Final 2020-21 FAB 50: What A Season!

Two months ago we declared Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) the 2020-21 mythical national champion as the No. 1 ranked team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. But we still had to make sure we evaluated and properly placed all teams that played a spring season before we could release the final overall rankings. This will be our final edition of the FAB 50 for the 2020-21 season and for the second week in a row, results in the California playoff shake up the rankings, as Centennial (Corona, Calif.) finishes as the Golden State’s top-ranked team after previous No. 23 Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.) was upset in the CIF SoCal regional final by new No. 30 Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.). Montverde Academy captures its sixth mythical FAB 50 title in nine seasons.

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast |“On The Rise” Show | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness  | Final Southwest Region Top 20 | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 | Final East Region Top 20 | Final West Region Top 20 |  2020-21 Mr. Basketball USA | 2020-21 Underclass POYs

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finally wrapped up its season this past weekend with regional championships in Southern California. Of course the big one was the open division where Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.) was looking to make history as the first San Diego County team to play in the top division SoCal regional final back to 1982, when the modern CIF state finals were held for the first time.

Torrey Pines did reach the final with a 63-42 regional semifinal victory over Damien (La Verne, Calif.) that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates to set up the final game on its home court. Torrey Pines was looking to close its season 31-0 and with a historic regional championship that would have put this Falcons team in conversation with the greatest CIF San Diego Section teams ever. At the top of that list in the 1969-70 Helix (La Mesa, Calif.) team led by All-American Bill Walton (UCLA/NBA Hall of Fame) that finished 33-0.

In the other regional semifinal, unranked Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) exercised some demons by upsetting previous FAB 50 No. 32 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), 82-76, on the road to earn the program’s first win over the Trailblazers after five crushing defeats. Ironically, it was by the same score Sierra Canyon defeated Etiwanda by earlier in the seasons in a CIF Southern Section pool play game that knocked Etiwanda out of the national rankings. This time with junior Shy Odom missing the second half, even a terrific 37-point performance by junior Amari Bailey wasn’t enough for a Sierra Canyon team that walked a tight rope this post-season.

The team that Sierra Canyon fell to in the CIFSS open title game, Centennial (Corona, Calif.), opted out of the regional in order to participate in front of college coaches at Section 7 in Phoenix, Ariz. The underclass-dominated Huskies had a vested interest in the Torrey Pines-Etiwanda regional final because it had a head-to-head loss to the Falcons. If Etiwanda could pull off the road game upset, Centennial would finish as California’s No. 1 ranked team and the state’s highest in the FAB 50, even though it didn’t participate in the regional. Etiwanda, of course, didn’t make the section open final that Centennial won over Sierra Canyon.

With Etiwanda getting over the hump vs. Sierra Canyon and coming into the regional final loose and alot riding on the game for Torrey Pines, Centennial got the two outcomes it was hoping for. On Saturday night, Etiwanda played one of its best games of the season to knock off Torrey Pines from the ranks of the unbeaten to win its first ever SoCal Regional title. On Sunday afternoon after Centennial already knew that result and that it had done enough to finish No. 1 in the state, the Huskies won their fourth game at Section 7 to claim the tournament title in front of a throng of college coaches.

“Even though I thought Torrey Pines was going to win, I kinda of knew we were the No. 1 team,” said rising junior guard Jared McCain after scoring nine points to help his team defeat Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), 84-64, to win the All About People Division at Section 7. “Beating Serra Canyon was our goal and that was great. When we lost to Torrey Pines, we hadn’t jelled as a team yet.”

“We wanted to play Torrey Pines and it would have been great to beat them,” said rising junior guard Kylan Boswell, who scored 17 points against Bishop Gorman and got our vote as Section 7 MVP. “We wanted to play, Harvard-Westlake, too (after losing to them in pool play).”

As it worked out, Centennial rose seven spots in the final rankings as the only California team to crack the Top 25 at No. 22. Etiwanda, which ironically also lost to Harvard-Westlake, jumped into the rankings at No. 30 after its big win over Sierra Canyon and its 68-65 regional final win over Torrey Pines.

After each scored 20 points in the avenging win over Sierra Canyon, Tennessee-bound Jahmai Mashack (who is already taking a full college course load online) and senior Marcus Green had big outings versus Torrey Pines to close out their high school careers. Green had 22 points and Mashack added 21 for a team that lost to Sierra Canyon in heart-breaking fashion the season before in the same exact game right before the pandemic broke out.

Nick Herrmann led Torrey Pines with 24 points while St. Mary’s-bound Chris Howell added 18. Torrey Pines trailed 19-17 after a quarter and 44-27 at halftime, but started chipping away at its deficit before having an opportunity to potentially tie the game late. Torrey Pines trialed 67-62 with 30 seconds remaining, but some missed free throws gave the Falcons life. With .9 seconds remaining, Torrey Pines set up a shot for Herrmann curling towards the right corner, but he slipped and the Falcons never got a shot off.

“Our defense led to offense, and we got some easy baskets out of it,” said Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner, who won his first regional title after being 0-5 in regional finals prior. “I couldn’t be happier for the kids. Losing this game last hear broke our hearts and it was really devastating. I think all of us got stronger for it after it sat with all of us for over a year.”

There were three big ranking questions after the CIF concluded its season. Which team would be No. 3 from California in the FAB 50 between Torrey Pines and Sierra Canyon? Did all four California teams do enough to remain in the final rankings? Did any Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) team deserve to crack the FAB 50?

Torrey Pines get the nod as the third team from California in the rankings and drops to No. 32 in the final edition. Torrey Pines lost to Etiwanda while Sierra Canyon split with that same team. However, Torrey Pines defeated the Centennial team Sierra Canyon lost to in the CIFSS open title game. So Sierra Canyon didn’t win its section open title nor did it advance to the regional final. We determined Sierra Canyon had done enough to remain in the FAB 50, as its drops eight spots to No. 40. It does own a win over Etiwanda and defeated some talented teams in the CIFSS playoffs.

Lastly, after analyzing the results and rosters of OSAA teams and comparing them to the teams in the bottom portion of the rankings, we felt no team from Oregon would be able to crack the nation’s longest-running weekly national rankings. Oregon’s top teams just aren’t able to play other elite teams from outside the state or build a resume strong enough in its abbreviated spring season.

That season is actually not over, so the West Region Final Top 20 won’t be released until it is. The final regional rankings for our other traditional regions have already been released.

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast |“On The Rise” Show | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness |Final Southwest Region Top 20 | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 |  Final East Region Top 20 | Final West Region Top 20 | 2020-21 Mr. Basketball USA | 2020-21 Underclass POYs

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(27th and final poll of 2020-21 season; Through games played on Sunday, June 20; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Does not include results vs. out-of-season opponents)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)24-1
22Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)20-4
33IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)22-3
44DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)9-0***
55Camden (Camden, N.J.)13-0
66Milton (Milton, Ga.)28-3
77Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)22-1
88Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)18-7***
99Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)3-0
1010Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)29-1
1111Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)28-0
1212Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)21-3**
1313Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)26-3
1414Westlake (Austin, Texas)30-2
1515Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)27-2
1616Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.)19-0
1717Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)7-4
1818St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)25-2
1919Reading (Reading, Pa.)26-2
2020Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)14-1
2121Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)26-2
2229Centennial (Corona, Calif.)21-2
2322Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)21-9
2424Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)24-3
2525Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)19-1
2626Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa)16-2
2727Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)9-1**
2828Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)31-0
2930Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)28-3
30NREtiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)14-2
3131Victory Rock Prep (Bradenton, Fla.)27-6
3223Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.)30-1
3333Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)2-0
3434Clinton (Clinton, Miss.)21-1
3535Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)31-7
3636Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.)15-2
3737Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.)26-6
3838St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)15-1***
3939Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)28-2
4032Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)16-2
4140Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)22-1
4241Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)24-3
4342Manasquan (Manasquan, N.J.)12-0
4443Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.)25-1
4544Huron (Ann Arbor, Mich.)20-1**
4645Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.)21-1
4746North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)21-2
4847Wauwatosa East (Wausatosa, Wis.)23-3
4948Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)26-3
5049Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.)19-2

Dropped Out: Previous No. 50 St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.).

Editor’s Note: No bubble clubs are included in the final FAB 50, as the final 2020-21 Top 20 Regional Rankings include all the teams considered for the bubble.

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 21 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronnie@ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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