NEW FAB 50: Can Chino Hills Repeat?
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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Defending FAB 50 Mythical National Champ Chino Hills (Calif.) keeps on winning and climbing in the latest edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Results from around the country and previous events push the Huskies into the top five. There are seven newcomers this week including perennial FAB 50 contenders Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) and Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
By Ronnie Flores
When 2015-16 Mr. Basketball USA Lonzo Ball moved on to UCLA, the conventional thinking was Chino Hills (Calif.) would still have a nationally-ranked unit with its four other returning starters, but would drop a notch from the 35-0 national championship club. After last weekend’s rout of previous No. 50 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) at the Rolling Hills Prep State Preview Classic, Chino Hills upped its current wining streak to 58 games and talk of another CIF Open Division state title and possible repeat national title is beginning to grow louder.
It’s evident this year’s team has has more depth and the four returning starters have each improved their individual games, mostly noticeably Ball’s youngest brother, 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard La’Melo Ball. He’s taken over the reigns at the one quite nicely from his older brother, has grown physically and is doing a better job of getting by defenders and finishing at the rim than last season. He scored 33 points and dished out 15 assists in the 106-80 victory over Wasatch Academy in a game the Huskies controlled throughout.
Chino Hills now owns the fourth longest winning streak in California history, according to Cal-Hi Sports, and is eight victories from tying the reported state record of 66 held by Compton (1967-69). The victory also catapulted the Huskies into the top five, with a legit shot to keep climbing, after Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) ventured down to Florida this past weekend and captured the Montverde Academy Invitational over the host school. Many were shocked to see Brother Andre Noble’s club down the Eagles 57-48 in the title game to snap Montverde Academy’s 55-game home winning streak, but for our purposes all it did was move the Panthers up two spots in the latest edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com.
Imhotep Charter moved up to No. 6, one spot behind Chino Hills, as it took an early lead and never relinquished it in the title game. Sophomore Donte Scott scored a game-high 17 points and Rhode Island commit Daron Russell, one of the country’s most under appreciated talents, was named Tournament MVP. Imhotep defeated bubble club Rainier Beach of Seattle (79-50) and Florida’s Windermere Prep (80-54) to advance to the title game.
It was considered to move IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.) up a spot in front of Chino Hills, as that club has an impressive overall resume, but Chino Hills handled Wasatch Academy a lot easier than the Ascenders did when they defeated the Utah independent, 61-51, at the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts in a game that was in single-digits for a majority of the contest. Chino Hills led Wasatch Academy 60-35 at halftime and we also felt it was still necessary to keep IMG Academy behind Montverde Academy because of the head-to-head factor.
Chino Hills can tie the reported state record of 66 straight wins in the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals against a likely FAB 50-ranked foe and would attempt to break the mark in the section title game. It all holds to form that would likely be against FAB 50 No. 2 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.). Only by breaking the record and beating Sierra Canyon can Husky fans start seriously talking about a repeat FAB 50 title — if their favorite club can get by No. 12 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) this weekend at the Nike Extravaganza in Southern California this is.
That won’t be an easy task and since coach Steve Smith’s club already has three losses it can play loose and has plenty of incentive to win this upcoming game. Chino Hills is now considered the favorite and credit goes to its improved players, because that wasn’t the case in the preseason when this game was put on the schedule.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(Seventh poll of the 2016-17 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, January 29; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.)||18-0|
|2||2||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||19-1|
|3||3||La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)||20-1|
|4||4||Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)||20-3|
|5||7||Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.)||23-0|
|6||8||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||17-1*|
|7||5||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||20-3|
|8||6||IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.)||22-1|
|9||10||Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)||20-0|
|10||11||Klein Forest (Houston, Texas)||25-0|
|11||12||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||21-3|
|12||13||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||23-3|
|13||16||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||19-2|
|14||14||Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.)||12-0|
|15||15||McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)||21-0|
|16||18||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||23-5|
|17||19||Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)||20-2|
|18||20||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||23-1|
|19||28||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||14-3|
|20||25||Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)||20-0|
|21||26||Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||17-0|
|22||22||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||17-3|
|23||29||Houston Math, Science & Tech (Houston, Texas)||28-1|
|24||31||Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.)||15-0|
|25||30||Brentwood Academy (Nashville, Tenn.)||19-2|
|26||24||Garfield (Seattle, Wash)||15-3|
|27||9||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||17-3|
|28||35||Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)||23-2|
|29||33||Skyline (Dallas, Texas)||24-1|
|30||NR||Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)||26-3|
|31||34||Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.)||18-5|
|32||32||The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.)||22-0|
|33||36||Union (Tulsa, Okla.)||17-0|
|34||37||Newton (Covington, Ga.)||23-0|
|35||41||Linden (Linden, N.J.)||13-2|
|36||27||Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)||23-3|
|37||NR||Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)||14-1|
|38||NR||Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.)||17-2*|
|39||45||Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.)||20-0|
|40||40||New Albany (New Albany, Ind.)||16-2|
|41||42||Mae Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.)||22-4|
|42||46||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||13-2|
|43||43||The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.)||21-2|
|44||NR||Grand Rapids Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.)||10-0|
|45||17||Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.)||20-2|
|46||49||Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)||12-1|
|47||NR||Wagner (San Antonio, Texas)||26-1|
|48||23||Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)||23-2|
|49||NR||Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)||11-1|
|50||NR||Edwardsville (Edwardsville, Ill.)||18-1|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 21 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), No. 38 North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.), No. 39 Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.), No. 44 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), No. 47 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.), No. 48 St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.), No. 50 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah).
Bubble Teams: Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) 19-3; Apollo (Glendale, Ariz.) 20-3; Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 14-5; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 14-3; Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) 25-0; Birmingham (Lake Balboa, Calif.) 20-3; Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 14-7; Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 18-2; Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) 18-0; Brandon (Brandon, Miss.) 21-2; Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 21-0; Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas) 23-4; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 16-2; Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.) 19-3; Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 21-2; Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 20-2; East Lansing (East Lansing, Mich.) 12-0; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 15-1; Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.) 22-2; First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pa.) 12-2; Hillhouse, (New Haven, Conn.) 13-0; Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 12-1; Jackson (Massillion, Ohio) 14-1; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 14-4; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 16-2; Maple Grove (Maple Grove, Minn.) 13-1; McCallie School (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 23-3; Meridian (Meridian, Miss.) 20-2; Minneapolis North (Minneapolis, Minn.) 16-1; Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 15-3; Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 11-0; Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 12-6; Newark (Newark, Ohio) 17-0; North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) 14-3; Oak Ridge (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) 20-2; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 15-6; Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove, Utah) 15-2; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 14-4; Rindge & Latin (Cambridge, Mass.) 11-0; Rock Creek Christian (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 17-0; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 9-6; Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 19-2; St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 12-3; St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 17-4; St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) 8-2; Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 17-3; Tift County (Tifton, Ga.) 21-2; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 14-2; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 18-4; Wesley Christian (Allen, Ky.) 25-5; West (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) 15-1; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 17-6; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 16-5; William Allen (Allentown, Pa.) 18-0; Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 11-0; Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.) 20-2; Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 18-4.
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 17 years ago.