|Third||Detroit Catholic Central|
|Fourth||Detroit Country Day|
|High scorer||Jonathan Hess, Irmo|
|Field||54 (3 SS)|
The 2002 High School National Championship Tournament was won by St. John's (TX), consisting of Alex Wright, Andrew Brantley, Eric Kwei, and Michael Friedman. The tournament was jointly hosted by Texas and Texas A&M in Austin, Texas. Chris Romero organized a Texas barbecue lunch for the teams and staffers, and supplied a selection of his favorite sauces. 54 teams competed. This was also the first year that the HSNCT awarded awards for a "Small School" Championship.
The 2002 HSNCT featured ten power-matched games between teams of roughly equal records. Teams with a 7-3 record or better advanced to a playoff round-robin, and the top two teams in the round robin advanced to the final.
St. John's defeated Irmo 355-325 in a one-game final. In an eight-team playoff round robin, St. John's and Irmo finished with identical 5-2 records to set up the one-game final. Detroit Catholic Central and Detroit Country Day finished 4-3 for third and fourth place, respectively. In addition, the first-ever HSNCT Small School Championship was won by Kent City, who defeated Cutter Morning Star 285-95 in the final. Drummond A earned third place in the Small School division.
Final placing of the 8 playoff teams:
|1.||St. John's||5.||Los Alamitos|
|3.||Detroit Catholic Central||7.||Governor's School|
|4.||Detroit Country Day||8.||Thomas Jefferson|
Top 3 Small Schools:
|2.||Cutter Morning Star||25|
The top five individual scorers through the 10 preliminary rounds, based on points per 20 tossups heard, were Jonathan Hess of Irmo, Jason Loy of Cutter Morning Star, Dwight Wynne of Capistrano Valley, Andrew Moore of Brookwood A, and Charles Meigs of Los Alamitos, respectively. Charles Meigs actually finished with more total points than either the third or fourth place individuals, but in many more tossups heard.
The 2002 HSNCT was marked by controversy regarding playoff qualification. Brookwood A finished with more points than all but three other teams, yet was eliminated from playoff contention after dropping to 3-4; in the final preliminary round, it defeated a Benton team that at 6-3 was still in playoff contention. More importantly, NAQT's playoff structure only allowed for eight teams to advance, but nine teams finished with a 7-3 record or better. To alleviate this issue, NAQT made the two statistically worst 7-3 teams play a single game to advance to the playoffs; in that game, Dorman eliminated a Hartland team led by Pat Freeburn. Due to the outcry over these controversies, NAQT changed its playoff qualification and format for 2003. For all HSNCTs subsequent to 2002, any team that finishes with a record of 6-4 or better in the ten preliminary games earns a berth in the double-elimination Sunday playoffs.