In December of 2017, The First Academy hosted the inaugural The City Beautiful Invitational. 16 teams visited campus from all over Central Florida and the nation, one coming from as far away as Centerville, Ohio. Over the course of the four-day tournament, the Orlando Sentinel was on-site reporting and Live streaming was available on the first and final day with professional commentators. The experience for players, coaches, and scouts was second to none with a VIP hospitality room offering refreshments throughout the event, professional in-game announcing, and the jumbotron providing daily matchup videos and sponsor information. All of the teams and coaches were invited to a luncheon catered by Outback Steakhouse with special guest speaker, Keith Tower, a former NBA player and current pastor.
The winner of the tournament was Centerville High School out of Centerville, Ohio. They won the tournament in a nail-biting double overtime game against Boone High School. Centerville also beat The First Academy in a double overtime win to land themselves in the championship game. TFA’s only loss in the tournament was to Centerville High School. The MVP of the tournament was Matt Pearce from Centerville High School. Ten players from different teams participating in the tournament won spots on the coveted “All Tournament Team,” and one of the ten was Elwood Tomlinson from The First Academy.
The tournament was blessed to have no athlete injuries while providing high-energy, down to the minute basketball. As we begin to plan for next year’s invitational, we look forward to bringing more talented athletes and teams to Central Florida for Orlando’s premier tournament. We hope to see you at this one-of-a-kind event next year!
The City Beautiful Invitational seeks to be the national premiere Holiday basketball tournament. The tournament will help better equip athletes with an opportunity to be recruited by colleges for collegiate basketball scholarships. Most importantly, the tournament seeks to share the Gospel and encourage the players to lead a life for Jesus.