42 teams were on hand to contest a Varsity and Junior Varsity title at Manheim Township in Lancaster last Saturday. It was a fun, breezy day, enjoyed by students and staff alike. As is always the case with MTHS tournaments, it ran just about flawlessly and students got to go home with a quality tournament in record time.
Southeast PA has seen a chaotic season at the top, with many teams getting tournament victories. This time, it was Penn Manor‘s turn to take home the first place trophy. While never down as far as in their legendary comeback to take 3rd at last year’s iteration of the tournament, Penn Manor trailed by 105 points at half time in the final. They stormed back, however, to clinch on tossup 19. Connor once again led a tournament in scoring with 148 points per game, which was more than forty above the nearest player. They were undefeated on the day. Great Valley A took second place behind yet another strong all around tournament. All four players scored between 27 and 44 points per game. They seem adroit all around the distribution, particularly history. Penn Manor seemed to be a better tossup team than bonus team, while GV was more equal across the two.
Great Valley almost has enough players for two A teams, as the B team finished just behind them and took 3rd. I continue to be impressed by how focused GV B plays, and for an ostensibly younger team, they are remarkably free from forced errors or mistakes. Henderson nabbed 4th place. They powered a bit less than normal this time, but overall are still a rock solid team, particularly on categories like current events and geography. Henderson’s Vijay had 83 points per game, good for 5th overall individually. Friends Select took 5th place, and led the tournament in bonus conversion. Indeed, in points per game, the top five were all basically on top of one another. It will be fascinating to see how these teams shake out and separate themselves come nationals.
6th place went to Hempfield. Their 45 powers was in line with the top teams, so they’re clearly in no rebuild to speak of after last year’s title team. The one-two punch of Carsten and Sebastian provided a lot of early buzzes. Otherwise in the playoff brackets of Varsity, Henderson B and Great Valley C tied for 7th, Mechanicsburg and Wilton from Connecticut took 9th, and Lancaster Mennonite and Emmaus A tied for 11th. I’m happy to see Mechanicsburg doing well, as this was their season debut. They showed a lot of promise last year when they did play, and it looks like those players have become quite formidable in the time since we’ve seen them. The other schools all looked strong, with points per bonuses in the 18+ range and several strong individual performances.
In Varsity consolation, we saw a variety of nice performances as well. Huntingdon had two teams play, and Andrew from Huntingdon B finished 4th overall in scoring for the tournament. Carver E & S A wowed with 20.5 points per bonus, which was nearly as high tournament champ Penn Manor. This suggests a bit of buzzer shyness; overcome that and they might threaten for the Philly City title this year. Central Dauphin braved the Varsity bracket at their very first pyramidal invitational, and did admirably, going 3-4 and making a nice 17/9 power to neg ratio. They have plenty of potential. Cedar Crest A, Bermudian Springs A, a house team, and several B-D teams rounded out the bracket.
In the JV bracket, Oxford A stormed through the competition undefeated, to win their first tournament in school history. Oxford was dominant on history and science especially, and they are absolutely now ready to graduate to Varsity play, just under a year from their first tournament. Chris’ 107.5 points per game on a 9/30/1 line was good for second overall in the JV division. Henderson C took second place. Cedar Crest B came in 3rd, and Delaware’s Tower Hill school finished in 4th. All of these schools acquitted themselves well, and had stats exceeding a few Varsity teams! Max from Tower Hill edged out Chris from Oxford by one point to lead the JV players in scoring, and Cedar Crest B’s Danny was the third scorer with 75 ppg.
Elsewhere, West York made their tournament debut and did swimmingly. I had the chance to read several games from them, and while there were a few new-team type mistakes, they also had a lot of good buzzes. They have potential to become a contender in South-Central PA. Speaking of, Waynesboro returned to action and also did well, going 6-1 overall on the day with several big wins over 200 points as well as a clutch five point win. Montgomery and Midd-West made the trek down from Northeastern PA and also had a number of good buzzes. With studying, the wins are sure to follow. The rest of the JV day was filled out with freshmen and sophomore players from stalwart schools who gained valuable buzzer experience.
This was a fun day, and once again, the hosts should be commended for a well run tournament. We wish all our readers happy holidays and a happy New Year, and we will resume play at Great Valley high school just after the start of 2020.