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.

Views from IHBB Nationals

This tournament is history!

The Canadian History Bee and Bowl happened today at Lisgar CI. I don’t participate in IHBB events any longer, but I decided to drop by for some observations.

This event was probably the only real chance to preview Ontario teams before Ontario Reach provincials. It’s not the best comparison because the tournament is single-subject and uses a different question style, but there is enough to give qualitative impressions of teams.

In the senior division, UTS defeated Bayview SS in the final, and Royal St. George’s College beat Lisgar for third place. As far as I could tell, these were “A” teams, though UTS rotated through substitutes regularly. Bayview’s appearance in the final was quite a surprise after upsetting the #1 seeded RSGC in the semifinal.

RSGC earned that #1 seed, though. The competition was strong and they earned an important win over Lisgar in the round-robin. I was uncertain about the team going in, having no information available, but RSG proved themselves and should be a formidable opponent in the SchoolReach season. A drawback is that they are very dependent on a single player, so an off-game from that player can lead to upsets like the one seen today. Nevertheless, RSG deserves a good seed for Reach (I said that last year, but that’s another story…).

UTS thoroughly earned that championship, too. Their route to victory required beating Lisgar twice, who would have been entering the tournament as favourites. I am not sure if the UTS team prefers history and that gave them the edge, or whether they have improved in all subjects since Lisgar’s February tournament. I would consider UTS the #1 pre-provincials team.

Westmount was the other Ontario school in the senior field. They have a good knowledge base and they surprised me with some difficult answers they earned, but they are just a tier down from the top teams that participated today. I still think they would be on the bubble for Ontario Reach playoffs, like most past Hamilton representatives.

Finally, another impressive characteristic of the senior field was the performance of grade 11 players. If the teams were that good this year, imagine 2018!

2017 Etobicoke Regionals results

Small but powerful

Thanks to Isaac’s contribution, I have the Etobicoke league results. I have uploaded them to the database, and have also updated the set PPG for the other regions, which slightly affects R-values.

Etobicoke is a small league, but it is the toughest so far with the highest average scores. This is partly attributed to Martingrove CI having a larger footprint than Lisgar CI in Ottawa or Westmount SS in Hamilton, but the other teams in Etobicoke also put up strong numbers. In the end, Martingrove won and Michael Power-St. Joseph HS finished second and qualified for provincials.

Martingrove’s R-value of 190% is pretty good. In a fair provincial tournament, it should be a Nationals-bound value, unless some other teams like UTS or London Central SS also put up amazing numbers. Martingrove is definitely within striking distance of Lisgar, and could beat them if they met in the playoffs (or heaven forbid, a pool).

Michael Power’s R-value of 129% is on par with about the lower limit of provincial qualifications that aren’t awarded simply by winning a region. It would be a struggle to make Ontario playoffs at that level, but if they get themselves in an easy pool with only one team stronger than them, they might get the needed 6-1 record. In recent history, they have finished with a rank in the teens.

A little bit of history: Michael Power occupies the building that used to house Vincent Massey CI. That was the team that won the title twice in the CBC era. Their first title was the first national season of Reach for the Top, and their second was in the 1978 national championship. The 1978 team played still-participating Richview CI in the first regional round, and that Richview team featured a young Stephen Harper.

Once again, thanks for the results, and I’ll be on the lookout for more!

2017 Hamilton Regionals results

Double the elimination, double the stats, double the fun!

Hamilton wrapped up its SchoolReach league earlier this year. Thanks to the coordinator, I have the tournament results, conveniently placed here on the database. Westmount SS beat Hillfield Strathallan College in a final after a lengthy double-elimination playoff and qualified for provincials.

This tournament gives another data set for the 2017 Regionals set. I updated the set’s average PPG to include both sites so that R-values are comparable. Westmount’s R-value of 134% would roughly place them third at the Ottawa site, which feels appropriate for a cut-off point for provincial qualifications.

Hamilton has had decent results at provincials over the years. Their representatives recently have been Westmount, Westdale, and HSC, and those teams usually finish in the 7-12 range in the rankings for a 10-team playoff. Since 2010 (the point where I have every consecutive year), the Hamilton representative has averaged a rank of 11.0.

Then I remembered that the Hamilton representative usually gets a tough ride at provincials. 2016 had HSC lumped in a pool with the Ottawa, Toronto, and London champions, but they got through a tough SOS to the playoffs. In 2013, Westdale was in the toughest pool ever (UTS & PACE went to nationals, Brother André also made playoffs) and still finished 11th.

This inspired me to do some investigating. I looked at teams that attended each year since 2010 and averaged their final ranks and strengths of schedule. In theory, an average team should rank 20th and have an SOS of 1, with SOS getting lower as ranks get better (a higher-ranked team faced competition weaker than them). How does Hamilton compare?

Team Average rank Average SOS
Martingrove CI 2.6 0.944
London Central SS 5.6 0.956
Lisgar CI 6.1 0.941
Centennial CVI 9.4 0.959
Woburn CI 10.1 0.981
Hamilton rep 11.0 1.007
Assumption CSS 15.7 0.964

Sorry Hamilton. Martingrove, Central, and Lisgar get lower SOS because they finish so highly, but comparable teams like Centennial, Woburn, and Assumption get an easier schedule. Hamilton is the Rodney Dangerfield of Ontario provincials.

Edited to add: I must correct myself. Upon an analysis comparing rank and strength of schedule over all the provincials teams, the difference between Hamilton’s and other teams’ schedules is not statistically significant. Hamilton is higher than expected, but not by a standard deviation from the others. There are teams that had statistically significant uphill battles, but I’ll leave that for an off-season downtime post.

Anyway, once again thanks for the Hamilton regional stats, and hopefully I can get some more tournaments to further determine the strength of the teams playing this set, some of whom are qualified for a provincials pool.

Canadian History Bee & Bowl

For when players are stuck in the past.

Four regional tournaments are being played today for the Canadian division of the International History Bee & Bowl. Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver all have events today, with Montreal and Saint John scheduled later.

The IHBB is the international branch of History Bee & Bowl in the US. It was established by former Jeopardy! champion David Madden, and holds competitions in several countries. The Canadian regional sites lead to a national championship (held in Montreal for 2017), and many top participants qualify for a History Olympiad in the summer.

The team event is the History Bowl. Two teams face off to compete in a four-round game. Three of the rounds are variations on quizbowl’s tossups. The third round is a unique lightning round where each team selects a category they prefer, then get exclusive access to answer as many snapper-style questions (up to 10) that they can in one minute.

The individual event is the History Bee. Usually, 4-8 players compete on the same buzzer set, with multiple rooms occurring simultaneously to accommodate everyone. Everyone competes individually to answer from 30 multi-clue tossups worth one point each. If a player reaches 8 points, they step aside (“shootout” style) and get some bonus points based on how quickly they reached 8 points. The preliminary phase usually has several rounds, with players shuffling between rooms to vary the competition, and the players with the highest combined point totals proceed to playoff games.

Canadian History Bowl has hit off best in the GTA, bringing in the biggest fields and attracting teams that don’t even play SchoolReach or quizbowl. Other cities still struggle for attendance, but get by.

For today, Lisgar should win the senior division in Ottawa. They will probably also get the JV title, but few teams are competing for it. Toronto will be a clash between UTS, Royal St. George’s, and Westmount. I will respect player anonymity, but the Toronto Bee will likely preview two top contenders for the 2018 Reach for the Top national title.

Good luck to the participating teams!

Disclosure: I received money from IHBB for tournament directing services in 2015. I no longer participate in IHBB events.