Amid the Coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the nation and causing much change in our daily lives, four states were able to conclude their state championships last week which causes movement and brings two newcomers to this week’s FAB 50 Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Many states decided to cancel the remainder of their receptive tourney, while others postponed with the hopes to resume play in the coming weeks. Is that realistic? Is this the final rankings of the season?
By Ronnie Flores
“Race against the clock” is a basketball phrase which means a team is battling back from a deficit but running out of time to complete the comeback. With the backdrop of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak sweeping the nation, that phrase meant state associations around the country trying in vain to complete their state championship events last week. While a sped-up clock went off on many state associations after the NBA shut down its season on Wednesday and the NCAA cancelled its 64-team tournament, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and New Mexico were able to complete their tournaments and crown state champions.
The LHSAA D1 final in Louisiana played without fans had an affect on the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, as then No. 29 Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) defeated then No. 50 St. Augustine (New Orleans), 66-39, to capture its fourth consecutive state crown and run its record to 126-11 in the past four season with Virginia recruit Reece Beekman on the club. Scotlandville won its seventh state crown in the past nine seasons and moved up to No. 29 in the FAB 50 this week. Outside of a loss to No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), the Hornets have dropped games to an unranked in-state foe and to bubble club McEachern (Power Springs, Ga.), which lost big to No. 27 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), so they came buzz up any further.
“Yes, it was very different (playing in those conditions),” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample told Ballislife.com. “I was just grateful we got the opportunity to play the game. Especially with this senior group. These guys were focused all year long and it showed that day. My hat goes off to my players. I was extremely proud of them. I’ll cherish this moment for a eternity. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
With St. Augustine dropping out after the crushing loss, two teams move in, one that won’t be able to finish its season and one in a state (Pennsylvania) that is hoping to complete it state tourney at some time. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has postponed its tourney and its top team, Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.), is back in the FAB 50 at No. 47. There is a minimal stoppage of two weeks for all activities effective March 12 and no new updates from the PIAA since then. Not only is the current pandemic affecting state tournaments, it’s putting spring sports in peril not only in the PIAA, but across the country.
One state that decided not to complete its state tournament, among many, was the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA). Its top-rated team, however, jumped into the FAB 50 this week as the top-ranked team in Class 6A, Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.), moves in at No. 50. The Huskies advanced to the state semifinals before the season was halted. With two games left on the table on its schedule, Blue Valley Northwest went unbeaten against in-state foes, losing only to Blue Springs (Mo.) in its first game and to FAB 50 No. 20 Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) by seven points (51-44) in its second game.
How Cancellations Affects The FAB 50
Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) is just one of many teams affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. For some, not being able to play in the final games of the season (in which theoretically would have been against some of its stiffest opponents) hurts the resume versus teams that were able to. Some tops teams had already finished its season, while others came to a abrupt halt.
We went over this in further detail earlier in the week in an article titled How Coronavirus Affects High School Basketball . To reiterate, in this week’s FAB 50 rankings we looked at teams not just based on what they accomplished in the past week but over the course of the season. We did that because we aren’t sure if there are going to be any more games played in 2019-20. On March 16, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) decided to cancel the remainder of its state tournament for Class 4 and 5, which includes bubble club Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), which had been fighting for a spot in the rankings for many weeks now.
The cancellations also hurt clubs such as Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.), which was having a historic season. An unbeaten Class 4A state crown would have pushed the Eagles up in the FAB 50 and the same goes for an Ohio Division I state champ. That OHSAA champ has been ranked high in the final FAB 50 in recent years and it would be a swoon for No. 19 Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) or No. 21 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) to finish the season with one loss and a state title, especially if it beat the other on the way to a one-loss season. As of now that tournament is postponed, which the OHSAA holding a press conference on March 19 with an update on its winter sports.
Teams whose seasons are technically still alive are noted with an asterisk (***) this week.
Will GEICO Nationals Be Held?
The big question for national high school basketball fans is whether or not GEICO Nationals will still take place at some point in the spring. The event was scheduled for Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) April 2-4, but has been postponed indefinitely. That is the event that would affect the top of the rankings the most, as it will include a minimum of seven teams within the Top 10 of the FAB 50 if all the invited teams accept an invitation to play. It would give us a good base to determine if any club can keep up with top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), if there truly is another great team among this year’s crop of elites, or if the Eagles are simply that good.
The plan of event organizers with Chicago-based Paragon Marketing Group (which conducts the tournament) is to tentatively move forward with the event sometime in late April or early May. Of course, that plan is dependent on our country’s state of current affairs surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Currently, more cities and counties are closing businesses until the end of March and mandating self-quarantines to try to combat the spread of the virus. Already, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending no gatherings of 50 or more throughout the United States for the next eight weeks. Should the rate of infections drastically slow in the next few weeks, perhaps the event can continue. If it doesn’t, that would be curtains on the 2019-20 season.
As the current host, No. 10 Dorman would be in our projected field along with top-ranked Montverde Academy. Our projections for the rest of the field would be No. 2 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), No. 5 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), No. 9 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and any combination of No. 6 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), No. 7 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) and Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.).
Should GEICO Nationals be played, we would come back at have an updated and final set of rankings following its conclusion, whenever that may be.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
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(Thirteenth poll of 2019-20 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 15; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***indicates season not complete)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||25-0***|
|2||2||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||27-2***|
|3||3||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||22-3***|
|4||4||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||29-3|
|5||5||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||19-6***|
|6||6||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||28-3***|
|7||7||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||23-3***|
|8||8||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||38-4|
|9||9||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||37-3***|
|10||10||Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)||30-1***|
|11||12||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||27-8|
|12||11||Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.)||28-0|
|13||14||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||22-3|
|14||15||Poly (Baltimore, Md.)||24-2***|
|15||16||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||25-3|
|16||13||Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.)||26-0***|
|17||17||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||30-4|
|18||19||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||29-1|
|19||18||Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||25-1***|
|20||20||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||31-3**|
|21||28||St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)||25-1***|
|22||26||Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)||24-7|
|23||24||Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas)||35-2**|
|24||22||Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)||30-4|
|25||23||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||25-10|
|26||27||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||29-3|
|27||28||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||30-2|
|28||25||St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.)||26-4|
|29||31||Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)||34-3|
|30||30||Jackson South Side (Jackson, Tenn.)||32-0***|
|31||29||Curie (Chicago, Ill.)||29-2|
|32||37||Lee (Montgomery, Ala.)||33-1|
|33||33||St. John's (Washington, D.C.)||24-9|
|34||34||Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.)||28-5|
|35||38||Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)||26-4|
|36||36||St. Mary's Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||21-1***|
|37||41||Starkville (Starkville, Miss.)||30-2|
|38||40||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||18-9|
|39||35||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||28-7**|
|40||39||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||25-8|
|41||42||Roselle Catholic (Roslle, N.J.)||21-7|
|42||32||Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)||25-2|
|43||43||St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)||22-5|
|44||46||Male (Louisville, Ky.)||30-4***|
|45||45||Rangeview (Aurora, Col.)||26-0|
|46||47||North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)||30-1***|
|47||NR||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||24-4|
|48||44||Beecher (Flint, Mich.)||20-2***|
|49||48||Del City (Del City, Okla.)||24-1|
|50||NR||Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.)||21-2|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 49 Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.), No. 50 St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.).
Bubble Teams: Amityville (Amityville, N.Y.) 23-2; Ankeny (Ankeny, Iowa) 21-5; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 22-5***; Bartow (Bartow, Fla.) 30-1; Bellaire (Bellaire, Texas) 29-7; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 24-3; Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor, Mich.) 20-2***; Blazer (Ashland, Ky.) 33-0***; Bogan (Chicago, Ill.) 28-3; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 20-5; Borah (Boise, Idaho) 22-5; Brandeis (San Antonio, Texas) 33-3; Brentwood (Brentwood, N.Y.) 23-2; Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.) 24-1; Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.) 18-1**; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 27-5; Central Pointe Christian Academy (Kissimmee, Fla.) 24-7; Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.) 21-1***; Cleveland (Cleveland, Tenn.) 33-1; Concord First Assembly (Concord, N.C.) 35-3; Davidson Day (Davidson, N.C.) 30-1; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 23-2; Desert Vista (Phoenix, Ariz.) 28-3; Dickinson (Dickinson, Texas) 32-5; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 25-4; Elizabeth (Elizabeth, N.J.) 24-4; Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) 29-2***; Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City, Texas) 33-5; Fremont (Plain City, Utah) 23-3; Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.) 22-3; Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 25-7; Hellgate (Missoula, Montana) 23-0; Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) 29-4; Huron (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 18-1***; Ironwood (Glendale, Ariz.) 28-2; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 24-2; John Paul II (Plano, Texas) 40-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 29-3; Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) 22-3; Manasquan (Manasquan, N.J.) 31-1; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 22-7; Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.) 24-6; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 26-5; Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) 32-3; Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 26-7; Niles Notre Dame (Niles, Ill.) 29-5; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 23-6; Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) 29-2; Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.) 20-7; Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) 22-8; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 20-1***; Rocky Mountain (Meridian, Idaho) 25-2; Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.) 30-1; Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) 29-4; Silver Creek (Sellersburg, Ind.) 25-2***; Southmoore (Moore, Okla.) 22-4; St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.) 31-2; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 29-4; Summer Creek (Houston, Texas) 34-6; Thornton (Harvey, Ill.) 32-1; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 22-5; West Memphis (West Memphis, Ark.) 26-4; Westover (Fayetteville, N.C.) 30-0***; Whitehaven (Memphis, Tenn.) 27-3; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 21-9; Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.) 27-1***; Yates (Houston, Texas) 26-4.
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. Starting with a weekly format for the 1987-88 season, the FAB 50 is the longest-running weekly national rankings.