By Max Huang
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, 42 teams gathered at Tom Clark High School for the fourth annual Bexar Bowl. In the high school division, LASA B’s quintet of John DiCarlo, Trevor Binford, Niels Kornerup, Jonah Shaukat and Michael Martinez triumphed over St. Dominic Savio’s Eleazar Camez, Jack Frey, Nick Isakson, and Daniel Jilek with a score of 365-190 to secure LASA’s first tournament win of the season.
Statistics for both the high school and middle school event, in which Bush claimed its first tournament victory of the school year, are available here.
LASA B (the Austin school’s top squad at the tournament) maintained a 10-0 record throughout the day, defeating the top squads from Clark, Kealing and Reagan on its way to the finals. St. Dominic Savio dropped two matches in the prelims to Lamar Academy A and John Jay before avenging both of those losses in the afternoon playoff rounds.
Of the 8 schools who earned berths Saturday for the 2015 High School National Championship Tournament, Savio, Jay, Lamar A and Boerne Champion qualified their first teams of this school year. Notably, Lamar Academy did so in its first ever TQBA event. The McAllen magnet school, led by senior Juan Linares’ 54.38 points per game, won six straight matches in the morning, including a 295-265 nail-biter against St. Dominic Savio before eventually falling in the quarters to a vengeful Savio.
In the middle school division, Daniel Huantes led his team from Bush to a perfect 10-0 sweep of the tournament. Huantes was the event’s runaway leading scorer with 97 PPG.
The eventual second-place squad from Lopez also went into the final undefeated, having won all eight of its earlier matches and accumulating 20.38 points per bonus along the way, the highest of any middle school team. The Lopez team was remarkably balanced, with all four of its primary members scoring at least 20 points per game, two of whom also registered over 40 PPG.
Reagan’s Sam Lin led the varsity division in individual score at 84.44 points per game, a statistic that was somewhat diluted by his afternoon performance (after only the preliminary rounds Lin showed 95 ppg). Lin powered 25 times throughout the day and negged only once, generating an incredible power-to-neg ratio of 25.00 that has no precedent within TQBA’s records for this season.
Lin’s short-handed team tied for third at Bexar along with fellow San Antonio school John Jay after losing in the semis to eventual champion LASA B. Despite a valiant effort from all four of Reagan Grey’s members, the absence of two A-team regulars proved too great a barrier to overcome.
“The Reagan Grey team is not our usual A team,” Lin said, “The planned A team would consist of me, Ramee Saleh, Abhi Rao, and NewNew Cheng.”
In particular, Reagan was hurt by the absence of science specialist Abhi Rao. “Abhi is just about the only adequate science player at Reagan,” said Lin, “This lack of science is definitely our biggest problem, one which in previous years had been ameliorated by Carson [Casey].”
Casey, who as a senior last year had been one of the best chemistry specialists in Texas, now attends United States Air Force Academy.
However, Reagan remains a force to be reckoned with. This past October at the Alamo City Kickoff, the full Reagan A contingent won nine straight matches before being narrowly beaten in a 360-340 game by perennial power Harmony North Austin, then ranked 14th in the nation. Reagan B performed admirably at Alamo as well, winning every preliminary match before losing to Brandeis A and taking fifth overall.
Lin says that Reagan is currently concentrating on developing its feeder programs, Bush and Lopez Middle Schools. Evidently the training is paying off, as these schools took first and second respectively at this past Saturday’s event.
“We hope to improve the programs at [Bush and Lopez] in order to expedite the clue-learning process,” Lin said, “Our coach, Mr. Whitehead, really wants to get the Reagan QB program more recognition on campus.”
Undoubtedly, Reagan’s program will only continue to expand and increase in strength with years to come.
In 2013, four seniors from Clark high school attended their first TQBA state championship and placed eighth, the highest of any first-time squad. Two years later, a second wave of players has kept the program strong.
This past weekend, Clark fielded two teams, both of which won at least half of their preliminary matches. Clark A averaged more than 3.3 powers per game and accrued 17.04 points per bonus. Josh Baize, leading scorer for the A squad, earned 17 powers across eight games and ended the day with 54.38 points per game. Baize, a junior, will have another year to develop his game and bring his team to the next level.
Clark has attended three tournaments this season, two of which resulted in nationals qualifications. The San Antonio school placed fourth at the Alamo City Kickoff, and came in second behind Reagan A at Brahma Bowl. The second-place finish was facilitated largely by freshman Stephen McNierney, who scored 25.00 ppg next to the team’s clear leader, Baize.
Clark is a young program, with only one senior on the two teams that it fielded at Bexar. As these players age and gain experience, we can expect them to improve and challenge Reagan for the top spot in San Antonio.
The next San Antonio high school event is at Warren on March 21, while the middle schools travel to UT on February 28 for Bevo Bowl.