NEW FAB 50: GEICO Nationals Yields New No. 1!

There is a new No. 1 in this week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com after all seven results from GEICO Nationals played out. Montverde Academy (Fla.) captured the end-of-season tournament for the second consecutive season and moved up a spot to No. 2 in the rankings. Taking over the top spot is Texas Class 6A champ Duncanville (Texas), which defeated the eventual GEICO champ during the regular season and moves up from No. 2. Check out our breakdown of how the season results played out to allow Duncanville to be No. 1. The first-ever State Champions Invitational (April 7-9) are the only games left for the 2021-22 season.

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast  | Ballislife Podcast Network | How To Create A High School March Madness |  State Champions Invitational Announced   | History of High School Team RankingsAll-Time No. 1’s

The field at the 2022 GEICO Nationals was balanced and deep and each of the eight teams believed it had a shot to capture the end-of-season tournament. The notion it was anyone’s tournament turned out to be accurate when top seed and then FAB 50 No. 1 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) was knocked off in the first round by No. 8 seed Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 59-56, behind a 3-pointer from the left corner with four seconds remaining by 2024 forward Zion Sensley.

With Sunrise falling in the first round, that opened the door for another team to overtake the Buffaloes as the top team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. That team would be determined by the results of the remaining games at GEICO Nationals after Sunrise Christian lost. The results paved the way for University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A state champ and last week’s No. 2, Duncanville (Texas), to take over the top spot in the rankings.

Then No. 3 Montverde Academy (Fla.) went on to capture the tournament title with a 60-49 victory over No. 4 Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) on Saturday afternoon at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla. Montverde Academy not only captured the tourney title for the second consecutive season and sixth time overall, but it was the one team in the field that would bolster Duncanville’s argument and strengthen  the Panthers’ resume to take over the top spot in the FAB 50.

Had Sunrise Christian captured GEICO Nationals, it would have remained at No. 1. If any other team besides Sunrise Christian or the Eagles won the event, the results would have been further scrutinized. Since the results dictate our rankings more than any other factor, the decision to put Duncanville in position to capture the FAB 50 national title wasn’t difficult.

Duncanville defeated Montverde Academy, 67-66, at Hoophall West in Arizona on December 9 on a buzzer beating 3-pointer by guard Aric Demings. Coach David Peavy’s club now has a resume that includes a head-to-head win over the team that bested the 2022 GEICO Nationals field. Montverde Academy capturing GEICO Nationals is still impressive and it does move up one spot behind the Panthers, but that wasn’t Duncanville’s only impressive victory. The Panthers also own a 75-70 victory over No. 5 Centennial (Corona, Calif.), a team that dominated the field in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) open division playoffs. The setback for the Huskies at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest was their only loss of an otherwise dominant season. Duncanville also defeated No. 26 McKinney (Texas) and No. 33 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.). In all, Duncanville defeated seven teams that were FAB 50 ranked at the time, including the team that is now No. 2 and was No. 1 at the time of the game when the Panthers were No. 5. Duncanville lost in overtime by two points (60-58) to Richardson (Texas) and that team got as high as No. 7 in the FAB 50. Duncanville defeated the McKinney team that knocked off Richardson in the state finals by 20 points (69-49). Sure, Duncanville would have loved to avenge the loss to Richardson, but the Panthers never fell behind Montverde Academy in our rankings and won the UIL playoff division that Richardson competes in.

Richardson, and others such as Centennial, certainly had the opportunity to be in the position Duncanville currently sits in. Montverde Academy’s overall resume also plays a role, as only one team in the top team is undefeated: No. 10 Weddington (Matthews, N.C.). Montverde split games with Sunrise Christian and defeated IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) in one out of three matchups.

Sunrise Christian falls to No. 3 this week and remains in front of Link Academy because it handed that club its only regular season loss, 74-65. We did give some thought to moving up Centennial to No. 3 or No. 4, but we gave Link Academy rankings credit for its post-season performance and the first-year club remains at No. 4 for advancing to the GEICO Nationals title game. GEICO semifinalist IMG Academy remains at No. 6 and Oak Hill Academy remains No. 8 despite losing in the first round to Link Academy, 81-67, in Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith’s final game. Oak Hill Academy owns a win over new No. 9 Roselle Catholic (N.J.).

Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), moves up two spots to No. 7 in place of La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), which lost in the first round at GEICO Nationals to IMG Academy, 76-51. La Lu remains in front of No. 12 Camden (Camden, N.J.) because it actually split with IMG Academy and played No. 2 Montverde Academy relatively tougher in two games than Camden did (52-40 loss). Calvary Christian is the highest ranked team still playing, as it opens the State Champions Invitational vs. No. 14 Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) on April 7 at 4 pm ET (ESPNU). The other semifinal at 6 pm ET (ESPNU) pits No. 31 Auburn (Wash.) vs. No. 48 Norcross (Ga.).

Regardless of its ranking circumstance, winning GEICO Nationals for a second consecutive season and sixth time overall was impressive for Kevin Boyle’s program at Montverde Academy, considering 2020-21 National Junior of the Year Jalen Duren left the program early to enroll at Memphis. Boyle’s best team in his 11 seasons at Montverde Academy didn’t get to play at GEICO Nationals because the event was cancelled because of COVID-19 in 2019-20. 

Duke-bound Dariq Whitehead did not make a 3-pointer and finished 5-of-17 from the field, but his pull up jump shot with 1:30 remaining gave Montverde Academy a 55-49 lead with 1:30 remaining in this year’s championship title with Link Academy. Junior forward K.J. Evans then hit a clutch 3-pointer from the wing with 37 seconds remaining as the shot clock winding down to give the Eagles a 58-49 lead. Whitehead finished with 14 points and six assists, while Evans had 11 points including three 3-pointers.

Montverde Academy also got big games inside from Texas-bound Dillon Mitchell, who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Malik Reneau, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Julian Phillips was Link Academy’s only double-digit scorer in the title game with 16 points and eight rebounds.

In its comeback 62-57 semifinal victory over IMG Academy to avenge the two regular season losses, Montverde Academy trailed 47-41 at the end of the third period, but outscored IMG Academy, 21-10, in a hotly contested fourth period. The Eagles got a 21-point game from Whitehead, including a jumper with 5:11 remaining that tied the game.

Link Academy defeat a short-handed Prolific Prep in its semifinal contest, 60-53, as McDonald’s All-American Jordan Walsh led three Lions in double-digit scoring with 17 points. Incredibly, Prolific Prep defeated then No. 1 Sunrise Christian in its first round matchup without the services of McDonald’s All-Americans Adem Bona (UCLA) and M.J. Rice.

Montverde Academy downed AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) in its GEICO Nationals opener, 72-63, as Reneau led five Eagles players in double-digits with 19 points and eight rebounds. Mitchell had 14 points and nine rebounds and averaged 13 ppg and 11.3 rpg after going for eight points and 13 rebounds in the semifinal win over IMG Academy. 

Walsh and Phillips, who both participated in Tuesday’s McDonald’s All-American. Game, combined for 43 points in Link Academy’s opening round win over Oak Hill Academy. Ohio St.-bound big man Felix Okpara added 12 points and did not miss a shot from the field.

Oregon St.-bound guard Jordan Pope had a monster game for Prolific Prep in its upset win over Sunrise Christian with 23 points including five 3-pointers. Sensley had two 3-pointers, including the closing dagger that shook up the rankings. Pope had 18 points in the semifinal loss to Link Academy.

AZ Compass Prep and FAB 50 bubble club Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) will join the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) next season. That makes AZ Compass Prep FAB 50 eligible in 2022-23. Sunrise Christian won the conference championship this season.

The NIBC is dominant on the national scene, but the results of the season puts a public school from Texas at No. 1. And it will remain No. 1 in next weeks’ final set of rankings for 2021-22.

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast  | Ballislife Podcast Network | How To Create A High School March Madness |  State Champions Invitational Announced   | History of High School Team RankingsAll-Time No. 1’s

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(17th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, April 3; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season not complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
12Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)35-1
23Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)22-4
31Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)25-2
44Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)34-2
55Centennial (Corona, Calif.)33-1
66IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)21-5
79Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)24-2***
88Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)33-8
910Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)29-2
1011Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)31-0
117La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)20-5
1212Camden (Camden, N.J.) 31-3
1313Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)37-1
1414Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)29-1***
1515Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)31-5
1616North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)27-3
1717Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)22-4
1818Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)30-1
1919Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)27-4**
2020Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)22-6
2121Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)26-3
2222Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)28-3
2323Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)26-2
2424Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)26-4**
2525Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)26-4
2626McKinney (McKinney, Texas)36-5
2727Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)36-3
2828Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.)32-0
2929Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)34-4**
3030Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)29-1
3131Auburn (Auburn, Wash.)27-2***
3232Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)28-0
3333Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)26-5
3434Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)32-7
3535Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)23-4
3636Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)32-1
3737St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)35-7
3838Neenah (Neenah, Wis.)29-1
3939Varina (Richmond, Va.)25-1
4040George Rogers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)37-1
4141Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.)27-1
4242Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)26-6
4343Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)25-4
4444Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)26-3
4545Columbus (Miami, Fla.)29-2
4646Westlake (Austin, Texas)38-2
4747Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)33-4
4848Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)26-6***
4949Williamston (Williamston, Mich.)27-0
5050Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.)29-0

Dropped Out: None.

Bubble Teams:  American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 16-12; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 21-8; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 34-7; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 36-3; Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) 21-9; Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.) 26-5; Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.) 29-1; Bristol Central (Bristol, Conn.) 28-0; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 25-3; Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 28-2; Carver Collegiate Academy (New Orleans, La.) 33-5; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 25-2; Chambers (Charlotte. N.C.) 22-7; Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.) 29-1; Christian Brother’s (St. Louis, Mo.) 26-6; Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.) 25-5; Curtis (University Place, Wash.) 27-3; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 32-4; Del City (Cel City, Okla.) 24-4; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 21-7; Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 26-6; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-6; Eagle Academy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 19-6; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 24-5; Fox Chapel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 27-2; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 25-1; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 20-7; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 18-12; Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.) 23-4; John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) 22-4; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 30-9; Kingfisher (Kingsfisher, Okla.) 28-1; King’s Fork (Suffolk, Va.) 24-1; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 28-4; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 31-1; Liberty (Liberty, Mo.) 24-3; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 19-7; Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.) 31-6; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 29-0; Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 36-5; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 22-8; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 28-6**; Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) 25-1; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 24-0; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 24-6; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 27-5; North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 26-2; Panther Creek (Cary, N.C.) 23-8; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 28-3; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 25-5; Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.) 27-3; Quaker Valley (Leetsdale, Pa.) 27-1; Raymond (Raymond, Miss.) 29-5; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 32-2; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 24-4; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 23-3**; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 22-4; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 25-4; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 30-7; The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 25-8; Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) 25-6; Tualatin (Tualatin, Ore.) 26-2; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 14-10; West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 23-5; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 26-10**; York Prep (Rock Hill, S.C.) 27-1; Zachary (Zachary, La.) 36-3.

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 22 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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