18 teams were on hand for Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School’s first-ever tournament, which occurred last Saturday. IS-190 was used as the set. Kudos go out to Coach Sommar and the folks at PALCS for running a smooth ship that was a bunch of fun to play as well as staff.
Great Valley high school dominated the day, with their A and B teams taking first and second place respectively. The A team ran the table undefeated, smashing 84 powers and only being seriously threatened by the B team. This team is rounding into form, and for the first time they looked like they had the “put-them-away” dominance a team needs to win states. They will go very far. The B team is right behind them, finishing with essentially the same points per bonus and 62 powers of their own. Their only loss was to their A team and they made a spirited comeback from down big to beat Friends Select by 15 to finish 2nd. Intriguingly, both teams had exactly 29 negs as well. This performance only further confirms GV is the deepest program in Pennsylvania right now.
Friends Select A seized 3rd place. This is also the best they’ve looked all year. Their A team core has improved, including Matt finishing 2nd in scoring for the tournament. Beyond that, a huge difference maker was Akilesh, who had several fantastic powers. While their season started slow, this lineup might be the one to take Friends Select back into the top five statewide, as they looked good all over the distribution. Trinity finished 4th, and continue to look sharp. They came closer to beating GV B than at Henderson in November, are notching more powers, and are doing better on bonuses. Oxford A took 5th. This is a team that seems stronger on housewrites than NAQT questions, but still has a lot of upside. They split with Trinity 1-1 on the day, and Chris led the tournament in scoring with 93.5 points per game. Maryland’s Quince Orchard high school finished sixth.
In the consolation brackets, Great Valley again dominated, with their C and D teams taking 7th and 8th. Downingtown STEM, which some feared would fade after the 2018-19 team graduated away, finished 9th behind a strong buzzer performance from Sashwat, who scored over 50 points per game. Carver HSES and Friends Select B made the middle bracket, and played a close game that went 260-210 in Carver’s favor. These two teams are likely going to be competing for the 3rd HSNCT qualifying spot at Philly City Champs in March, and that’s going to be an exciting game. Henderson “A” also made middle bracket, but this was more like their C team, so this was good experience as they continue to improve and get ready to take over after Vijay and Vikram graduate. The low bracket was filled out with additional B/C/D teams and two teams from C. Milton Wright high school in Maryland.
I read for several fantastic games this tournament, including close bouts between Carver A and FSS B, Trinity and GV B, and FSS A and GV B. The spirit and competitiveness of these students continues to impress. Next weekend holds two more tournaments: Allderdice Invitational in Pittsburgh and Big Lake Brawl at Wallenpaupack.