The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

May 26, 2011

HSNCT Previews: The Contenders

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 11:58 am

The tournament is just a couple days away, which means that it is time to give my (probably very faulty) analysis on the top teams. These five have the highest chance of taking home a title, and all five of these have a good shot of winning it all, or at least making it to the finals.

(Note: The numbers in parentheses correspond to the rankings given in the HSQB poll and Fred Morlan’s rankings, respectively.)

State College (#1, #2):
Pros: They retain the entire team that finished 2nd at HSNCT last year and won NSC (the other high school national tournament). In April, they went to ACF Nationals, one of the collegiate national championships, and finished 13th place in a field of 28. They have a very balanced team, with all four players regularly contributing.
Cons: They have only played with their full team twice this year, and they have only played three tournaments on high school questions so far. While they are still probably favorites, they have yet to prove it against top-tier high school competition (with the exception of October’s ACF Fall tournament).
Prediction: 1st. I flip-flopped between the two teams a lot, but at the end of the day I believe that State College will pull off the championship.

LASA (#2, #1):
Pros: At Harvard Fall, they beat a three-man State College twice en route to winning the tournament. They have all but one of the team that got 3rd at HSNCT last year. They have proved their strength many times, beating powerhouses such as Dorman and Seven Lakes. As with State College, they have a very balanced team, meaning that if one player has a bad game, the team as a whole won’t suffer nearly as much.
Cons: It is hard to think of any cons for LASA. They have amazing talent and depth and are very competitive. It just remains a question as to whether they’re good enough to beat State College.
Prediction: 2nd. It’s a tough decision, but at the end of the day I don’t think that they’ll be able to overtake State College.

Maggie Walker (#3, #5):
Pros: Tommy Casalaspi is one of the best, if not the best, high school player in the nation. In addition, JR Roach can power pretty much every Current Events question that comes his way. They also have an ability to simply dominate teams, having won games earlier in the year by scores such as 800-0 and 810-(-5).
Cons: The relative lack of literature and fine arts in the HSNCT’s question distribution will hurt Tommy, as those categories are the main source of his points. Last year, his points per game took a dive, and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to put up his usual fare of very impressive stats here.
Prediction: 3rd. They have an incredible ability to score lots of points and they will go far. However, there are still a few teams that have the ability to stop them, and they will have to work hard if they want to repeat as champions.

Adlai Stevenson (#4, #4):
Pros: Kevin Malis is another player who could make a claim for best high school player in the country. At Loyburn, he averaged almost 10 powers per game. In addition, Zach Blumenfeld tends to excel at NAQT questions, so he will probably be just as valuable to the team. They have repeatedly beaten the likes of Auburn and Loyola, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t make a deep run into the playoffs again.
Cons: It seems that there are days when Kevin is legendary, and days where Kevin is merely great. They have also suffered defeats at the hands of Auburn, Detroit Catholic Central, and Seven Lakes. In addition, Zach will be a bit of a wildcard, as he just could not seem to make much of an impact on certain sets.
Prediction: 4th. They will most likely have an amazing duo in Kevin and Zach, but I don’t think I can place them too much higher because of their inconsistencies. Still, be prepared for them to make a run for the title.

Bellarmine (#5, #3):
Pros: They keep their entire team from their fourth-place finish at HSNCT last year that only lost to the three teams that finished higher than them. Despite not having their second-best scorer, they still managed to go undefeated at the two NAQT tournaments they have attended, routinely beating their closest competition Mission San Jose. In addition, they were able to put up about 20 PPB at the college-level ACF Regionals, just slightly less than what LASA was able to achieve.
Cons: They have only ever played one tournament with their full lineup, the aforementioned ACF Regionals. Their leading scorer, Nikhil, has only played in three tournaments this year. This lack of playing experience could cause trouble, and it makes them that much harder to predict.
Prediction: T-5th. Last year they came out of almost nowhere to get fourth, and signs are pointing to them going on a big run again. In addition, teams in the west tend to be underestimated, so it would not surprise me if they exceed their expectations.
Edit: I have been informed that Tanay, their second-leading scorer, is not attending. I still think they’ll do very well, though, but probably not 3rd place anymore.



  1. Bellarmine is missing Tanay here. I predict Dorman A places higher than them.

    Comment by Charlie Dees — May 26, 2011 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, I would say that Dorman would rank higher than Bellarmine now, though I think they might still reach the top 7.

      Comment by Harry — May 26, 2011 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  2. For full disclosure, it should be noted that we don’t have Tanay for HSNCT but will have Sameer, who is a freshman but is absurdly good.

    Comment by Nikhil Desai — May 26, 2011 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  3. Yeah, also what Charlie said.

    Comment by Nikhil Desai (Bellarmine) — May 26, 2011 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  4. How ya doin’ everybody?

    As a nunchuk master, I honestly think that these teams will put up some exciting battles. I think you shouldn’t count out Bellarmine ‘cuz La Femme Nikhil is the real deal. As for the other contenders, I think State College should probably be considered the favorite, although they would have to knock off the returning champs and mess with Texas. Big Kevin Malice will totally wreck some teams, but Adlai Stevenson didn’t beat Dwight Eisenhower and I don’t see them beating State College or LASA. Dorman is coached by one of the best in the business, Eric Huffington, who I will predict will post some major league upsets.

    One thing’s for certain–there will be blood.

    Comment by Jacques Moliere — May 27, 2011 @ 11:58 am | Reply

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