Final, Expanded 2014-15 FAB 50
All 50 ranked teams written up with explanations for why they were placed in these positions with comparisons to preseason ranking. The FAB 50 is the official rankings of the National Sports News Service, which date back to the 1952 season. Montverde Academy of Florida is the 2014-15 mythical national champion, the first team to earn three consecutive No. 1 final rankings since the advent of weekly national polls in 1975-76.
Compiled by Ronnie Flores & Mark Tennis
Note: Preseason ranking in parenthesis; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; FAB 50 editors were the only national ranking compilers to have Montverde Academy as its preseason No. 1 ranked team the last three seasons.
1. (1) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 31-1
For the second consecutive season, the Eagles defeated No. 2 Oak Hill Academy in the finals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament. Senior Ben Simmons led the way with 20 points, including 13 in the fourth period, 11 rebounds and six assists in the 70-61 win over Oak Hill Academy. Montverde Academy is the first team in the weekly poll era (1976-current) to win three consecutive mythical national titles and only the second program following the legendary McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) teams of 1958-60. Simmons was a fixture on all three of Montverde’s Dick’s Nationals championship teams and played a different role on each. Coach Kevin Boyle’s club lost to No. 12 Wheeler in the City of Palms Tournament championship game, but Wheeler later lost to the West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) team the Eagles defeated 70-58. Prior to the 2013 season, Kevin Boyle just missed out on a Dick’s Nationals title when his 2012 team gave up a large fourth quarter lead against Findlay Prep and a couple of his teams at now defunct St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) came up just short of a national No. 1 finish. Boyle has flipped that trend and his team is closing out as well as any program in the country.
2. (2) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 46-2*
It was a bittersweet ending to a fantastic season when the Warriors lost to No. 1 Montverde Academy, 70-61, in the Dick’s Nationals championship game. They lost in last year’s title game to the Eagles by a near identical score and fell to 0-4 all-time in Dicks Nationals championship games since 2009. Still, it was a hugely successful year that saw Oak Hill set a program record for most wins in a season against a tough national schedule. Led by Mr. Basketball USA candidate Dwayne Bacon, a forward, and floor general Terrence Phillips, Oak Hill defeated No. 3 Cape Henry Collegiate, No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd twice and No. 7 Wesleyan Christian Academy. The Warriors were the only other team besides Montverde Academy to hold the top spot in the rankings. Oak Hill Academy held the top spot for a week before losing to No. 17 Hamilton in a game that was later overturned in the Warriors’ favor via forfeit. This is the 14th time Oak Hill has finished No. 1or No. 2 in the FAB 50 era. Oak Hill has won seven FAB 50 titles (and eight mythical national titles) and really is a handful of losses from doubling that number.
3. (32) Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.) 31-2
With its 54-53 victory over Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Cape Henry captured the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association D1 state title. The program is 57-3 the last two seasons and the win over Paul VI somewhat avenged a playoff loss to that program in 2014. The Dolphins lost to Cheick Diallo and Our Savior New American (not eligible for the FAB 50) and in double overtime to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy. Cape Henry wasn’t able to accept a Dicks Nationals invite because the VISAA allows its programs to have players who have repeated a year. We don’t allow programs that use fifth-year players in our rankings, but we do allow teams that are formally recognized by a state governing body and the Dolphins played association members from multiple states this season. It’s a unique situation we’ll monitor, but generally speaking we recognize programs that belong to an association and are allowed to play member schools from other states.
4. (7) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 28-4
The Dragons won the CIF Open Division state title game in overtime 65-64 over No. 16 Mater Dei on a made free throw by Mr. Basketball USA candidate Ivan Rabb. The uncommitted Rabb had 19 points, 21 rebounds and 2 blocks, but was the first to admit Boise St. recruit Paris Austin carried O’Dowd in the second half. The point guard finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists against only two turnovers in a pressure-filled situation. O’Dowd went wire-to-wire as California’s No. 1 team, which traditionally is tough to do, and didn’t lose to an in-state foe. Three of the four losses were to No. 1 Montverde Academy and No. 2 Oak Hill Academy.
5. (3) Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 29-3
For the second consecutive season, the Pilots came away with a big win in the Dick’s Nationals quarterfinals against a higher ranked foe after a so-so regular season performance. In this case, Findlay Prep defeated then No. 7 Ely, 63-50, behind 18 points from Arizona-bound Allonzo Trier. Findlay Prep then lost to No. 1 Montverde Academy, 57-53, in overtime under hard-to-believe circumstances. Findlay Prep played the Eagles even closer than Oak Hill Academy did, but that game and wins over No. 20 Stevenson and No. 39 Bishop Gorman are offset by losses to No. 27 Wayne and unranked Canyon Springs of Las Vegas. Trier and junior Derryck Thornton Jr. formed a dynamic backcourt, but the rebounding and clutch defensive play of senior forward Horace Spencer cannot be underestimated.
6. (NR) Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 33-3
The only team on the schedule for the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A state champs it did not beat was No. 1 Montverde Academy. Coach Fred Johnson’s disciplined team had cold shooting second and third quarters in a 50-34 quarterfinal loss at Dick’s Nationals. In the NCISAA title game, the Bengals defeated No. 7 Wesleyan Christian Academy, 44-34, to win its eighth state title overall. Johnson’s club held WCA without a field goal for almost 15 minutes, while freshman guard Will Dillard led the way offensively with 12 points. The victory was Greensboro Day’s second in three tries over WCA and the Bengals also split with Davidson Day.
7. (35) Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 28-5
Mr. Basketball USA candidate Harry Giles, a dynamic forward with one year remaining in his high school career, led the NCISAA Class 3A runner-ups. The junior led the Trojans with 11 points when it lost to No. 6 Greensboro Day in the state title game, their second loss to the Bengals in three games. WCA was gunning for its third consecutive state title, but came up short playing since February 3 without guard Kwe Parker because of a broken foot. The Trojans did lose to No. 12 Wheeler in the semifinals of the City of Palms Tournament, but lost to no one else lower, with the other losses coming against No. 2 Oak Hill Academy and No. 3 Cape Henry Collegiate.
8. (NR) Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) 28-1
Coach Melvin Randall’s club made history as the first Broward County public school to win a FHSAA title with an unbeaten mark. Ely was then invited to Dick’s Nationals and lost in the quarterfinals to No. 5 Findlay Prep, 63-50. The Class 7A champions defeated Osceola of Kissimmee in the state final 72-60 with its big regular season win a 69-63 triumph over No. 15 Cardinal Gibbons. Ely has won four state titles overall under Randall since 2007 and five overall. The veteran coach previously won two state championships at Deerfield Beach.
9. (BB) Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 29-2
The Cahillites made history by capturing the program’s first state title with a 62-45 win over cross-town Martin Luther King in the PIAA Class AAAA title game. Roman also is the first Philadelphia city school to win a state title in the PIAA’s highest classification. Rider-bound Gemil Holbrook netted 18 points and point guard Tony Carr added 14 in Roman’s state title victory.
10. (BB) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 29-2
Goretti won the Class AAA title with a 69-67 victory over No. 33 Archbishop Carroll. The Saints’ four-guard attack of Vaughn Covington, Quade Green, Zane Martin (26 points) and Lamarr Kimble each netted double figures in the two-point victory. District 12 teams won all four PIAA titles, as Conwell-Egan (AA) and Constitution (A) joined Goretti and No. 9 Roman Catholic (AAAA). Coach Carl Arrigale’s club defeated Archbishop Carroll during the regular season as well, so it only makes sense it is ranked in this position after losing to Roman Catholic twice by a total of eight points.
11. (21) Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 31-3
With an easy 66-43 victory over Ridgeland, the Chargers captured a fourth consecutive Class 5A state title. All of them have been with Mr. Basketball USA candidate Malik Newman in the lineup. The state’s most acclaimed player since 2005 Mr. Basketball USA Monta Ellis of Lanier was the ringleader against Ridgeland with a game-high 27 points. Callaway, which had an invite to Dick’s Nationals it eventually declined because it did not receive clearance from the MHSAA, somewhat exceeded preseason expectations. It lost to No. 33 Archbishop Carroll and splitt with No. 35 Velma Jackson while defeating Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) and routing then FAB 50-ranked Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) 76-47 in a road affair on national television.
12. (11) Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 30-3
The Wildcats clinched the Class AAAAAA state title when Mr. Basketball USA candidate Jaylen Brown made two free throws with 0.5 seconds remaining in a 59-58 win over No. 48 Pebblebrook. The GHSA granted Wheeler a waiver to participate in Dick’s Nationals, where it lost in the quarterfinals to Huntington Prep, 73-70, despite 29 points and 15 rebounds from Brown. This is the range in which Huntington Prep, which fell in the semifinals to No. 2 Oak Hill and lost to No. 11 Callaway, would fall in the FAB 50 if it were eligible. Wheeler has the distinction of being the only team to defeat No. 1 Montverde Academy, with other losses coming against No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd and regionally-ranked West Linn, Ore.
13. (NR) Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) 32-1
The Cardinals captured their second consecutive GHSA Class AAAA state title with a 55-50 win over Carrollton. It was a tough game and it wasn’t sealed until highly-regarded sophomore guard M.J. Walker nailed two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining. Senior Tracy Hector Jr. led the way with 18 points. The Cardinals beat teams from four different states and had two less losses than Wheeler, but must remain behind their fellow Peach State club in the final rankings as Wheeler was the only team to defeat mythical national champion Montverde Academy. The No. 1 Eagles handed Jonesboro its only loss, 92-72.
14. (28) Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 32-1
With a 57-32 rout of then bubble club Desert Vista of Phoenix, the Aztecs captured their fourth consecutive Division I state title and exceeded expectations after graduating Casey Benson and Connor MacDougall. There is not a lot of national competition in Arizona, but the Aztecs have dominated it during their state title run, going 127-7 overall and winning 70 straight against in-state foes. Corona Del Sol, which lost to only No. 31 Sierra Canyon, could be a legitimate top 10 team next season with the return of sophomore guard Alex Barcello and freshman center Marvin Bagley III, the Arizona Republic State Player of the Year who had 16 points and 14 rebounds in the state title game.
15. (NR) Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 32-1
The FHSAA Class 5A state champs defeated Rickards of Tallahassee in the title game, 74-58, to cap a dominant season. It was the first state title for the program, which was led by underclass All-American candidate Maverick Rowan. The 6-foot-7 junior transfer from Lincoln Park, Pennsylvania led the way in the title game win with 33 points after a 34-point, 9-rebound performance in the semifinals. Rowan averaged over 28 points and six rebounds per game for a team that lost its only game of the season to No. 8 Ely, 69-63, in the BCAA Big 8 title game.
16. (17) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 29-5
After the Monarchs graduated two-time All-American Stanley Johnson (Arizona), their season is considered a success even though they lost in overtime to No. 4 O’Dowd in the CIF Open state title game. Expectations were still sky high by us because of the coaching staff’s exceptional game preparation. The O’Dowd loss did break Mater Dei’s streak of nine consecutive 30-win seasons, but the improvement of players such as junior Bailey Stout and senior K.J. Smith down the stretch gave this club a chance to win a fifth consecutive CIF state title. The Monarchs big win came when they defeated then state No. 2 Bishop Montgomery in the SoCal Open regional semifinals after losing to No. 30 Etiwanda in the CIFSS Open Division semifinals.
17. (19) Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 33-1*
New coach Todd Day, a Grassroots Hoops All-American at Hamilton in 1988 and a former NBA player, guided his alma mater to its first state title since 2006. The Wildcats defeated Brentwood, 65-62, in the Class AAA title game after that club made a furious rally, cutting a 15-point deficit in three minutes, only to come up short. Class AAA Mr. Basketball Dedric Lawson had 20 points and 11 rebounds while his brother K.J. contributed 17 points. Hamilton had to forfeit 15 victories, including a 87-76 win over No. 2 Oak Hill Academy, in January after the TSSAA ruled 6-foot-7 senior Tarrance Baker ineligible. It’s hard to say exactly good Hamilton would have been without Baker from the beginning, but the one on-court loss it did have to Memphis East in the district final was avenged with a 93-56 victory.
18. (NR) Mustang (Mustang, Okla.) 28-0
This team has to go down as one of the best-ever from the Sooner State with a perfect record that included two wins over solid Texas teams (DeSoto and Dallas Kimball) and a 93-54 romp past Edmond Santa Fe for the Broncos’ first-ever Class 6A state title. Aubrey Johnson had 22 points in the title game, which saw Mustang score the most points in a state final in the largest class since 1983. The highest ranked team ever from Oklahoma in the FAB 50 era is Midwest City at No. 7 for the 2000-01 season.
19. (13) Plano West (Plano, Texas) 33-2
The Wolves were the preseason team to beat in Texas and, other than a loss to Parkview of Arkansas, pretty much lived up to that expectation. The only other loss was to No. 1 Montverde Academy. In the Class 6A state final, Plano West rallied in the fourth quarter to edge regionally-ranked Clear Lake of Houston, 56-54, behind 22 points from Dennis Hogg. Mickey Mitchell added nine points and 11 assists.
20. (9) Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) 30-3
After losing to Jabari Parker and Chicago Simeon in the Class 4A state title game in 2013, Stevenson used its own Illinois Mr. Basketball, Villanova-bound Jalen Brunson, to win the crown this season. The Patriots topped No. 44 Normal Community in this year’s final after Normal had upset Simeon. Brunson averaged 23.3 ppg this season and hit for 21.1 ppg over his four-year career. Winning a Class 4A title in Illinois is always impressive but after Chaminade of St. Louis (a team Stevenson lost to) was upset in Missouri’s playoffs it couldn’t be ranked any higher.
21. (BB) Wing’s Academy (Bronx, N.Y.) 30-3
We seriously considered coach Billy Turnage’s club for the FAB 50 in the preseason and based on what it accomplished it should have been nationally ranked, not just regionally ranked. Wing’s erased a 11-point fourth quarter deficit to capture the New York Federation Class AA state title with a 79-73 victory over No. 36 Christ the King. Georgetown-bound Jessie Govan had 24 points after going for 17 points and 17 rebounds in the PSAL title game win over defending champ and No. 42 Cardozo, which owned an earlier win over Wings. Wing’s Academy was invited to Dick’s Nationals after winning the PSAL crown and showed well, losing to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy 72-63. The third loss came against No. 9 Roman Catholic.
22. (NR) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 31-2
The Knights were expected to be state-ranked season, but they played above expectations and captured the coveted CIFSS Open Division title with a win over No. 30 Etiwanda. Without a true big man, Montgomery was Southern California’s top-ranked team since the league portion of the season, but it caught up to it down the stretch when the perimeter players seemed to tire a bit. Montgomery had a hard-to-explain loss to Marin Catholic (which wasn’t even state ranked), but had a sterling in-state resume otherwise. The improvement and steady play of senior forwards Blake Miles and Christian Oshita complimented the play of All-American candidate Stephen Thompson Jr.
23. (38) DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 33-4
Arguably the nation’s most storied program hit a few bumps on the road, but ended the season on a high note by capturing the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the Maryland Private Schools championship and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational. Among four losses, the only team coach Mike Jones’ club didn’t defeat over the course of the season was No. 31 Sierra Canyon. That loss was offset by wins over No. 24 Roselle Catholic (69-45), No. 48 Pebblebrook and regionally ranked Chaminade of St Louis. DeMatha closed the season by beating WCAC rival St. John’s of Washington, D.C., 59-50, to capture its 22nd Alhambra title.
24. (5) Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 28-4
Besides a two game slide where they fell to Linden (which beat them two of out three) and No. 23 DeMatha Catholic back-to-back, the Lions played like one of the nation’s best teams, especially down the stretch. Roselle only lost to No. 1 Montverde by seven points (71-64) and capped its season by winning the New Jersey Tournament of Champions with a 57-45 victory over then FAB 50-ranked Pope John XXIII. The ringer leader for a program that won its second TOC in three years was Kentucky-bound point guard Isaiah Briscoe. He went for 27 points in the win over Pope John XXIII. Roselle defeated Paulsboro in the TOC semifinals, 103-34.
25. (NR) Western International (Detroit, Mich.) 26-0
The Cowboys had a storybook season with a great ending, as they captured their first state title ever (in Class A) with a 62-59 win over Arthur Hill of Saginaw. Senior guard Josh McFolley, bound for the University of Detroit, keyed the win over Arthur Hill with 19 points. Arthur Hall advanced to the state final with a 75-52 win over then FAB 50-ranked Muskegon. To put into perspective how happy Cowboys’ alums are, you have to go back to 1922 to find the last time the program won a PSAL title — or any title for that matter. Western International finished 6-13 last season.
26. (NR) Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Conn.) 28-0
Before a crowd of 9,059, the Hearts won their second consecutive Class S state title over the same team as last season, Valley Regional of Deep River. In this year’s 71-46 victory, junior forward Mustapha Heron went for 32 points while 6-foot-7 Malik Petteway added 22 points and 18 rebounds. The key win from a national perspective was a 64-51 victory over No. 36 Christ the King. Sacred Heart also beat Class L finalist Naugatuck 88-59 and, similar to Western International, is just too hard to ignore as an unbeaten state champ. The highest ranked team ever from Connecticut is Bassick of Littleton, which was No. 19 in 1989.
27. (10) Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) 26-4
Some scoffed when we began Wayne in the Top 10, but the Warriors showed what they could do by playing No. 1 Montverde Academy within five points (64-59) and taking No. 31 Sierra Canyon into overtime at the City of Palms Tournament. The Sierra Canyon loss and the two locally are offset by a win over No. 5 Findlay Prep (which at a time some credible polls had the Pilots No. 1 nationally) and by capturing the tough Ohio Division I state title with a 65-57 win over Westerville South. D’Mitrik Trice led the way in the title game with 19 points. This well-oiled machine and senior-laden group coach by Travis Trice, D’Mitrik’s father, nailed clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the program’s first ever state crown.
28. (NR) Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) 32-3
We knew the Lions were more talented than Western League rival Westchester, but the Comets had their number in recent seasons, so we wanted Fairfax to prove it. Fairfax proved it, defeating Westchester to win the first ever L.A. City Section Open Division title after splitting in league play. Fairfax’s big wins came over No. 30 Etiwanda in the CIFSS Open Regional semifinals and against No. 31 Sierra Canyon during the regular season. Led by L.A. City Section Player of the Year Lindsey Drew and flashy Lorne Currie Jr., junior guard Donald Gipson was the top outside threat, but he missed the regional final loss to No. 16 Mater Dei with an injured knee.
29. (BB) St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 28-2
Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley had a club that began the season just outside the FAB 50, but played well enough to slowly move up in the rankings. The Friars easily defeated The Patrick School (58-37) when that club was FAB 50-ranked, defeated preseason FAB 50 Long Island Lutheran of New York and PIAA Class A state champ Constitution of Philadelphia. The only thorn in their side was No. 24 Roselle Catholic. That club beat the Friars, four-time FAB 50 national champions under Hurley, two times by a total of seven points. The second one was a 56-52 setback in the Non-Public Group B championship game; the third consecutive year Roselle beat St. Anthony for that title.
30. (26) Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 24-9
The Eagles saw their season end with a 58-50 loss to No. 28 Fairfax in the SoCal Open regional semifinals. Etiwanda had a six-point halftime lead, but a lull in the third quarter turned out to be the difference. A five-point third quarter also turned out to be the difference in the CIFSS Open Division title game loss to No. 22 Bishop Montgomery. Led by Pepperdine-bound Kam Edwards, Etiwanda didn’t win its league title, but it defeated No. 16 Mater Dei in the section semifinals to hand the Monarchs only their third loss at their home gym.
31. (14) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 26-4
Considering the loss of sophomore forward Ira Lee to a shoulder injury before the first game, this underclass-laden team still played up to tremendous expectations. Sierra Canyon split with No. 30 Etiwanda, but lost to the Eagles when it mattered most in the CIFSS Open Division quarterfinals. It dropped the Trailblazers to Division V for the regional playoffs and they rolled to the CIF state title. Led by sophomore forward Cody Riley and junior point guard Devearl Ramsey, this team went 3-1 at the prestigious City of Palms Tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla.
32. (NR) Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 27-2
This year the Bulldogs moved to 3A after winning the state crown in 4A last year — and the results were the same. Garfield won the WIAA Class 3A state crown with a 66-51 victory over national power and cross-town Rainier Beach, which had captured the previous three 3A state titles. Talented sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell led the way for Garfield with 23 points against Rainier Beach, whom it beat two out of three times this season. Garfield’s other loss was to Bellevue, which lost twice to Rainier Beach.
33. (18) Archbishop Carroll (Wayne, Pa.) 23-7
The Patriots had a successful season and played in the range expected of them in the preseason. Don’t let the seven losses fool you — coach Paul Romanczuk’s club played a national schedule. Carroll’s losses to No. 31 Sierra Canyon, then FAB 50-ranked Villa Angela-St. Joseph of Cleveland and to Oak Ridge of Orlando, Fla., are offset by win over No. 11 Callaway, No. 34 La Lumiere and No. 38 Simeon. Carroll advanced to the Class AAA title game where it lost a two-point heart-breaker (69-67) to No. 10 Neumann-Goretti despite 30 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks from All-American candidate Derrick Jones. Jones was the ringleader all season long for a club that lost twice each to Goretti and No. 9 Roman Catholic.
34. (15) La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) 24-3
First-year coach Shane Heirman continued a winning tradition established by former coach and current New Mexico assistant Alan Huss. Led by All-American candidate Jalen Coleman, a guard headed to Illinois, La Lumiere successfully navigated an independent schedule with included plenty of games versus teams with fifth-year players. Losses to No. 33 Archbishop Carroll and Sunrise Christian Academy of Kansas were offset by wins over clubs such as Prolific Prep of Napa, Calif., and Dunbar of Dayton, Ohio.
35. (NR) Velma Jackson (Camden, Miss.) 33-2
Callaway got most of the national media attention among Mississippi clubs, but the Falcons put together a season worthy of national acclaim. They romped to the Class 3A state crown, defeating Aberdeen 76-38 in the title game behind Quinndary Weatherspoon. The Mississippi State recruit dominated with 28 points, nine assists and five rebounds. A senior-laden group won three consecutive state titles and split with No. 11 Callaway during the regular season. The second loss was by two points in overtime against Southwind of Memphis, Tenn.
36. (46) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 26-5
The Royals had high expectations entering the season and came up just one bad quarter short of meeting them. No. 21 Wing’s Academy trailed CTK 62-51 entering the fourth quarter of the New York Federation AA title game, but used a 18-2 spurt to roll to a 79-73 victory. The loss napped CTK’s two-year reign as federation champions. Coach Joe Arbitello’s club was led by star junior guard Rawle Alkins and turned heads with a 87-56 win over then FAB 50-ranked St. Rita of Chicago (which split with No. 38 Simeon) and went on to capture the CHSAA Class AA title with a 59-56 win over Xaverian of Brooklyn. Alkins may have played his last game for CTK, as he played varsity games as an eighth-grader in Florida and will need to be granted an eligibility waiver in order to remain part of the Royals’ program.
37. (BB) Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas) 34-4
One of the losses by the Tigers came against No. 19 Plano West by one point. Another was to No. 38 Simeon, which did not win a state title. They capped a run to the Class 5A state title with a win in the semifinals over 33-1 Andress of El Paso and then took down Ozen of Beaumont, 59-47, in the final.
38. (16) Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 28-4
Some of the local rankings in Chicago and Illinois have the Wolverines ranked much lower, but we are looking at their entire resume from a national perspective. They played a national schedule to offset some local defeats, including the one to Normal in the Class 4A super sectionals. Yes, Simeon did defeat No. 37 Lancaster, but that team won a state title so finishes ranked one spot higher. We have to ding coach Robert Smith’s club for losing to Normal, but can’t have them ranked below No. 39 Bishop Gorman, which it defeated 75-45. The Wolverines also notched a win over eventual Class 4A state champ and No. 20 Stevenson.
39. (4) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 27-6
The Gaels capped another dominant in-state run by defeating Palo Verde of Las Vegas, 74-54, to capture their record-tying fourth consecutive large schools state championship. Las Vegas Valley won four straight in the 1980s. Duke recruit Chase Jeter, the son of former UNLV player Chris Jeter, led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow McDonald’s All-American Stephen Zimmerman, a standout on all four state-title winning clubs, is the state Division I career leader in rebounds (1,097) and blocked shots (350). Similar to the Gaels’ football team, the hoops program is no longer judged by its results against Nevada competition. From a national perspective, the season was a mix big of results, with a tourney title at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic judged against losses to unranked Jesuit of Carmichael, Calif., and Putnam City West, Okla.
40. (NR) Apple Valley (Apple Valley, Minn.) 30-2
The Eagles won their second Class 4A state title in three years with a 64-61 victory over No. 41 Champlin Park, which was unbeaten and nationally ranked all season. Apple Valley also avenged one of its two losses. Tre Jones and Brock Bertram led the scoring in the title game with 12 points each. Tre is the younger brother of Duke guard Tyus Jones, who led the Eagles to their state title in 2013 and the Blue Devils to the 2015 NCAA title.
41. (NR) Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.) 31-1
There wasn’t much doubt the Rebels were the team to beat entering the Class 4A state playoffs. They were unbeaten, climbing toward the top 25 of the FAB 50, and had wins over Apple Valley, Cretin-Derham Hall and Hopkins. Since it was a close game in the 64-61 loss to Apple Valley in the final, it only makes sense for Champlin Park to be ranked one spot below the champs.
42. (BB) Cardozo (Bayside, N.Y.) 29-3
Coach Ron Naclerio’s Judges had another successful campaign despite falling to No. 21 Wing’s Academy in the PSAL AA title game, 50-46. Cardozo won the 2014 title while Wing’s captured its first-ever PSAL title. The only team on Cardozo schedule it did not defeat during the season was No. 36 and CHSAA Class AA champ Christ the King. The Judges split with Wing’s Academy and Construction of Queens.
43. (NR) Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) 33-1
It took a while for this senior-laden group to overcome its lone defeat to four-loss Centerville, Ohio, which lost to No. 27 Wayne in the Ohio Division I playoffs. Coach Jim Martin’s club proved to be FAB 50 worthy by capturing the Class 3A state title with a 66-57 win over regionally-ranked Sagemont of Weston and by defeating six teams that advanced to the Florida Final Four in their respective division. Had Providence not lost to Centerville (by just two points) it would have received strong consideration for a Dick’s Nationals bid.
44. (NR) Normal Community (Normal, Ill.) 33-2
The Ironmen made their mark on the state’s landscape for the season with their 64-50 win over national power Simeon of Chicago, which won four straight tiles between 2010 and 2013, in the Class 4A state supersectionals. They then won in the semifinals over Geneva before losing in the title game to FAB 50 No. 20 Stevenson. We had Normal No. 49 in the second-to-last rankings, but we had to give the state runner-up more credit for the win over Simeon and moved the two clubs closer together in the final rankings.
45. (NR) Blue Springs South (Blue Springs, Mo.) 29-2
Head coach Jimmy Cain’s team won its first state title with an impressive 71-57 triumph over Park Hill South in the first-ever Class 5 state final pitting two Kansas City schools against each other. Park Hill South won in its semifinal game over Chaminade of St. Louis, which was the state’s top-ranked team for most of the season and ranked No. 16 in the FAB 50 when it lost. Senior Brandon Kilgore led the Jaguars with 23 points in the state title game.
46. (NR) East (Wichita, Kan.) 24-1
A one-point loss to Wichita Heights (a team the Aces also beat) was all that prevented a perfect season and an even higher final FAB 50 ranking. In the Class 6A state final, East rolled past Lawrence, 58-43. Seniors Zach Jackson (16-.4 ppg) and Samajae Jones (15.6 ppg) topped the squad in scoring and both made the Wichita Eagle all-state team.
47. (NR) Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 28-2
Junior point guard Tahj Curry had a Steph Curry type game with 23 points and six assists in leading the Spartans to a 91-90 overtime win versus No. 50 Reitz in the Class 4A state championship. Homestead had to rally from eight points down with two minutes left in regulation to force overtime. It is the school’s first state title in boys basketball.
48. (NR) Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 26-6
The Falcons came oh so close to capturing a Class AAAAAA state title, falling to No. 12 Wheeler by a point on two made free throws. Still, Pebblebrook played a national schedule and even played No. 1 Montverde Academy tough, losing 69-61. Coach George Washington’s club lost to two unranked clubs and No. 24 DeMatha Catholic, but defeated No. 16 Mater Dei and lost in controversial fashion to No. 31 Sierra Canyon. Had Wheeler won a game at Dick’s Nationals, the Falcons would be closer to the top 40.
49. (NR) Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) 27-2
The Junior Jays topped Omaha South, 46-41, in the Class A state championship. It is the school’s 12th state title and second in seven years. The team’s only two losses were to Omaha South (avenged) and Bellevue West (avenged twice).
50. (NR) Reitz (Evansville, Ind.) 29-2
The Panthers only lost by one point in overtime in the Class 4A state final to No. 47 Homestead. Their only other loss was to Southport of Indianapolis, which didn’t get as far in the Class 4A playoffs. Senior Jaelan Sanford knocked down 20.6 ppg to lead the squad in scoring.
Note: The FAB 50 is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. 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 for the 1999-2000 season. We just completed our 16th consecutive season compiling boys basketball national rankings in a FAB 50 format. Senior consultant Doug Huff began the weekly National Prep Poll, precursor to the FAB 50, for the 1987-1988 season.