has committed to Oklahoma State.
The main draw also features hometown Fort Myers, Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.), Briarcrest Christian (Memphis, Tenn.), Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.), Sanford (Hockessin, Del.), Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), Gonzaga Prep (Washington, DC), O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.), Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), Riverview (Sarasota, Fla.), Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.), Marshall County (Benton, Ky.) and Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.).
A ticket brings you more excitement with star power in the Signature Series and Sunshine Series brackets of the tournament. Taking to the court for Signature Series games will be St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.), West Oaks (Orlando, Fla.), Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.). The Sunshine Series will have Charlotte (Punta Gorda), Lakewood (St. Petersburg), Evangelical Christian School (Fort Myers), Seminole (Sanford), Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale), and Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens).
There also will be a game in honor of a legendary college and high school coach. The Hugh Thimlar Tribute Game will feature hometown Lehigh Senior High School and Venice High School on Monday, Dec. 23. As coach of then-Edison Junior College, Thimlar created a junior college national powerhouse over 26 seasons. He also founded the City of Palms tournament, called the News-Press Christmas Basketball Tournament, in 1973.
Another tournament highlight: The 2009-10 Fort Myers boys basketball team, which became the first Lee County boys team to win a state high school basketball championship, will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 21.
About the Culligan City of Palms Classic
Founded in 1973, the City of Palms tournament began, like so many tournaments today, as a simple, local holiday basketball tournament. Over the years, the tournament grew and expanded its scope to include the nation’s finest athletes and teams, and during the past 25 years, it has set the standard by which all tournaments are compared. Classic Basketball Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation created for the purpose of managing the Culligan City of Palms Classic. For more information and to sign up for the eNewsletter, visit cityofpalmsclassic.com.