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Final, Expanded 2012-13 FAB 50

All 50 teams are written up with explanations for why they were placed in these positions. These are the official National Sports News Service FAB 50 Team Rankings on Ballislife.com, which date back to the 1952 season. Montverde Academy of Florida is the 2012-13 mythical national champion.

Compiled by Ronnie Flores & Doug Huff
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens

Note: Preseason ranking in parenthesis; the FAB 50 editors were the only national ranking compilers to have Montverde Academy as the preseason No. 1 ranked team.

1. (1) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 26-2
The Eagles defeated No. 22 Oak Hill Academy (77-71, OT), Prime Prep Academy of Dallas (57-55) and No. 2 St. Benedict’s (67-65) to capture the 2013 National High School Invitational (NHSI) in North Bethesda, Md. to conclude the 2012-13 season. Montverde Academy defeated St. Benedict’s on a last-second 3-pointer by Jalyn Patterson. In the NHSI semis, St. Benedict’s ended the 54-game winning streak of No. 3 Findlay Prep, which beat Montverde Academy at the buzzer at the Hoophall Classic. Montverde’s other loss was also at the buzzer against unranked Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) two nights before the Findlay Prep game. Montverde Academy started off as the nation’s preseason No. 1 team, and its overall schedule and key wins were enough to overcome the two close losses to become the first ever Florida to finish ranked No. 1 in the nation since the National Sports News Service began end-of-the-season ratings in 1952. It’s also the first ever mythical national title for coach Kevin Boyle, who had two teams at now closed St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) open preseason No. 1 and a few others come within a buzzer beater of the No. 1 ranking.

2. (16) St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 30-2
There was some discussion to keep Findlay Prep in front of St. Benedict’s since the Pilots did beat No. 1 Montverde Academy, but in the final analysis we decided the head-to-head factor was stronger plus the Gray Bees did avenge their other loss with a resounding win. The Gray Bees also ended two of the nation’s longest win streaks en route to finishing runner-up to No. 1 Montverde Academy 67-65 in the NHSI end-of-season tournament. St. Benedict’s halted the nation’s longest skein of 83 games by No. 36 St. Anthony and ended a 54-game run by No. 3 Findlay Prep 60-57 in the NHSI semifinals. The Gray Bees also defeated two other FAB 50 ranked foes, No. 32 Montrose Christian and No. 22 La Lumiere. Syracuse-bound Tyler Ennis, a 6-foot-3 point guard, led the way with norms of 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 steals a game. Other college-bound seniors are forwards Mike Young (Pittsburgh) and Denzell Taylor (Old Dominion). Isaiah Briscoe is a touted sophomore guard.

3. (2) Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 35-1
It was quite a first season for coach Todd Simon, who took over the program after Michael Peck left for the NDBL. The Pilots could have declined an invitation to the NHSI and likely secured its second mythical national title based on the teams they already beat, but the two-time defending event champions took on the challenge and it took a strong closing by St. Benedict’s to snap the program’s 54-game winning streak. Nigel Williams-Goss, who hit the game-winning shot against No. 1 Montverde Academy, was the cornerstone of the team and finished his high school career with a 127-7 won-loss record.

4. (15) Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 26-1
It was evident coming into the season Lone Peak had a special team, but it turned into a one-in-a-lifetime type season for a small state program. Lone Peak played a national schedule and breezed to its third consecutive Class 5A crown. The only team coach Quincy Lewis’ club couldn’t handle was No. 1 Montverde Academy (66-45) in the final of the City of Palms Tournament. Guard Nick Emery and center Eric Mika drew All-America acclaim and junior guard T.J. Haws will be in line for similar honors next season. Before this team came around, the highest ever ranking for a Utah team was No. 12 by Provo for the 1997-98 season.

5. (3) Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 30-3
The Wolverines joined Peoria Manual as the second Illinois team to win four straight state Class 4A titles. They defeated No. 6 Whitney Young twice and split with state Class 3A champion and No. 19 Morgan Park. They also defeated No. 23 Oak Hill Academy. One of their losses was to FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy. Duke recruit Jabari Parker became the state’s first two-time Mr. Basketball. The 6-foot-8 four-year standout averaged 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and was twice the unofficial Mr. Basketball USA runner-up.

6. (18) Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 27-4
Young claimed its first City Public League title since 1998 with a 60-56 overtime win over No. 19 Morgan Park. Other FAB 50 victims included Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), Chester (Pa.) and Omaha Central (Omaha, Neb.). Young was 10-1 vs. out-of-state foes and won the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. National Junior of the Year and Mr. Basketball USA candidate Jahlil Okafor led the way. The 6-foot 11 center averaged 20.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and shot 69.8 percent from the floor.

7. (43) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 34-2
The Monarchs won the first-ever CIF Open Division title with a 50-45 victory over No. 30 Mitty. Mater Dei was also able to avenge its only in-state loss to No. 13 Etiwanda with a resounding 60-37 victory. Coming into the season, youth at the center position and lack of depth were areas of concern for coach Gary McKnight coming off back-to-back Division I state titles, but the improvement of junior Stanley Johnson and Elijah Brown was immense and the coaching staff received high praise for its work with this group. For the eighth time in the Gary McKnight era, Mater Dei is California’s No. 1 ranked team.

8. (28) Germantown (Germantown, Wis.) 28-0
The Warhawks repeated as state Division 1 champion while extending their win streak to 56 games while dominating their in-state schedule. Anchoring the team was 7-foot senior, and Indiana recruit, Luke Fischer. The state Mr. Basketball and second five All-American averaged 21 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. Running the offense was 6-2 junior point guard LaMonte Bearden, who averaged 13.1 points and 5.2 assists a game.

9. (NR) Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 30-0
The Trojans captured the 4A state championship with a 56-53 victory over Broughton of Raleigh to cap an unbeaten season. Only the lack of a key out-of-state win keeps Olympic from a higher rating. Olympic was able run the tables despite the transfer of top 100 recruit Allerik Freeman to Findlay Prep.

10. (NR) Romulus (Romulus, Mich.) 27-1
The Eagles captured their first state Class A crown in 27 years by winning their final 26 games after bowing to No. 15 Pershing. Romulus avenged the loss, 93-91, in the state quarterfinals. The Eagles were led by 6-foot-4 E. C. Matthews, a Rhode Island recruit, who averaged 17.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. Senior point guard Wes Clark and pivot Leo Edwards were other key players.

11. (40) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 29-3
It was quite a season for Grant Rice, as his Gaels captured their sixth state title in his 12 seasons as head coach. After losing 2012 Mr. Basketball USA Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA) to graduation, his younger brother Rashad (San Jose State commit) and sophomore Stephen Zimmerman led this young quad that played up to its potential. Gorman’s only losses were to No. 7 Mater Dei (76-60), No. 6 Whitney Young (76-67) and No. 3 Findlay Prep (65-45).

12. (44) Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) 27-2
Led by tourney MVP Dallas Cameron (American University), the Tigers captured their second straight Class 7A state title with a 58-50 win over Evans of Orlando. Ely won its fourth state title in program history. After a loss to No. 49 St. John Bosco at the Chick-Fil-A Classic, the Tigers won 17 consecutive games before losing in overtime to ineligible Prime Prep of Dallas in the opening round of the NHSI.

13. (NR) Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 28-4
The Eagles won the coveted CIF Southern Section Division I-AA title over No. 7 Mater Dei, but lost the rematch in the SoCal Open Division title game, 60-37. In the section semifinals, Etiwanda defeated No. 14 Long Beach Poly in overtime. Coach Dave Kleckner’s club was led by junior point guard Jordan McLaughin, the co-CIFSS Div. I-AA Player of the Year alongside Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson.

14. (11) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 28-4
The Jackrabbits, who spent the season at No. 1 in California from the preseason until losing to No. 13 Etiwanda in their section semifinals, played at about the level predicted of them in the preseason. Poly didn’t have junior Kameron Chatman at its disposal, but with Gatorade State Player of the Year Roschon Prince and Oregon recruit Jordan Bell, the Jackrabbits could play with just about anyone. They did struggle, however, against national level, interior-oriented teams such as No. 1 Montverde Academy (76-51) and No. 6 Whitney Young (85-52).

15. (NR) Pershing (Detroit, Mich.) 25-1
The Doughboys reeled off 25 victories before dropping their only game 93-91 to No. 10, and eventual champion, Romulus in the state Class A quarterfinals. Pershing had handed Romulus its lone loss, 83-76 in an early-season showdown. The Detroit Public School League champion was led by 5-foot-10 senior point guard Kahlil Felder. The Oakland recruit averaged 18 points a game. Another all-stater was 6-5 senior wing Martez Walker.

16. (NR) Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 25-0
The No. 1 team in our traditional Southwest Region captured the Class 6A state championship with a 46-29 victory over all-East Kansas League rival Blue Valley West of Stilwell. Junior Clay Custer, a Iowa State commit, scored 21 points against Blue Valley West to help the program to its first state title. Without a signature regional or national win to point to, it’s hard to gauge just how good this team is, but it’s the state’s consensus No. 1 team among four unbeaten state champs.

17. (12) Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) 33-5
The Tigers had aspirations of climbing into the top 10 from their preseason perch, but a lingering injury to Kentucky recruit Andrew Harrison kept Travis from reaching its potential. Twin brother Aaron carried the load (23.1 ppg) but Andrew did step up in the team’s run to the Class 5A state title.

18. (19) Omaha Central (Omaha, Neb.) 26-4
Led by All-American Akoy Agau, Central captured its fourth consecutive Class A state crown with a 69-44 victory over Papillion-LaVista. This dominant in-state program has now won seven state titles the past eight seasons. Central ventured out of state and suffered two close losses to No. 6 Whitney Young (60-57) and No. 14 Long Beach Poly (52-49) before bouncing back at home with a late regular season win over No. 23 Oak Hill Academy.

19. (NR) Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 33-3
The Mustangs captured the state Class 3A crown and split two games with No. 5, and state Class 4A titlist, Simeon. Morgan Park won 54-53 and lost 53-51 to the Wolverines. The other two losses were to ranked foes, No. 6 Whitney Young and No. 11 Bishop Gorman. Two senior all-staters led the way in 6-foot-5 Billy Garrett, a DePaul recruit, and 6-foot Kyle Davis, a Dayton signee.

20.  (BB) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 28-3
The Royals captured the state Federation Class AA title for the third time after winning their third City CHSAA Class AA crown in four years. They bested No. 37 Long Island Lutheran in the finals after state Mr. Basketball Jon Severe scored 40 points in a semifinal win over Bishop Kearney (Rochester, N.Y.). The 6-foot-2 Severe averaged 22.5 points for the season. Jordan Fuchs, a 6-5 senior, averaged 12.3 ppg.

21. (33) Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 26-0
The Trojans repeated as state Class 4A titlist and extended their win streak to 52 games in a dominating in-state season. West capped the season with a 54-36 state finals rout of Bettendorf. Two first team all-staters led the way in 6-foot-6 senior Jeremy Morgan and 6-2 junior guard Wyatt Lohaus.

22. (29) La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) 26-6
After an impressive season start, including a win over No. 23 Oak Hill Academy, the Lakers faltered down the stretch, losing four of last five games including a 73-60 setback to No. 2 St. Benedict’s in the quarterfinals of the NHSI. The Lakers also lost to No. 1 Montverde Academy and No. 3 Findlay Prep. Detrick Mostella led the attack.

23. (5) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 33-6
The Warriors ended the season by taking No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) to overtime before bowing, 77-71, in the quarterfinals of the NHSI. Oak Hill split with No. 32 Montrose Christian and lost to No. 5 Simeon and No. 22 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.). Troy Williams, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, was Steve Smith’s top player.  A key injury to point guard Nate Britt was crucial — Oak Hill was 21-2 with Britt in lineup and 12-4 without him. This is the lowest final ranking for Oak Hill since the 1987-1988 season, when they failed to crack the top 20 of the first ever final National Prep Poll national rankings, precursor to the GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 Team Rankings.

24. (BB) Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 29-1
The Buffaloes are on the verge of moving into the upper-echelon of the nation’s top academy-type programs. SCA is allowed to play in-state association schools and avenged its only loss to Prime Prep Academy (Dallas), which dropped out of the UIL, thus making that program ineligible for the Top 50 this season. Has the avenging win been earlier in the season or if the first game was a bit closer (73-45) SCA might have earned its first NHSI berth.

25. (NR) Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 26-2
The Greyhounds repeated as state Class 4A champion by besting Indianapolis Cathedral in the finals. It was Carmel’s second season victory over the Fighting Irish. The balanced titlists were led by 5-foot-9 senior guard Michael Volovic, a first team all-state honoree.

26. (NR) Irmo (Columbia, S.C.) 29-0
Led by South Carolina-bound Justin McKie (20 points, 10 rebounds), the Yellowjackets finished off an unbeaten season by defeating Goose Creek, 65-46, for the Class 4A state title. It was Irmo’s second state title in the last three seasons.

27. (NR) North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 30-1
The Charging Wildcats rolled to the Class 7A state title with a 64-52 victory over Fayetteville and also owned victories over eventual Class 6A and 5A champions. North Little Rock was unbeaten against in-state competition, with a Thanksgiving weekend loss to 27-4 Charleston, Mo., the only blemish.

28. (NR) De La Salle (Minneapolis, Minn.) 30-1
The Islanders repeated as state Class 3A champion while going unbeaten vs. in-state opponents. The lone loss was by 57-52 to unbeaten Kansas champion, and FAB 50 No. 16 Blue Valley Northwest. Touted 6-foot-7, 230-pound power forward Reid Travis, the Metro Player of the Year, averaged 28.4 points and nine rebounds a game.

29. (NR) South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 37-4
The Warriors advanced to the Class 5A state title game where they fell to No. 17 Fort Bend Travis, 46-38. Along the way, South Grand Prairie, led by Virginia Tech signee Ben Emelogu, defeated Steele of Cibolo in the state semifinal and snapped the 34-game winning streak of regionally ranked Hebron of Carrollton in its regional final.

30. (32) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 28-6
The Monarchs played to about the level everyone expected of them in the preseason. With Mr. Basketball USA finalist Aaron Gordon in the lineup, Mitty was good enough to upset No. 39 Sheldon and represent NorCal in the first-ever CIF Open Division title game, but the Monarchs simply didn’t have the horses to compete with the top-tier national level teams such as No. 4 Lone Peak, which beat them 81-46.

31. (NR) Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.) 30-3
The Aces captured their first state Class 4A crown since 2006 by routing defending champion and No. 41 Chester 63-47 in the finals to avenge a 60-46 district championship loss. B.J. Johnson, a 6-foot-7 all-state senior wing and Syracuse recruit, averaged 16.5 points and 7.4 rebounds while ending with 1,241 career points. Yohanney Dalembert, a 6-7 senior, earned second team all-state.

32. (7) Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 19-5
The Mustangs’ five losses included four to ranked teams – a split with No. 23 Oak Hill Academy, two losses to No. 3 Findlay Prep and one to No. 2 St. Benedict’s. Ishmail Wainright, a 6-foot-6 forward and Baylor recruit, led balanced Montrose with averages of 8.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game.

33. (NR) The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 33-4
Defeated No. 34 Arlington Country Day 64-56 in the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association Tournament finals. It was the Rock’s first state title in school history. Second team All-American Joel Embiid is headed to Kansas while SIAA tournament MVP Mitchell Wilbekin will return next season.

34. (NR) Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) 30-4
Two of their losses came against Mr. Basketball USA Andrew Wiggins and his club at Huntington Prep of West Virginia (a team not eligible for the FAB 50). The other two losses came against No. 33 The Rock of Gainesville.

35. (NR) Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 25-5
The Lions captured their first state Tournament of Champions title with a 65-49 finals’ win over St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.). Earlier, the Lions upended No. 36 St. Anthony  in the finals of the state Non-Public B tournament. Syracuse-bound power forward Tyler Roberson led the way. Malachi Richardson and Hakim Saintil also were major contributors.

36. (6) St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 28-2
The Friars extended the nation’s longest active win streak to 83 games before falling to No. 2 St. Benedict’s, 47-38, in regular season play. St. Anthony’s only other loss was to No. 35 Roselle Catholic 48-44 in the finals of the state Non-Public B Tournament. The Friar attack was led by Josh Brown, a first team all-state honoree, and Hallice Cooke.

37. (NR) Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.) 25-3
The Crusaders finished runner-up to No. 25 Christ the King in the National Federation Class AA state tournament. They defeated New York City PSAL champion Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the semifinals. Lutheran was led by 6-foot-8 first team all-stater Kentan Facey, who averaged 14.5 points a game.

38. (38) Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 26-2
Playing with a torn hamstring, OU signee Jordan Woodard made his only field goal of the Class 6A state final count, as he tipped in an errant shot at the buzzer to give his team a 49-48 win over Midwest City. Edmond Memorial avenged its two regular season losses (including one against Midwest City) and won its second state title in three seasons.

39. (25) Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 29-6
The Huskies, led by SDSU recruits Dakarai Allen and D’Erryl Williams and Washington commit Darin Johnson, defeated No. 40 Salesian in a much anticipated NorCal Open Division semifinal. That win avenged an earlier loss to The Pride and Sheldon also won the national division of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.

40. (14) Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 30-4
The Pride was ranked No. 1 in California going into its playoff showdown with Sheldon, but could not maintain their late six-point lead and eventually lost in overtime. That game probably should have taken place in the regional Open Division final, but nonetheless it was a quality season for a program that won the Division IV state title in 2011-12 with many of the same players on this year’s roster.

41. (4) Chester (Chester, Pa.) 28-4
The two-time defending state Class 4A champion Clippers fell in the finals to No. 31 Lower Merion, a team it defeated in the district tournament. Chester, which had a 61-game win streak halted early in the season, was led by state Player of the Year and second five All-American Rondae Jefferson. The 6-foot-7 Arizona recruit averaged 15.5 points and 11 rebounds a game and ended with 1,056 career points and a school record 780 rebounds.

42. (NR) Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) 30-3
After a loss to regionally ranked Westchester (Los Angeles) in late December, coach Sharman White’s club won 19 consecutive games to win the Class AAAAA state title. The Wolverines defeated Gainesville 61-57 in the state final as freshman Alterique Gilbert netted 19 points. Miller Grove made history as the first program ever to win five consecutive Georgia state titles.

43. (24) Rainier Beach (Seattle) 25-4
With a talented roster than included California transplant Shaquan Aaron, Rainier Beach overcame a so-so showing at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic (where it lost to No. 42 Miller Grove) to capture the Class 3A state title with a 62-59 victory over Lakeside of Seattle. That victory avenged a loss to Lakeside in the Sea-King 3A District title game.

44. (NR) Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) 35-1
The Stallions defeated Coral Springs Christian of Coral Springs, 62-56, in the Class 3A state final as junior guard Grayson Allen, a Duke commit, scored 31 points. Providence opened the season with a key win over regionally-ranked Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) and its lone loss was to No. 34 Arlington Country Day, but a lack of other wins over ranked foes prevents a higher overall ranking.

45. (NR) Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 29-4
SoCal small schools with talented players who formerly attended inner-city Los Angeles public schools now dominate California’s Division IV ranks. Led by a talented trio of guards, Pac Hills is the team that emerged from the loaded SoCal Div. IV regional and beat a scrappy Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa team in the state final, 58-52.

46. (NR) Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.) 34-2
With a 75-60 win over Center Point, the Dragons ended their season as Class 5A state champs as Justin Coleman (17 points) earned tournament MVP honors. Wenonah captured its third state title in a row and fifth overall. No other team in AHSAA history has won three straight state titles in the state’s top two divisions.

47. (NR) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 32-2
The Knights were riding a 29-game winning streak and had a top 10 national rating before running into a hot La Verne Lutheran club in the CIFSS Div. IV-AA semifinals. We wouldn’t rank Bishop Montgomery, which lost to No. 45 Pac Hills in the SoCal Div. IV regional semifinals, quite that high because they were the only top level California team that didn’t play out-of-state competition.

48. (9) Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.) 34-6
A mythical national title contender to begin the season, Southwind faltered a bit against national competition but was able to defeat Dyer County 76-53 in the Class AAA state final. Jajuan Johnson, who scored 23 points in the state final and was named tourney MVP, and Jonathan Williams III, led Southwind to the state tournament for the first time in program history.

49. (37) St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 24-7
There was plenty of depth among West Coast teams this season and that’s evident in Bosco’s resume. The Braves showed what they were capable of with a victory over No. 12 Ely, but couldn’t get past No. 7 Mater Dei in SoCal’s tough Trinity League. Coach Derrick Taylor’s club lost on a buzzer beater to No. 14 Poly in the state tournament, but must remain behind No. 47 Bishop Montgomery because of a head-to-head loss.

50. (NR) Madison Central (Richmond, Ky.) 32-5
The Indians captured their first all-class Sweet Sixteen state title. University of Kentucky recruit Dominique Hawkins, the state Mr. Basketball, averaged 27 points and nine rebounds in the tournament and 20.4 points a game for the season. He ended with school record 2,453 career points.

Editor’s Note: The FAB 50 is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1944. These were the first national high school rankings and they were compiled by the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 13 years ago. From the 1999-2000 through the 2011-12 season, the FAB 50 was spearheaded by Doug Huff & Mark Tennis, who now serve as consultants for the FAB 50.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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