2017 Ontario provincial results

Better late than never!

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First off, apologies that this is late, but I’m back from travel now.

The 2017 SchoolReach Ontario provincial championships were held last week in Scarborough. 39 teams competed for ten playoff spots, and those teams then played their Monday rounds to determine the provincial champion and the three Nationals qualifiers.

The University of Toronto Schools won the tournament, with Lisgar CI and Martingrove CI claiming second and third. My results with R-values have been uploaded. Congratulations to both the winners and all the participating teams.

I’ll start with the pools, which can be gleaned from the results graphic Reach provided. There was better balance than some years, with the two extremes of pool B averaging 293.9 PPG and pool E averaging 261.5 PPG. Pool B’s high numbers weren’t just from Lisgar’s massive haul of points; the rest of the pool averaged 259.8 PPG and Lisgar had the toughest strength-of-schedule of any of the five pool winners. Pool E lacked any of my pre-tournament “tier 1” teams, though UCC was, in retrospect, worthy of assuming the “tier 1” role for that pool. Pool E also had a weaker midfield than the other pools. That being said, the variations of strength-of-schedule were not outlandish, and getting 2 playoff teams from each pool is usually the ideal scenario.

There were a few impressive “just-misses”. Pool B had the 12th, 13th, and 14th ranked teams (Oakville Trafalgar HS, Banting SS, and Neil McNeil HS), all of whom had R-values in the range of playoff teams. St. Joseph’s (of the Windsor variety) came from completely off my radar to one spot short of the playoffs.

The ten playoff teams were not too surprising. In fact, they all were listed on my top 15 preview, and all but one were in my top 10 (I went with Centennial CVI instead of Assumption CSS, which is how the head-to-head match, but not the final ranking, ended up). From final rank upward:

  • Merivale (10th). Considering the struggles this teams has had just to exist this year, a playoff appearance is a good finish.
  • RSGC (9th). Their “legit” team came this time, but their performance was surprising. Considering how well they did last year at UTS and also in History Bowl, this finish is a headscratcher. The good news for them is that the team returns next year, so they should improve.
  • Westmount (8th). Their prelim upset over UCC gave them a top seed, but R-value predicted a first-round loss to Assumption. Still, a good showing from the school and they have a solid intermediate group that will join the main team in the future.
  • PACE (7th). They survived Pool B with the R-value to show for it. In fact, their first-round match with London Central only had a 0.5% difference between the two – essentially a coin-flip.
  • Assumption (6th). Their prelim win over UTS was a shock, but they racked up the points throughout the day to justify their second-round appearance. They obviously improved since regionals; they lost to OTHS in the Burlington-Oakville title showdown in March.
  • London Central (5th). Amazingly, 5th would be considered an off-year for Central. Their R-value of 134% was 4th overall, but closer to the bubble teams than the top group.
  • UCC (4th). UCC lost four playoff games and finished 4th, thanks to the “highest-scoring loser” rule. This also happened to Massey in 2005 and St. Brother Andre in 2014. Nevertheless, they pulled off the highest losing score against UTS in the first round and Lisgar in the second; that’s what makes their feat more impressive.
  • Martingrove (3rd). Martingrove benefited from the easiest strength of schedule, but they knew they needed to pile on the points to get a strong seed. Unfortunately, UTS was just too strong in the semifinal, but they recovered to pick up third place and a Nationals spot. They will go deep in the Nationals playoffs as well.
  • Lisgar (2nd). Their raw R-value of 181% is the highest on record for a provincial tournament, and unlike other high R-values in history, they didn’t have a strength of schedule greater than 1. Lisgar just raked in points, including a 700 point game. Their 3730 prelim points are the most ever in the 7-game format, and their 533 PPG are behind only the 2001 and 2002 UTS teams, who had higher-scoring sets in their years. They cruised through the playoffs until they met only other team within striking distance of them. Once again, Lisgar has qualified for Nationals without winning a provincial title.
  • UTS (1st). That absence last year was a fluke. UTS is back and ready for a national title run. Their prelim R-value of 162% is also among the top 5 ever at a provincial tournament. UTS does need a clean run in the Nationals prelims, though, lest they take a strange loss (like they did against Assumption) and end up with a tough playoff road (each of last year’s top 4 as their four opponents).

And that’s how Ontario went. Midfield was a bit weak this year, but the top group are dominant. It would not surprise me to see Ontario 1-2-3 at Nationals this year.

But Nationals is another story. I’ll be back with a preview of the teams in time for next week’s final tournament.

2017 Ottawa Regionals results

Record-breaking!

The 2017 Ottawa SchoolReach league wrapped up today. 15 teams sorted out their year-end placements in the senior division. Lisgar CI ended as champion in a placement final over Merivale HS, with both qualifying for provincials.

I have completed the result table here. The database page also has a link to the original results document from the coordinators. Some results highlights:

  • Lisgar’s win was expected, but it was dominant. Their R-value of 210% is the highest I have on record, even higher than the low 190s Lisgar pulled in regionals during their championship years. Even more incredibly, they didn’t benefit from a high strength of schedule that helps boost most good R-values – they did it with an SOS of less than 1.
  • Merivale stepped it up on the second day. They were statistically behind Glebe after the first day, but clearly earned their second place (and qualification) today. Nepean also made a marked improvement to climb from seventh to third place.
  • St. Pius X pulled off their best-ever result with a 7th place.

I read in the lower bracket. The games were lower-scoring, but they were usually close. The 9th-place match between Mother Teresa and Cairine Wilson in particular had constant back-and-forth in answering and saw tie scores at each break.

I also, obviously, can’t discuss question content, but questions I wrote way back in 2014 started appearing. Unfortunately, I feel that the subject matter is better suited for provincials/nationals level, rather than the regional set. Then again, the regional set also had very obscure material (that I had never heard of in my years of experience), so maybe my stuff didn’t stand out too much. I’d estimate the equivalent of 25 questions across 16 rounds that were read came from my hand, so there’s still plenty more in Reach’s arsenal.

The day went smoothly. I played no part in organization other than providing a reading voice and some buzzers, so all credit goes to the coordinators that make Ottawa one of the best-run, strongest, and most transparent leagues in Canada. Also, kudos to the teams for being good sports and keeping good behaviour, even when a lower bracket match feels like an ideal time to goof off.

Now, some rest.

2017 Ottawa Regionals, Day 2 preview

Comparing results from before players were born.

The 2017 Ottawa SchoolReach league wraps up tomorrow. The top 8 teams will play a round-robin, followed by a one-game match between consecutive-ranked teams (1 vs 2, 3 vs 4, etc). The same holds true for the lower flight of seven teams.

Some teams will have a chance at their best result ever. Here’s a look at the top flight’s previous best local results, at least as far back as 1999 for the most part:

  • #1 Lisgar: 1st outright nine times (2001, 2004, 2006-07, 2010-12, 2015-16)
  • #2 Glebe: 2nd once (2015)
  • #3 Merivale: 1st outright four times (1999, 2002-03, 2013); Lisgar and Merivale had unresolved ties for 1st in 2008 and 2009
  • #4 Osgoode: 5th once (1999), but that was out of six teams; they got 7th in 2012
  • #5 Earl of March: 2nd once (2012)
  • #6 St. Pius X: 15th twice (2015, 2016); this year will be their best result
  • #7 Nepean: 1st once (1996), but I don’t have tournament details; they got 3rd in 2016
  • #8 St. Paul: 4th once (2016)

I will live-tweet results from my room as I finish them. Hopefully, a live results table will continue to be available here.

Good luck to the teams!

2017 Ottawa Regionals, Day 1

Fastest results in Canada!

15 senior teams gathered for the first day of the 2017 Ottawa SchoolReach League. Two pools, seeded by last year’s rankings, played a round-robin among themselves. The top four teams of each pool will proceed to the upper bracket on the second day for another round-robin to determine the final league standings.

The league coordinators, with a refreshing air of transparency, kept live results and scores. I have converted those results to a database table with my enigmatic R-value.

The upper bracket will have Lisgar, Earl of March, St. Pius X, and St. Paul from Group A and Glebe, Merivale, Osgoode, and Nepean from Group B. Group A was fairly easy for Lisgar, who handily put up another >190% R-value, while St. Pius X was a surprise good result. Group B was very tight between the top four, as shown by some game results:

  • Osgoode 270, Nepean 250
  • Nepean 270, Glebe 260 (after tiebreakers)
  • Glebe 280, Merivale 270 (with a blank shootout- 80 “missing” points that could have been used to shape the game)

Those four teams and Earl of March all have R-values over 100% and should have a chance at a provincials qualification. Of them, only Osgoode has never qualified before.

All will be known next week. Expect more razor-edge games!

2017 Ottawa Regionals Preview

Where do the Gatineau teams go?

Ottawa SchoolReach league competition starts tomorrow. It is probably due for a preview.

The Ottawa league has been around since the early 1990s, and has historically fielded strong competition. Six national titles have come out of the league, more than any other (though Toronto is split into multiple leagues). Ottawa schools also took two titles in the CBC era. The league’s heyday was probably the turn of the millennium, when veteran Bell and Gloucester teams would take on the new challengers in Merivale and Lisgar.

Competition has dwindled somewhat today. Past champions Bell, Gloucester, Hillcrest, and Rideau no longer compete. Former league winners Ridgemont and Colonel By are also gone. Attendance has also dropped since the mid-2000s peak, which threatens the number of qualification spots.

One of those provincial qualification spots will likely go to Lisgar. It has since 2001, an active qualification streak longer than any other Ontario team. Don’t count chickens before they hatch, however – 2016 title favourite UTS failed to get out of their region last year.

The remaining spot (or spots, the number changes each year) will probably see the most competition. Glebe, Merivale, and Nepean have all qualified in recent years. Mother Teresa has almost always been in the city playoffs since the school was built. St. Paul and Sir Wilfrid Laurier have also just been within reach recently.

I will be at the competition. Unfortunately, arrangements will not be made for recording audio, but I will still have written updates. A lot of other Ontario regions are underway or will start soon; any results I can get will also be published.

Lisgar tournament audio wrap-up

An experiment in recording

Lisgar’s annual Reach-style tournament was held two weeks ago. First of all, my results table is found here. More significantly to me, it was the trial run of recording audio of games.

Recording and production was, thankfully, pretty straightforward. I used a recording app on my iPad and placed it in front of me. In an effort to muffle/anonymize the players, I put a folder between the iPad and the players to dampen their voices. It turned out that players could be understood most of the time, but I don’t think they could be individually identified unless you actually knew the person. What I should have done was find a way to put the iPad between myself and the question papers; I was slightly muffled, and the page turning was the clearest sound in the recordings. The buzzer sound was not overpowering, but I placed a sweater over the speaker to make it quieter. Production was done in Audacity; I didn’t need to edit out identifying names, so I just normalized the audio and faded in and out. In the future, I may add more recording time before and after the reading so that there is more room to fade. Finally, I made the mp3s and uploaded to a free host.

I was satisfied with how these first recordings came out. I had done similar work back in 2005/06 for a VETO tournament, but this was taken a little more seriously. To respect the fact that most players are minors, I guaranteed anonymity, no video or images, and no monetization of the recordings. Most students in the Ottawa school board signed a year-long media waiver to allow things like appearing on the news if a camera crew comes by, but I thought it best not to take any chances with privacy issues. In terms of audio quality, it is okay for a free effort. I am reluctant to invest money for better sound at this stage, lest I end up in a tailspin where I need to start finding ways to get money to sustain the project.

Anyway, here’s what you came for – all 10 rounds of the tournament I recorded:

  1. Kennebecasis Valley vs Lisgar “B” (post) (audio)
  2. Glebe vs Lisgar “A” (post) (audio)
  3. Almonte vs UTS (post) (audio)
  4. Colonel By vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  5. UTS vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  6. Lisgar “B” vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  7. Almonte vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  8. UTS vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  9. Merivale vs Colonel By (post) (audio)
  10. Almonte vs Merivale (post) (audio)

My next effort will be Ottawa’s regional tournament. I’m not sure what will happen after that. If you have audio of games (and permission from associated parties to air it), I’d be glad to either link to it or run it on Reach Scores Audio.

If you have any questions or comments related to these Reach Scores efforts, feel free to contact me at reac5hscores@gmail.com (remove the number). Enjoy!

Reach Scores Audio #10

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs Merivale

The last round of the day! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 10 match has Almonte DHS against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Since audio does a poor job of portraying what happened with the Titanic/Avatar answer: An Almonte player buzzed in, then two players on the team gave answers. “Avatar” was said by the buzzing player and “Titanic” was said by the other teammate. I was hemming and hawing not about what I’m supposed to do, but whether I should apply rules strictly in the context of the importance of the game (lower bracket playoffs). I decided to follow rules and deem that the “Titanic” answer was consultation after the buzzer.
  • A wrap-up post with links to all games and some overall recording notes will be written in the near future – probably the weekend.

Thanks for listening!