With Thanksgiving now a must-see weekend throughout the country, it's necessary to update our preseason national rankings following the holiday. The first edition of the 2019-20 FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com shows six new teams, including two from Georgia. Fast-risers include The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.), Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.). Our next set of rankings will be December 16.
By Ronnie Flores
Although some states have not yet opened up their 2019-20 campaign, Thanksgiving has become a must-see-hoops weekend across the country. Compiling the rankings 10 years ago, the results over Thanksgiving weekend were sporadic and not crucial. That's clearly not the case anymore, so it's a must to update the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the first time during the regular season.
The interest in high school hoops over the holiday reached its crescendo this year, as over 12,000 fans piled into American Airlines Arena in Dallas on Saturday evening to see four-time FAB 50 champion Monteverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), the nation's preseason No. 2 ranked team, and star-studded Sierra (Canyon, Chatsworth, Calif.), the No. 6 team, do battle as part of the Thanksgiving Hoopfest.
Montverde played twice at the two-day event (with a majority of the games played at Sandra Meadows Arena in Duncanville) and came away with two impressive victories. On November 29, the Eagles downed preseason No. 28 Duncanville (Duncanville), 84-51, as four players scored in double figures, including 17 for Mr. Basketball USA candidate Day'Ron Sharpe and 15 for Oklahoma St.-bound Cade Cunningham, one of the leading national player of the year candidates who was playing in his hometown for the first time in a Montverde uniform. The next night at American Airlines Arena, No. 33 Yates proved to be no match for Montverde Academy without its full strength lineup and fell, 98-46.
The Yates-Montverde Academy game was a bit anti-climatic as the last game of the event following the matchup between Duncanville and Sierra Canyon. Sure, many curious onlookers wanted to get a glimpse of Sierra Canyon freshman reserve Bronny James, the son of the Los Angeles Lakers' superstar LeBron James, and the other celebrities in tow, but the added bonus was a terrific game that came down to the wire. Sierra Canyon pulled out a 66-63 victory behind 24 points and 10 rebounds from senior transfer B.J. Boston and 12 points from sophomore Amari Bailey.
The demand was great enough to see James and Sierra Canyon, plus Cunningham and Montverde against a Texas power, that Thanksgiving Hoopfest tournament director Glenn Smith moved the event's final four games to the home of the Dallas Mavericks after tickets sold out in 48 minutes when first available. It's easy to see that where ever Sierra Canyon plays this season, it will draw an overflow crowd and that it's going to take a special effort to knock off Montverde Academy.
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Despite the two losses, Duncanville moves up three spots in the first regular season rankings, as it took No. 6 Sierra Canyon down to the wire and also owns a 85-78 victory over The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) at the Cornerstone Shootout. The Rock is this week's highest ranked newcomer at No. 30. The Rock's second loss is to No. 15 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), which also owns a 64-61 victory over the West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) club that the Lions defeated in Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA) play.
Georgia On My Mind
There are over 20,000 programs playing high school basketball day in and day out, which gives one an idea of just how tough it is to crack the FAB 50 and just how tough it is for even ranked clubs to defeat the very best teams such as Montverde Academy and defending FAB 50 champ IMG Academy. Among the top 20 preseason ranked teams, there has only been one loss so far: a 76-74 overtime setback by preseason No. 8 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) to Combine Academy (Matthews, N.C.). The Warriors, who drop to No. 16 in the first regular season update, get their rematch with Combine Academy on December 11.
The Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta is the other event that has really took Thanksgiving weekend to the next level and Georgia teams continue to fare well versus regional and national competition. Not every state has played games, but if early results are any indication Peach State hoops is among the highest level of ball being played night in and night among various state ranked teams.
There are five Georgia teams in the new FAB 50, as Class AAAAAAA No. 1 Tri-Cities (East Point, Ga.) and Class AAAA No. 1 Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.) join the mix. Woodward Academy defeated preseason No. 45 Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.), 67-62, in the title game of the Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of Champions in Washington, Ill. Millennium, which takes on Sierra Canyon this Saturday at Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz., drops two spots in the updated rankings.
McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) is now riding a 38-game winning streak and is up to No. 9 in the FAB 50. The Indians, which finished No. 2 in the final rankings last year in a close call behind IMG Academy, got 44 points from returning first five All-American Sharife Cooper in a 87-79 win over state ranked Mayfair (Lakewood, Calif.). In his next game, a 99-75 triumph over Windsor Forest (Savannah, Ga.), the Auburn-bound point guard finished with 52 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
The next FAB 50 update is scheduled for Monday, December 16 before the big holiday tournament tip-off around the country.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(First poll of 2019-20 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, December 1; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||1-0|
|2||2||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||2-0|
|3||3||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||1-0|
|4||4||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||1-0|
|5||5||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||0-0|
|6||6||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||4-0|
|7||7||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||3-0|
|8||9||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||4-0|
|9||10||McEachern (Power Springs, Ga.)||6-0|
|10||12||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||6-0|
|11||11||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||2-0|
|12||13||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|13||14||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||0-0|
|14||15||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||0-0|
|15||19||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||8-0|
|16||8||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||10-1|
|17||17||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||7-0|
|18||16||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|19||18||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||1-0|
|20||20||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||0-0|
|21||22||Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)||4-0|
|22||23||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||2-0|
|23||25||Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||1-0|
|24||29||Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)||5-0|
|25||28||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||5-2|
|26||30||Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.)||3-0|
|27||31||Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)||0-0|
|28||32||O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.)||0-0|
|29||40||Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.)||2-0|
|30||NR||The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.)||6-2|
|31||35||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)||0-0|
|32||36||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||34-5|
|33||39||Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)||0-0|
|34||27||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||5-2|
|35||34||Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)||0-1|
|36||BB||Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.)||4-0|
|37||37||Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.)||0-0|
|38||38||Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)||5-0|
|39||43||Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.)||1-0|
|40||41||Coronado (Henderson, Nev.)||0-0|
|41||NR||St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.)||1-0|
|42||42||Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|43||44||Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.)||1-0|
|44||49||Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.)||3-0|
|45||NR||Tri-Cities (East Point, Ga.)||5-0|
|46||NR||Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.)||8-0|
|47||45||Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.)||3-1|
|48||48||La Crosse Central (La Corsse, Wis.)||0-0|
|49||47||Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)||4-1|
|50||BB||Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)||1-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 21 Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.); No. 24 Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.); No. 26 Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.); No. 33 Yates (Houston, Texas); No. 46 Faith Family Academy (Dallas, Texas); No. 50 Marion (Marion, Ark.).
Bubble Teams: Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 4-0; Beecher (Flint, Mich.) 0-0; Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor, Mich.) 0-0; Bloom (Chicago Heights, Ill.) 4-0; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 0-1; Brooklyn Collegiate (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 2-0; Camden (Camden, N.J.) 0-0; Christian Brother’s (St. Louis, Mo.) 1-1; First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pa.) 4-1; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 0-0; Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 7-1; Guyer (Denton, Texas) 4-0; Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas) 2-2; Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.) 1-0; Madisonville-North Hopkins (Madisonville, Ky.) 0-0; Male (Louisville, Ky.) 1-0; Marion (Marion, Ark.) 2-2; Marshall County (Benton, Ky.) 1-0; Meridian (Meridian, Miss.) 6-1; Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) 0-0; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 1-0; Overland (Aurora, Col.) 0-0; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 3-1; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 4-0; Poly (Baltimore, Md.) 0-0; Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 2-0; Sanford School (Hockessin, Del.) 0-0; Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 0-0; Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) 8-0; St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 0-0; St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.) 0-0; Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.) 0-0; Wildwood Catholic (North Wildwood, N.J.) 0-0; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 5-0; Yates (Houston, Texas) 3-4.
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 20 years ago.