Celebrating 50 years of the Mercer Invitational Tournament!
Please join members of The Hill Basketball Association for a dinner to commemorate this milestone.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Mercer Invitational Tournament, a boys’ basketball tournament held each December since 1970. Originally named the Hill Invitational Tournament, the event was renamed in 1990 to honor the retirement of David H. Mercer, Director of Athletics at The Hill from 1960 until 1990.
The 50th-annual tournament will begin on Thursday, December 19 and conclude on Saturday, December 21. On Friday, December 20, there will be a reception at 6 p.m. to commemorate the tournament’s 50th anniversary and to honor the legacy of Mr. Mercer.
The Hill School 1977-78 Basketball Team
In the tournament’s history, six Hill teams have won the championship. Each week leading up to the tournament’s tip-off, we will highlight a championship team. This week’s featured team is Hill’s first to win the tournament, the 1977-78 team.
Led by captain and future Riley Award winner Michael Kovach, the 1977-78 basketball team amassed one of the best seasons in program history, finishing with an overall record of 18 wins and three losses. An experienced roster included several returning lettermen from the 1976-77 team and added four post-graduates, providing the team with a depth that was difficult for opponents to match.
In the opening game of the season, Hill scored 114 points, the first of nine times Hill would top 80-points on the season, a feat made even more impressive in era before the three-point line. Hill entered the HIT with a 3-1 overall record and easily defeated Cheshire Academy in the opening game, 81-53. Next, rival Lawrenceville also provided little resistance as Hill won by 26 points to claim a spot in the championship game against Mt. Hermon. The championship game yielded another comfortable victory for Hill by a score of 79-66.
Two games after winning the HIT, Hill fell to Peddie to drop its overall record to 7-2. Hill proceeded to win 11 of its final 12 games, including a second victory over Lawrenceville by more than 20 points and a defeat of Lehigh University’s JV team.