Jacob Pipercic – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- On Wednesday the Lakewood Ranch Mustangs Varsity Basketball team was invited to play at the City of Palms Classic basketball tournament in Fort Myers, Florida.

The City of Palms Classic is one of Southwest Florida’s most exciting events and one of the most prestigious high school basketball tournaments in the nation. This tear marks the 45th anniversary of the tournament, featuring the nation’s highest ranked players and teams.

This year’s tournament will be held in the Suncoast Credit Union Arena at Florida Southwestern State College and will take place from December 18-23.

This is the first time Lakewood Ranch has been invited to play in the tournament and they are excited to go and compete on that level.

Boys basketball coach Jeremy Schiller said, “I was really excited for the team when I got the news. This invitation is also a big step for our program.  The team has worked very hard and this is a great opportunity for our guys to get exposure on a national level.

“I am excited to see how the team will play, but I think they will respond well to the tough competition. Based on how we played during the summer and this preseason, I don’t think they will be nervous, even though it is such a big tournament.”

Senior Damien Gordon said, “City of Palms is such a big tournament and I know the team was really excited to be invited. It’s especially cool because Lakewood Ranch is small in the basketball community compared to these other teams.”

He also thinks that this tournament will be different compared to other games. “I’ve played in some pretty big games in my past three years but I think this tournament is a little different. Because Lakewood Ranch is so small, the crowds at our game will be smaller.”

The Mustangs are scheduled to take on the Memphis East Mustangs of Memphis, Tennessee, who are the top ranked team in the nation.

Junior Brady Roberts said, “It’s a really cool experience to be invited to play in one of the biggest tournaments in the nation. It’s a huge honor for the whole team and just shows how hard we worked to get here.”

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