Final, Expanded 2018-19 FAB 50 Rankings!
National Grassroots Editor
Ronnie has evaluated basketball talent for 20 years and has over 15 years of experience in publishing, editing and managing high school sports websites for companies such as Student Sports, ESPN and Ballislife. Ronnie compiles the FAB 50 National Team Rankings while serving as an account manager and consultant for grassroots event run by Ballislife and other companies, in addition to serving as a color commentator on high school broadcasts.
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All 50 ranked teams written up with explanations for why they were placed in these positions with comparisons to preseason ranking. The FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com is the official rankings of the National Sports News Service, which date back to the 1952 season. IMG Academy of Florida is the 2018-19 mythical national champion, the first ever for the program and the second ever for a program from the state following Montverde Academy as the Southeast Region continues its dominance.
Compiled by Ronnie Flores
RELATED: All-Time FAB 50 No. 1s | Final East Top 20 | Final Southeast Top 20 | Final Midwest Top 20 | Final Southwest Top 20 | Final West Top 20 | Each State’s Highest Ranked Team (1988-2019) | FAB 50: All-Time Preseason No. 1’s | Final 2017-18 FAB 50 | Final 2016-17 FAB 50 | Final 2015-16 FAB 50 | Final 2014-15 FAB 50 | Final 2013-14 FAB 50 | Final 2012-13 FAB 50
Note: Preseason ranking in parenthesis; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates default wins/losses not included; ***Indicates foundation games not included.
1. (4) IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 31-1
The Ascenders made most of their second appearance at GEICO Nationals, winning three games over teams that came into the event ranked FAB 50 top 10: No. 9 Sunrise Christian Academy (65-50), No. 3 Montverde Academy (74-73) and previous No. 1 La Lumiere (66-55). This year’s roster and most of the coaching staff was not around in 2017 when IMG Academy lost in the first round, but coach Sean McAloon and his players used that GEICO loss as motivation. Those three victories gave the Ascenders six victories over teams that finished in the Top 12, as compared to two for No. 2 McEachern. It was a close decision but the quality of victories and the nature in which the Ascenders closed their season give them the nod for the No. 1 spot over the Indians. Junior Jayden Springer (15.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg) averaged 21.3 ppg in the three GIECO victories and was surrounded by elite talent across the board, including point guard Noah Farrakhan (7.4 ppg, 4.5 apg), Villanova-bound Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (17.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg), North Carolina-bound Armando Bacot (14.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Arizona-bound Josh Green (16.6 ppg, 4.0 apg). Robinson-Earl, Bacot and Green are the first trio of teammates ever named McDonald’s All-Americans.
2. (16) McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 32-0
The Indians completed a magical season with a CHSA Class 7A state crown, which eluded them the previous two seasons and prevented a high final ranking. McEachern defeated No. 41 Meadowcreek in the state final, 62-54, as point guard Sharife Cooper battled foul trouble to finish with 20 points, while Auburn-bound Isaac Okoro finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. McEachern’s season included titles at the City of Palms Classic and the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, not to mention eight victories over FAB 50 ranked teams. The highest ranked team it ended up beating (No. 5 Mountain Brook by a 50-29 margin) was the one team that IMG Academy lost to. That was a significant positive in McEachern’s resume, and at least one long-time poll did move the Indians up to No. 1 after GEICO Nationals even though it didn’t play, but it wasn’t enough for them to be elevated in the FAB 50. While IMG Academy defeated No. 3 La Lumiere and No. 4 Montverde Academy and No. 8 DeMatha Catholic, the next highest ranked team the Indians beat was No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy. McEachern beat them in overtime, while IMG beat them 65-50. Regardless it was a terrific season for coach Mike Thompson’s club and had it decided to enter GEICO Nationals and won the tournament, there’s little doubt McEachern would have challenged 1978-79 Southwest (Macon), the only Peach State club to finish No. 1 in the country, for the title of greatest team ever from Georgia. As it stands, McEachern is the state’s highest-rated ever team in the FAB 50 era.
3. (6) La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 30-1
The Lakers were gunning for their second GEICO Nationals crown in three years (they finished No. 2 in the FAB 50 in 2017), but their goal of an unbeaten mythical FAB 50 crown came up one game short. La Lumiere simply did not shoot well enough from the field to hold off IMG Academy’s stable of athletes and perhaps depth also played a role (four starters played 32 minutes in that GEICO Nationals Championship Game loss). That game essentially was for the FAB 50 crown, as the Lakers defeated No. 10 Oak Hill Academy, 58-57, in the GEICO Nationals semifinals and needed two overtimes to outlast No. 23 Bishop Gorman, 74-69, in the quarterfinals. The Lakers defeated Bishop Gorman earlier in the season, 67-54, pounded No. 8 DeMatha Catholic, 73-50, at the Hoophall Classic, defeated No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy, 74-52, and had a close scare (53-52) against No. 28 Wasatch Academy. Led by Washington-bound Isaiah Stewart (18.1 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg) and leading scorer, Kentucky-bound Keion Brooks (20.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg), La Lumiere’s two biggest regular season victories came against No. 4 Montverde Academy. Although its ultimate goal came up just one game short, La Lumiere had another terrific season as it reached the title game of GEICO Nationals for the third time in four seasons.
4. (1) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 22-3
The top-ranked team in the preseason and the 2018 FAB 50 national champions, Montverde was one quarter away from getting an opportunity to play for another mythical national crown. The Eagles had a 16-point lead entering the fourth quarter against IMG Academy, but didn’t handle the Ascender’s full-court press well and lost the game on missed jumper that led to a long rebound and the game-winning fast-break dunk by IMG Academy’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl with five seconds remaining. The gut-wrenching 74-73 loss prevented the Eagles from making the GEICO Nationals title game for the eighth time in nine appearances. The only other losses for the Eagles came against No. 3 La Lumiere. Led by McDonald’s All-American Precious Achiuwa (14 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and top-notch junior Cade Cunningham (11.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.5 apg), Kevin Boyle’s deep club defeated nine teams that finished in the final FAB 50, including No. 6 Ranney School (89-51) and No. 9 Sierra Canyon.
5. (28) Mountain Brook (Mountain Brook, Ala.) 31-3
It was a terrific season for the Spartans, who get credit and move up one spot in the final rankings for their signature win over top-ranked IMG Academy. That win came in the City of Palms Classic quarterfinals and prevented a McEachern-IMG Academy game. McEachern went on to defeat the Spartans, 50-29. Mountain Brook did lose twice to non-FAB 50 ranked clubs, but in addition to the IMG game, Mountain Brook also receives ranking credit for its wins over No. 41 Meadowcreek, regionally-ranked Memphis East (Tenn.), Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Olive Branch (Miss.), in addition to winning its third straight AHSAA Class 7A state crown. The mainstay on all three state title clubs is All-American power forward Trendon Watford, who had 38 points and 12 rebounds in the win over IMG Academy and averaged 23.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.6 apg and 2.5 bpg. The 1988-89 LeFlore of Mobile team is the highest ranked ever in the FAB 50 era at No. 4.
6. (13) Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.J.) 31-3
The Panthers had high expectations going into the season, and they met them, capturing the program’s first-ever New Jersey Tournament of Champions crown. The Panthers defeated regionally-ranked Bergen Catholic in the title game, 67-63, as coach Tahj Holden’s program overcame an early 12-point deficit to become the Shore Conference’s first program to win the TOC. Phillip Wheeler had 14 points, six rebounds and three steals in the title game and ringleader Scottie Lewis had 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Florida-bound Lewis teamed with good friend and fellow McDonald’s All-American and Villanova-bound Bryan Antoine to lead the Panthers to two victories over No. 16 Roselle Catholic, which won the 2018 TOC crown. Ranney School also handed No. 13 South Central its only loss in the title game of the John Wall Invitational and defeated No. 30 Federal Way at the Hoophall Classic. Lewis averaged 17.5 ppg and Antoine, the NJ.com Player of the Year, averaged 21.6 and finishes his career as the Shore Conference’s all-time scoring king (2,499 points).
7. (NR) Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 29-0
It seemed the Fighting Crusaders lost too much firepower to attain a high preseason FAB 50 ranking, but a strong group of seniors exceeded expectations and finished with a higher ranking than last year’s state title club that lost only to three FAB 50 ranked teams and finished No. 16. This time around, coach Carl Kremer’s club did not lose a game, and repeated as OHSAA Division I state champions with a 52-49 victory over regionally-ranked St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron. Senior forward Alec Pfriem came up big with 19 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Miles McBride added 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. Pfriem also had a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in the 72-52 state semifinal win over St. Edward of Lakewood. Moeller is the first unbeaten Ohio D1 champ since Zanesville in 1995 and ended the season riding a 49-game winning streak. McBride, a West Virginia recruit and the lone returning starter off the 2018 team, averaged 14.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 4.1 apg for a balanced team that captured an out-of-state tourney title but was unable to climb any higher in the rankings because of its lack of victories over FAB 50 ranked foes.
8. (3) DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 33-5
Often teams from the powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) are tough to rank because they focus on the winning the WCAC Tournament title, and then have to quickly jump right into various state tournaments against many of the same teams. The result is quality teams tending to beat up on each other, making it hard for them to rise in the rankings towards the end of the season. DeMatha won the Maryland Private Schools state crown and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational and moved up four spots in the final rankings because of what transpired at GEICO Nationals. The two finalists in that event were the only two non-WCAC losses for coach Mike Jones club, as it fell to top-ranked IMG Academy (73-67) and No. 3 La Lumiere (73-50). Led by WCAC tri-POY Justin Moore (18.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.1 apg), the Stags defeated No. 20 Guyer, No. 42 Roman Catholic and No. 19 Paul VI three times, including a 60-51 victory at Alhambra. The legendary program split with No. 22 Gonzaga and Bishop O’Connell and defeated St. John’s College three out of four times this season.
9. (8) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 32-3
The Trailblazers played right to the level expected of them in the preseason, but had to drop a spot in the final analysis because two of its losses came by wide margins to the Montverde Academy team that lost in GEICO Semifinals (whereas DeMatha lost to both finalists). After losing its final regular season game to No. 39 Rancho Christian after giving up the final 13 points of the game, Sierra Canyon stepped up in the CIF Southern Section and SoCal open playoffs, and blew out regionally-ranked Sheldon of Sacrament, 76-52, in the CIF Open championship game. Coach Andre Chevalier’s club defeated No. 12 University School and beat No. 35 Mater Dei in the SoCal open final after defeating regionally-ranked Westchester of Los Angeles in the regional semifinals. That win somewhat avenged the loss to Rancho Christian because Westchester beat the Eagles in the previous round of the playoffs and Sierra Canyon actually beat the Comets twice. Point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. was (16 ppg, 6 apg) was a steady force all season long and named league MVP, while K.J. Martin (17 ppg, 12 rpg, 3.5 bpg) was huge on both ends of the floor in the wins over Mater Dei and Sheldon. From beginning to end, however, shooting guard and Duke-bound Cassius Stanley (19 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg) was Sierra Canyon’s best player because of an improved feel and jump shot.
10. (2) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 33-5
The Warriors drew up the exact play they wanted at the end of their GEICO Nationals semifinal game versus No. 3 La Lumiere, as star guard Cole Anthony drew the defense into the key and shooting guard Cam Thomas got a clean look at a corner 3-pointer. It was just off and the Lakers held on for a 58-57 win. Oak Hill opened the event with a 79-72 victory over then No. 13 Wasatch Academy as Anthony (18.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 10.2 apg) had 30 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony missed the 72-67 loss to top-ranked IMG Academy and a few other games to injury, but his presence made no difference in the 76-51 loss to No. 4 Montverde Academy. Thomas (26.4 ppg) and center Kofi Cockburn (13.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg) also made big impacts for the Warriors. Making its tenth GEICO Nationals appearance to close the season, Oak Hill offset losses to No. 33 Imhotep Charter and regionally-ranked Teays Valley Christian Prep (Scott Depot, W. Va.) with a victory over No. 46 Dorman, as head coach Steve Smith upped his all-time record to 1,141-77.
11. (17) Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 23-6
The Buffaloes fully expected to be one of the best independent teams in the country and they accomplished just that, earning their first invitation to GEICO Nationals. Sunrise fell to eventual tournament champion and FAB 50 No. 1 IMG Academy, 65-50, in the quarterfinals. Coach Luke Barnwell’s club actually might have been most impressive in defeat, losing to then No. 1 La Lumiere by a single point and to final No. 2 McEachern in overtime. Barnwell scheduled aggressively and it produced wins over No. 12 University School, No. 18 Duncanville, No. 20 Guyer and No. 33 Imhotep Charter with No. 28 Wasatch Academy and No. 4 Montverde Academy accounting for the other two losses to FAB 50 ranked foes. Guard Grant Sherfield averaged right around 17 ppg, as did N’Faly Dante, who added 10 rpg and 4 bpg and made his presence known as one of the top junior big men in the country.
12. (5) University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 27-5
The Sharks had high expectations for this season and from a local perspective, they met them by capturing their second consecutive FHSAA Class 5A championship in dominant fashion. From a national perspective, it was more of a mixed bag, as University School had its ups and downs versus FAB 50-ranked foes. Coach Jim Carr’s club defeated No. 25 Gonzaga Prep and No. 26 Vashon, but fell to No. 33 Imhotep Charter and four teams ranked ahead of it: No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy, No. 9 Sierra Canyon, No. 4 Montverde Academy and top-ranked IMG Academy. The 65-57 loss to Montverde Academy came in the first round of GEICO Nationals, whereas the team met in the event title game 2018 behind the dominant play of Vernon Carey Jr. The Duke-bound big man and two-time state Mr. Basketball suffered from an ankle injury in the post-season this year, but last year’s National Junior of the Year was still able to post 21.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg, The Sharks will be strong once again in 2019-20 with the return of wing Scottie Barnes (14.5, 7.4 rpg, 5.8 apg) and brothers Jace and Jett Howard, the sons of former NBA player Juwan Howard who came on in the post-season.
13. (NR) South Central (Winterville, N.C.) 30-1
It was a historic season for the Falcons, as they captured their first NCHSAA state title in impressive fashion. Coach Chris Cherry’s club defeated West Charlotte 72-46, the largest margin of victory in a Class 4A title game. This came after a 70-50 semifinal victory over a Millbrook of Raleigh team that was FAB 50 ranked for a portion of the season and came into the game with only one loss to Leesville Road of Raleigh. South Central defeated Leesville Road, 68-45, in the semifinals of the John Wall Invitational before falling to No. 6 Ranney School, 63-58, in the title game. South Central went unbeaten against Carolina opponents behind the inside play of center Day’ron Sharpe, a first team all-state choice who averaged 15.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and 2.2 bpg. Senior guard Shykeim Phillips was also a keg cog, averaging 16.5 ppg and 3.6 apg.
14. (11) Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) 26-3
Led by a stellar senior backcourt, the Matadors went on a historic run, capturing four consecutive Arizona Interscholastic Association state titles (and five in the past six seasons). The fourth came courtesy of a 64-38 Class 4A victory over Deer Valley of Glendale, as Shadow Mountain dominated in-state competition in recent years. The victory over Deer Valley was its 90th in its prior 91 outings versus Arizona opponents dating back to 2015, with the only loss coming this season against No. 47 and Class 6A champ Pinnacle on a buzzer-beater by All-American Nico Mannion. The ringleaders were Arizona-state bound Jaelen House (21.6 ppg, 5.7 spg) and Grand Canyon-bound Jovan Blacksher (16.6 ppg, 3.5 spg), whose teamwork, quick hands and feet, and intensity led to countless big wins the past three seasons, including this season over No. 17 Belleville West and No. 19 Paul VI with the other two losses coming against No. 2 McEachern and regionally-ranked Memphis East of Tennessee. Blacksher (455) and House (591) combined to terrorize offenses to the tune of 1,046 steals over 116 career games (9.0 spg) while leading Shadow Mountain to a 105-11 mark.
15. (BB) Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 26-1
The Greyhounds captured the IHSAA Class 4A state crown with a 60-55 victory over regionally-ranked Ben Davis of Indianapolis. It was a team effort as four players hit for double figures, led by freshman standout Peter Suder with 14 points and Butler-bound senior John-Michael Malloy with 13 points. Coach Ryan Osborn’s club advanced to its second consecutive state title game with a dominant 71-42 semifinal victory over Penn of Mishawaka, as Malloy netted 16 points and the defense held Penn’s best scorer to seven points. Carmel is the highest-ranked team on the FAB 50 bubble in the preseason and it had plenty of motivation after falling to unbeaten Warren Central in last year’s title game, 54-48. Warren Central finished No. 10 in last year’s FAB 50 and the only thing preventing a similar or higher finish for Carmel was a 52-50 loss to Brownsburg.
16. (26) Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 28-4
The Lions were gunning for their fourth New Jersey TOC crown in seven season, but came up short when they lost to No. 6 Ranney School in the NJSIAA Non-Public B championship game. It was Roselle’s second loss of the season to the eventual TOC champions. Roselle only had one bad outing all season, losing to Norcross (Ga.), 75-55, at the Hoophall Classic, with the only other loss coming against No. 4 Montverde Academy. Behind McDonald’s All-American Kahlil Whitney, the Lions won a second consecutive Union County Tourney title, defeated No. 34 Gill St. Bernard’s twice and regionally-ranked Bergen Catholic. The Kentucky-bound Whitney averaged 18.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg, while guard Josh Pierre-Louis provided top notch perimeter defense while averaging 14.2 ppg and 3.4 apg.
17. (22) Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.) 34-4
The Maroons came into the season with high expectations and met them, capturing their second consecutive IHSA Class 4A state crown. In the final, Belleville West defeated regionally-ranked Evanston, 71-59, as it took control of the game in the second half behind 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from Ohio-St. bound E.J. Liddell. Will Shumpert added 21 for the Maroons. In the semifinals, the Maroons were even more impressive, routing No. 44 Curie, 70-48, as Liddell had 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four block and two steals and Shumpert had a game-high 19 points. Belleville West did lose to No. 14 Shadow Mountain and had a two-game losing streak as Liddell nursed an ankle injury, but also owned a win over No. 26 Vashon and split games with Class 3A champ East St. Louis. By winning back-to-back state championships, Liddell joins Illinois prep legends Shaun Livingston, Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker as the lead players on back-to-back IHSA major division state championship teams.
18. (BB) Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 32-7
A team that just missed the FAB 50 in the preseason, the Panthers hovered around .500 (7-7) early in the season. Then it began to click for Duncanville and finished its season playing like a FAB 50 champion. The talented individual parts came together and the team realized it could get to where it wanted if senior guard Jahmius Ramsey led the way. The result was where Duncanville felt it should have been all along, with a UIL Class 6A state crown in tow. Duncanville downed regionally-ranked clubs North Shore of Houston (semifinals), 63-56, and Klein Forest of Houston (championship), 73-69, at the UIL Final Four. Klein Forest get off to a hot start, but junior Micah Peavy kept the Panthers in the game with 15 first half points. Ramsey picked up where Peavy (22 points) left off in the first half, scoring 17 of his 19 points in the second half. Duncanville defeated No. 20 Guyer in the Region I final in overtime, 66-62, in a game between Texas’ top two-ranked teams as Ramsey scored 26 points. Ramsey, who netted 34 points in the regular season win over Guyer, helped his team close on a 25-game winning streak by averaging 18.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 2.9 apg.
19. (9) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 27-9
Sometimes coaches and fans feel WCAC clubs get the benefit of the doubt in the rankings, so Paul VI’s resume should help them understand the true talent and depth of the programs in the conference. The Panthers lost their two best players to ACL injuries within their first couple of games, but turned out to be good enough to play at the level expected of them in the preseason. Without Virginia Tech-bound Anthony Harris and top-notch junior Jeremy Roach, coach Glenn Farello’s club went 18-2 in WCAC play and recorded wins over No. 21 St. Frances Academy, handed No. 24 Nicolet its only loss of the season and played No. 2 McEachern and No. 4 Montverde Academy close. In conference play, No. 8 DeMatha was the only club Paul VI didn’t defeat, as the young club defeated No. 22 Gonzaga three of four times. Picking up the slack for the missing pieces was sophomore Trevor Keels, one of the three WCAC Players of the Year, and freshman point guard Knasir McDaniel.
20. (15) Guyer (Denton, Texas) 32-5
The Wildcats had a terrific season and were a tough out nationally, but came up just short of their goal, falling in overtime to No. 18 Duncanville, 66-62, in a Class 6A regional final. The Wildcats had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining, but two missed free throws by De’Vion Harmon sealed their fate. Without the star guard headed to Oklahoma, however, Guyer would have never been in that position in the first place, as he averaged 20.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 5.0 apg. He was part of one of the nation’s best 1-2 punches along with Oklahoma-bound forward Jalen Wilson, who sported averages of 18.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 3.0 apg. The only other Texas team Guyer lost to was in overtime to No. 36 Mansfield Timberview, the eventual Class 5A state champion. Guyer lost to No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy (71-55) and No. 8 DeMatha Catholic (60-53) while owning a key 80-62 victory over No. 23 Bishop Gorman.
21. (21) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) 37-7
The Panthers had a few more losses than projected, but they finish in their preseason ranking spot after closing out the season strong. Coach Nick Myles’ club lost to Mt. St. Joseph twice in Baltimore Catholic League play, but came back to beat the Gaels, 77-61, in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A title game behind 28 points and six assists from junior Adrian “Ace” Baldwin and 23 points from Jamal West. St. Frances Academy also won the BCL title, 71-68, over Goretti of Hagerstown. The Panthers defeated Goretti three out of four games, No. 22 Gonzaga and regionally-ranked Memphis East, but fell to the WCAC clubs ranked ahead of them: DeMatha Catholic and Paul VI. Baldwin led this deep and talented team that had four double-digit scorers with a 14.1 ppg and 5.6 apg, while West averaged 12.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg.
22. (30) Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 28-9
The third WCAC in this year’s final rankings gets credit for defeating No. 23 Bishop Gorman at the Cancer Research Classic, splitting with No. 8 DeMatha Catholic and beating No. 19 Paul VI one out of four times. In coach Steve Turner’s mind, his club got the win its needed over the Panthers with a 63-55 victory in the WCAC semifinals. Behind 20 points from junior forward Terrance Williams and 19 points from senior guard Anwar Gill, Gonzaga recorded a 60-56 victory over St. John’s College in the WCAC title game. In its next game in the DCSAA playoffs, the Purple Eagles fell to St. John’s, but had already beaten their WCAC rivals three times earlier in the season. Behind the play of Williams (17.9 ppg, 8 rpg) and Gill, Gonzaga went 15-5 in conference play and beat the Mt. St. Joseph team No. 21 St. Frances lost to twice. Gonzaga did lose to St. Frances at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational, but was able to win its third WCAC title since 2015.
23. (14) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 28-5
The Gaels had high expectations after winning the NIAA Class 4A state title in 2018 with primarily sophomores and freshmen. They move up in the final rankings after giving GEICO Nationals finalist La Lumiere a major scare before falling in double overtime, 74-69. Gorman can’t quite get back to its preseason position, because of a 80-62 setback to No. 20 Guyer, but now that the young players are becoming upperclassmen, the Gaels will not only be heavy favorites to win their ninth consecutive NIAA crown in 2019-20, they should contend for national championship accolades. Gorman’s best wins this season include a 61-39 victory over No. 39 Rancho Christian, a key 54-52 win over No. 25 Gonzaga Prep and a triumph over cross-town Findlay Prep. Four starters and key reserves return, including leading scorer Noah Taitz (15.6 ppg), center Isaiah Cottrell (15.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 4.3 bpg) and catalyst Zaon Collins (9.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 6.8 apg, 2.7 spg).
24. (46) Nicolet (Glendale, Wis.) 27-1
The Knights had a terrific campaign, concluding it with a 67-52 win over Washington of Milwaukee in the WIAA D2 state title game. Nicolet won its first state title in memorable fashion, with highlight plays and a double-double from junior forward Jalen Johnson. The Associated Press Wisconsin Player of the Year had 20 points and 20 rebounds, while fellow junior forward Jamari Sibley also had a big game with 23 points. Nicolet had a bulls-eye on its back all season after Johnson (20.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 6.1 apg) and his younger brother Kobe, a sophomore, transferred in and it did not have any letups against in-state competition. Nicolet’s only loss came against No. 19 Paul VI, 80-69, at the National Hoopfest in Washington, D.C., one game after downing St. John’s College of Washington, D.C., 62-60
25. (42) Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.) 25-2
The Bullpups started the season ranked lower than No. 30 Federal Way because of that club’s incoming talent and loaded schedule. In the final analysis, however, Gonzaga Prep once again found a way to get it done when it mattered. It defeated Federal Way, 61-53, in the WIAA Class 4A state semifinals behind 21 points from junior guard Liam Lloyd and 10 points, 12 rebounds and four assists from big man Anton Watson. The game was highly-anticipated after the Bullpups defeated Federal Way by two points in last year’s Class 4A state title game and coach Matty McIntyre’s club had to stay focused after the big win to complete the quest of a second consecutive state crown. Gonzaga Prep turned a close game with Mount Si of Snoqualmie into a rout with a 20-6 third quarter advantage as Watson dominated action in the 69-43 victory with 33 points on 16-of-19 field goals, eight rebounds and four assists. The Bullpups went unbeaten in-state this season, losing only to No. 12 University School and No. 23 Bishop Gorman. Including last year’s unbeaten run to the state crown when G-Prep finished No. 36 in the FAB 50, Watson (21.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.6 apg) only lost six games in his four-year career.
26. (34) Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 25-5
The Wolverines had high expectations and met their season goals against a challenging schedule. Led by MSHSAA Class 3A Player of the Year Mario McKinney, Vashon won the state title with a 69-59 victory over Springfield Catholic, as the Wolverines shot over 50 percent from the field and forced 20 turnovers. The Missouri-bound McKinney scored 23 points, top-notch junior forward Cam’Ron Fletcher had 19 and junior guard Phillip Russell added 17. The win erased the memory of last year’s playoff disappointment, as the program has now won three state titles in the past four seasons. Vashon did lose to the Illinois Class 4A (No. 17 Belleville West) and Class 3A (regionally-ranked East St. Louis) champions, but did defeat No. 27 Long Island Lutheran (63-59) and No. 28 Wasatch Academy (70-58) at the Montverde Academy Invitational.
27. (33) Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 23-2
Perhaps no team in the country was as motivated to win a state title as the Crusaders were after losing in last year’s title game in crushing fashion. LuHi was assessed a technical foul with 8.3 seconds remaining, in a tie game and with possession of the ball, for calling a timeout the scorer’s table and game officials believe it didn’t have but was later proved it did. This time around, coach Jon Buck’s team left no doubt, defeating Christ the King of Middle Village in the New York State Federation Class AA title game, 51-31. LuHi got a terrific defensive team effort and 23 points from junior guard Andre Curbelo to win the program’s first AA title after winning seven in Class A, the last in 2012. In the semifinals, the Crusaders downed regionally-ranked South Shore of Brooklyn, 77-53, as Curbelo had 31 points. Led by Curbelo and veteran big man Essam Mostafa, LuHi defeated South Shore during the regular season and also downed No. 34 Gill St. Bernard at the Metro Classic. The Crusaders fell to No. 26 Vashon and the unranked team it fell to was Charlotte Christian of North Carolina.
28. (10) Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 26-4
The Tigers qualified for GEICO Nationals for the third time in program history, but are still searching for a win at the event after falling to No. 10 Oak Hill Academy, 79-72, after having a hard time slowing down All-American guard Cole Anthony. Under first year coach David Evans, Wasatch Academy only lost to FAB 50 ranked foes, including then No. 1 La Lumiere by one point (53-52) and to No. 26 Vashon. The rout (71-47) at the hands of No. 39 Rancho Christian is off set by a 65-53 victory over No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy. Evans (who guided Lone Peak of Utah to national prominence) used multiple lineups with the mainstays including Minnesota-bound Tre Williams (15.6 ppg) and junior forward Maddy Sissoko (12.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg).
29. (NR) Southwest Guilford (High Point, N.C.) 32-0
A magical season nearly turned into a nightmare when senior guard Christian Martin went in for a dunk and came down awkwardly hard during the Class 3A West final versus Cox Mill of Concord. That unfortunate incident aside, the 88-58 state semifinal win over the two-time defending state champs was arguably the Cowboys’ best win of the season, as Cox Mill spent plenty of weeks FAB 50 ranked. The Cowboys rallied around their injured teammate to win a second state title in three years with a 67-60 victory over Walter Williams of Burlington. The Cowboys won the Class 4A state crown in 2017. Martin was placed in a medically induced coma and awoke on the same day of the state championship victory. He eventually went home at the end of March. Jay’Den Turner had 29 points, six steals and five rebounds in the win over Cox Mill, while Keyshaun Langley had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the title game with Joel Pettiford contributing 18 points.
30. (31) Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.) 26-3
The Eagles were about as good as predicted in the preseason, but came up short of their goal of avenging last season’s close Class 4A state finals loss to No. 25 Gonzaga Prep. Federal Way fell to the Bullpups in the state semifinals, 61-53. The Eagles had a 47-43 lead entering the fourth quarter, but scored only six points in the final period, as star forward Jaden McDaniels and talented junior Tari Eason both fouled out. McDaniels, a McDonald’s All-American, also battled major foul trouble at the Tarkanian Classic where the Eagles defeated eventual CIF NorCal Open champion Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) and eventual CIF D1 champ Chino Hills (Calif.) before falling to No. 39 Rancho Christian in the semifinals, 76-57. The Eagles’ other regular season loss came against No. 6 Ranney School (73-63) at the Hoophall Classic.
31. (BB) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 34-4
It was a terrific season for coach Zach Ferrell’s independent club, as it captured the National Association of Christian Athletes D1 championship courtesy of a 65-53 victory over Southwest Christian Academy (Little Rock, Ark.). Unfortunate news came after the season when it was announced the school would close its doors due to financial constraints. That means six talented underclassmen on the roster will have to find new homes next season. HHCA was able to go out as a nationally-ranked unit because of quality victories over regionally-ranked Bearden of Knoxville and Huntington Prep of West Virginia, splitting games with regionally-ranked Memphis East and recording an avenging win over No. 32 Legacy Early College. Coach Ferrell’s club lost in overtime to the Teays Valley Prep of West Virginia club that owned a win over No. 10 Oak Hill Academy. HHCA was led by a pair of juniors: point guard Jordan Rawls (23.0 ppg, 6.4 apg, 2.4 spg) and wing Samson Ruzhentsev (17.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 spg).
32. (NR) Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) 34-5
Another independent club that closed strongly was the Lions, which captured the USA National Prep Tournament in South Carolina with a 55-44 victory over regionally-ranked Teays Valley Prep of West Virginia, a club it beat in two of its final four games of the season. Similar to No. 31 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, coach B.J. Jackson’s club also defeated Huntington Prep of West Virginia and was also able to avenge an early loss to Quality Education Academy of North Carolina. Legacy Early lost to No. 28 Wasatch Academy by a large margin (82-53), but made up for it by defeating Hillcrest Prep of Arizona in the USA National Prep tourney semifinals and splitting Hamilton Heights Christian Academy. HHCA won the return match so the Lions naturally come in one spot lower in the final rankings. The team was led by 6-foot-7 forward Jalyn McCreary (18.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 6-foot-11 center Rodney Howard (10.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg).
33. (7) Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 27-6
With a senior-oriented club, it comes as no surprise the Panthers finish FAB 50 ranked after capturing their third consecutive PIAA Class 4A state crown. After all, coach Andre Noble’s club finished No. 4 in the 2017 FAB 50 and No. 13 last season. This year, the Panthers came in second place in District 12 behind Bonner-Prendergast after losing 59-57 in overtime, but came back to beat the Adrian Wong-led Friars 67-56 in the state title game. Imhotep Charter’s other loss to an unranked club came against Patrick School of New Jersey. The Panthers were able to make up for those losses and the one to No. 42 Roman Catholic by recording wins over No. 10 Oak Hill Academy, No. 12 University School and No. 50 Kennedy Catholic in overtime. The Maryland-bound Scott, who played a major role in all three title-winning clubs, led the way in the title game versus Bonner-Prendergast with 20 points, as Imhotep Charter has now won 15 consecutive PIAA playoff games and seven overall state titles.
34. (NR) Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 26-5
The Knights didn’t close out their season with a state crown, falling to No. 16 Roselle Catholic, 48-44, in the North Jersey, Non-Public B finals. Gill St. Bernard had a chance to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds, but Roselle Catholic McDonald’s All-American Khalil Whitney made a terrific defensive play on standout guard Paul Mulcahy. Although Gill St. Bernard’s has lost to Roselle Catholic in three consecutive section finals and seven straight contests, it was still a terrific season for coach Mergin Sina’s club, which deserves rankings credit for being the only Jersey club to defeat No. 6 Ranney School. The Knights only lost by two points (53-51) to No. 27 Long Island Lutheran and behind the play of Mulcahy led the program to four Somerset County Tournament crowns. The Rutgers-bound guard averaged a Russell Westbrook-like 18.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 10.1 apg this season.
35. (48) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 29-5
No. 9 Sierra Canyon was fairly dominant in its run to a second consecutive CIF open state title, but it gives Monarchs’ fans hope for next season that their young club gave the Trailblazers two tough playoff games, including a 83-73 loss in the SoCal open final. Mater Dei cracked the preseason FAB 50, but we took a cautious approach in rising it too fast, especially after it fell to unranked Whitney Young of Chicago, 67-61, at the Chicago Elite Classic and was upset by Camarillo (Calif.). Mater Dei doesn’t quite have a signature win like No. 34 Gill St. Bernard, but was able to split the Trinity League title with the St. John Bosco team it lost to during the regular season and recorded an avenging win over the Braves in the post-season. With a good group of shooters led by sophomore point guard Devin Askew, the Cal-Hi Sports State Sophomore Player of the Year, Mater Dei also beat regionally-ranked Bishop Montgomery and Centennial of Corona in the post-season.
36. (NR) Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 38-2
The Wolves didn’t fare too well at the long-running Whataburger Tournament, falling to No. 18 Duncanville (79-49) and losing the third place game to regionally-ranked San Antonio Wagner (70-68). Those results were long-forgotten after Mansfield Timberview avenged the loss to Wagner in the UIL Class 5A state title game with a 77-64 victory and Duncanville went on to win the Class 6A crown. Senior guard C.J. Smith led the way in the state title game with 24 points, as the Wolves blitzed Wagner to open the game, taking a 22-3 lead, then holding on at the end. Four players scored in double figures for Mansfield Timberview, which ended the season on a 19-game winning streak but can’t climb any higher in the rankings due to its lack of FAB 50 victories and the margin versus Duncanville. It was the second crown in three years for the Wolves, which finished No. 13 in the Southwest Region Top 20 in 2017.
37. (NR) Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 30-1
The Yellowjackets completed a successful season by capturing the MHSAA Class 6A state crown with a 61-46 victory over Meridian. Coach Greg Carter’s deep and versatile club erased the memory of last year’s semifinal loss to Columbus, which went on to beat Meridian for the state crown. The Yellowjackets had three players in double figures, as 6-foot-4 junior forward Zeke Cook scored a game-high 15 points, 5-foot-9 senior Tyler Talley added 12 points and 6-foot-4 senior forward Atavius Jones had 11. Starkville lost its only game to eventual Class 6A semifinalist Tupelo by two points in overtime at the All-American Shootout, but the Yellowjackets stormed back to beat the same club, 69-45, at Travis Outlaw’s Slam Dunk at the Hump. Starkville concluded its season riding a 22-game winning streak and gets rankings credit for one of those triumphs coming against No. 43 Center Hill. That was a 63-62 win at the Tangle on the Trail against a team that eventually won the Class 5A state title.
38. (NR) Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 31-1
The Pride were riding along at No. 7 in the FAB 50 when they were shocked by Modesto Christian, 56-55, in the NorCal open regional semifinals. In the CIF’s open era, Salesian drops to 0-5 all-time. After losing James Akinjo (Georgetown) to graduation, Salesian exceeded preseason expectations because of its team-first approach and terrific defense, spearheaded by twin all-state guards Jaden and Jovon McClanahan, who both averaged double figure scoring and just man-handled perimeter ball-handlers. Salesian is able to finish FAB 50 ranked because it actually split with Modesto Christian, defeated No. 44 Curie, No. 46 Dorman and downed eventual NorCal open champion Sheldon of Sacramento, 77-59.
39. (24) Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) 25-6**
Similar to No. 38 Salesian, Rancho Christian’s season ended in disappointment, but you can’t just discount the quality victories against one of the nation’s toughest schedules. The only difference between the Eagles and Salesian was the expectation level coming in. With the Mobley brothers in the lineup, the Eagles were one of the favorites to capture the CIF open state title. Senior Isaiah Mobley, a McDonald’s All-American who averaged 22 ppg, 13 rpg and 4 apg, and junior Evan, the Riverside Press Enterprise Player of the Year who averaged 19.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.7 bpg and 3.3 spg, led Rancho to many quality victories. Rancho Christian defeated CIF D1 champ Chino Hills twice, beat regionally-ranked Memphis East in West Memphis, Ark., No. 47 Pinnacle, No. 30 Federal Way, No. 28 Wasatch Academy, and No. 9 and CIF Open Champ Sierra Canyon. Those terrific wins were offset by setbacks to No. 2 McEachern, No. 4 Montverde Academy, unranked Santa Margarita and playoff losses to regionally ranked clubs Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) and Westchester (Los Angeles).
40. (NR) Haverford School (Haverford, Pa.) 28-0
The Fords needed overtime to preserve their first PAISAA title, defeating talented Westtown School of West Chester, 67-62. Haverford School trailed until taking its first lead of the game, 55-54, with 2:42 remaining in regulation and defeated a team that bested No. 42 Roman Catholic. Freshman Jameel “Milzy” Brown led the way with by scoring 24 points and nailing six 3-pointers. Leading scorer Christian Ray and Jameer Nelson Jr. added 17 points for the Fords. According to tedsilary.com, coach Bernie Rodgers’ club became the first team from the Inter-Ac League to finish unbeaten since Friends Central of Wynnewood in 1939. Brown did step up in the title game, while Ray was the leading scorer in 24 of the 28 victories, with a game-high of 36 two times.
41. (BB) Meadowcreek (Norcross, Ga.) 26-6
The Mustangs were highly considered for a preseason FAB 50 berth and actually defended their first-ever GHSA Class AAAAAAA title admirably, advancing to the championship game before falling to No. 2 McEachern, 62-54. Ironically, coach Curtis Gilleylen’s club finished with the identical won-loss record it did last year when it was No. 19 in the FAB 50. Meadowcreek defeated Norcross twice and club owned a victory over No. 16 Roselle Catholic. One of the wins over Norcross came in the Region 7 AAAAAAA tournament, 46-44, and Meadowcreek also defeated highly-regarded South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) at the Holiday Hoopsgiving. The Mustangs lost to No. 28 Wasatch Academy (75-67) and to No. 5 Mountain Brook by a point (45-44). The Mustangs’ leaders were the senior perimeter trio of Jalen Benjamin (16.6 ppg, 3.2 apg), Jamir Chaplin (14.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Damian Dunn (12.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
42. (45) Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 26-5
Some of the Cahillites’ faithful were unhappy with their team’s preseason position despite their status as the defending PIAA Class 6A champions, but our preseason forecast turned out to be in range as Roman Catholic fell in the 6A playoffs to La Salle College of Wyndmoor, 55-47. Coach Matt Griffin’s club defeated La Salle College twice earlier in the season, including in the Philly Catholic League title game. It’s not easy to judge Roman’s complete body of work because it played in the state playoffs without talented junior Lynn Greer III, who left in the off-season to Oak Hill Academy and transferred back in late October. Roman Catholic lost to the Westtown team No. 40 Haverford School beat, lost to Independence (Charlotte, N.C.), the Bonner-Prendergast team No. 33 Imhotep Charter split with and to No. 8 DeMatha. Led by St. Joe’s bound senior Hakim Hart (21.1 ppg), Penn St.-bound Seth Lundy, Greer and freshman big man Jalen Duren, the Cahillites defeated Imhotep Charter, Norcross (Ga.) and highly-regarded Archbishop Wood of Radnor.
43. (NR) Center Hill (Olive Branch, Miss.) 31-3
The Mustangs are the second team from the Magnolia State to land in the FAB 50 after a terrific season in which they captured the MHSAA Class 5A state crown. Coach Newton Mealer’s club defeated cross-town Olive Branch 75-73, in a highly-charged game and against a pro-Olive Branch crowd that, according to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, sported t-shirts with “.03” written on them. Center Hill lost to then FAB 50-ranked Olive Branch twice during the regular season, and the t-shirts represented the time on the clock when Center Hill hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat its rival in the District 1-5A title game, 49-48. In the state title game, Center Hill was led by IUPUI-bound point guard Calvin Temple, who sat out last season per MHSAA transfer rules, netted 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Besides Olive Branch, the Mustangs only lost to No. 37 and eventual Class 6A state champion Starkville, 63-62. Four players averaged in double figures for a team that also defeated regionally-ranked Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Sapulpa (Okla.), led by Temple (21.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.4 apg) and junior center Decorian Payton (15.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg).
44. (NR) Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 34-2
The Condors had an ultra-successful season, finishing in third place in the IHSA Class 4A tournament, defeating Rockford East (63-55) after losing in the state semifinals versus red-hot No. 17 Belleville West. Curie’s perimeter oriented lineup had trouble offensively finding the basket in a game pitting the defending state champions from down state versus the No. 1 ranked team from Chicago. Dajuan Gordon had eight points less than his average, leading Curie with 10 points in the 70-48 loss. Although the margin of error in the state semis was rather large, the Condors deserve to remain in the FAB 50 by winning the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, the Red-South/Central title and coveted Chicago Public League crown courtesy of a 65-60 victory over regionally-ranked Morgan Park. Led by the Kansas St.-bound Gordon (17.8 ppg), Mike Oliver’s club beat Class 3A champ East St. Louis in overtime (88-81) and CPL power Simeon twice, with its only regular season loss coming in Kentucky versus No. 38 Salesian.
45. (BB) Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 26-2
One of the top two ranked Oklahoma teams in the preseason along with Tulsa Memorial, the Hornets lived up to their preseason billing by capturing the OSSAA Class 6A state title with a 82-70 victory over Putnam City North. Junior Trey Phipps, the son of second-year Booker T. Washington coach Conley Phipps II, had a career game at the most opportune time, making 10-of-15 field goals, including 8-of-12 3-pointers, and 14-of-15 free throws to lead the Hornets in the state title game and deliver the historic program their record 16th state crown. The Hornets’ only two losses of the season were to Edmond Santa Fe and Sapulpa (which lost to No. 43 Center Hill), the latter which is the program Phipps coached at in 2016-17 with his freshman son in the lineup. The 6-foot-1 Phipps (18 ppg) is committed to Tulsa and forms half of a potent backcourt combo featuring Gatorade State Player of the Year Bryce Thompson, who averaged 19.6 ppg and 5.2 apg and went for 12 points and eight assists in the state title game. Tulsa Memorial ended up winning its third consecutive Class 5A state crown and finished No. 9 in the Southwest Region Top 20.
46. (NR) Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 28-3
The Cavaliers put on a defensive clinic in capturing their third consecutive Class 5A state crown and will be the favorite for a fourth consecutive in 2019-20. In the 46-39 state title game win over Berkeley of Moncks Corner, Dorman held the Stags to 36 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers. In five post-season games, Dorman gave up an average of 40 points per game. Coach Tom Ryan’s club handed Class 3A champ Keenan of Columbia its only loss and fell only to Charlotte Christian (ranked No. 33 in the FAB 50 at the time), No. 10 Oak Hill Academy and to No. 38 Salesian, the latter which probably cost Dorman a few spots in the FAB 50 by faltering in the post-season. The Cavaliers were led by a pair of juniors in guard Myles Tate (17 ppg, 5.4 apg) and forward P.J. Hall (14.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg), whose interior presence was missed in the losses to Oak Hill Academy (75-59) and Charlotte Christian (71-53) because of injury.
47. (BB) Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.) 28-3
The Pioneers had one in-state letdown versus Mountain Pointe, 76-59, but perhaps Charlie Wilde’s club had a bit of a hangover after handing four-time AIA Class 4A state champ Shadow Mountain its only loss versus an in-state foe in its last 91 outings the game prior. Pinnacle won that contest, 82-80, on a long, buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Nico Mannion, the 6-foot-3 guard bound for Arizona who averaged 24.6 ppg and scored 2,095 points in his three-year varsity career. Mannion led Pinnacle to back-to-back Class 6A state crowns, including a 83-64 victory over Chaparral of Scottsdale in this year’s title game in which the West Region’s best point guard went for 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Besides Mountain Pointe, the other two losses came against No. 39 Rancho Christian at Hoophall West and versus No. 35 Mater Dei during a holiday tournament.
48. (NR) Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 35-2
The Hornets captured their third consecutive LHSAA Division I state crown courtesy of a 73-53 victory over St. Augustine of New Orleans. Junior Reece Beekman was named state title game MVP for the second year in a row after scoring 28 points (8-of-12 shooting) and dishing off nine assists. Scotlandville had to replace 2018 All-American Javonte Smart (LSU) and junior Tai ‘Reon Joseph, who scored 26 points in the state title game, was one of three new underclass starters who stepped up in a big way. Scotlandville, which lost to Wright of New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic and to Walker and doesn’t have a senior starter, will be gunning for its fourth consecutive state crown, its fifth in sixth years and seventh overall in 2019-20 under coach Carlos Sample, which has led the program to 10 consecutive state title games. All-stater Beekman averaged a triple-double (21. 9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 10.2 apg, 3.6 spg) while Joseph ( 19.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and junior Carvell Teasett (18.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg) are two other honors candidates for next season.
49. (BB) Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 27-4
The Royals defeated Lakeville North, 55-40, to capture the Class 4A state title, the program’s second in four years. Hopkins lost only one game in 2015-16, beating Lakeville North in that year’s state title game and finishing No. 21 in the FAB 50. Kerwin Walton had 17 points, Arizona-bound Zeke Nnaji had 14 points and 12 rebounds Dane Zimmer had 21 rebounds to lead the way in this year’s state championship game for a program that has now won eight state titles since 2002 and 10 overall. Nnaji, a 6-foot-11 forward, was named metro player of the year by the Minneapolis Star Tribune after averaging 24.1 ppg and 9.4 rpg for a team that had its lowest scoring output of the season in the state title game.
50. (50) Kennedy Catholic (Hermitage, Pa.) 27-3
It wasn’t easy, but the Golden Eagles were able win their fourth consecutive PIAA state crown with a 64-62 double overtime victory over Pennridge of Perkasie. Leading the way for Kennedy Catholic versus Pennridge was McDonald’s All-American big man Oscar Tshiebwe, who had 16 points, 21 rebounds, nine steals, six blocks and several key plays on both sides of the ball down the stretch. The key play by Tshiebwe was a blocked shot that sailed out of bounds with 0.8 seconds remaining in double overtime that sealed the program’s first Class 6A state crown after dominating Class A the past three seasons. The only in-state loss for coach Rick Mancino’s club was in overtime to No. 33 Imhotep Charter (69-67). Kennedy Catholic was able to avenge a loss to St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) with a 73-64 win at the BK Classic in Erie, Pa. Tshiebwe averaged 23.4 ppg and 18 rpg while earning Gatorade State POY laurels and was nicely complimented by Duquesne-bound guard Maceo Austin, who netted a team-high 19 points in the state title game victory.
Note: The FAB 50 powered by Ballislife.com is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 19 years ago.