NEW FAB 50: Historic Endings!

There aren’t any newcomers in this week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, but plenty of change as state championship games were decided all over the country this past weekend. Roselle Catholic (N.J.) records historic win over previous No. 10 Camden (N.J.) to win the final New Jersey Tournament of Champions crown, while previous No. 11 Centerville (Ohio) goes down in the Ohio D1 state title game to fast-rising Pickerington Central (Ohio). State titles still to be determined in Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, while the season continues after that with GEICO Nationals and the first-ever State Champions Invitational.

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

Just as no ranking is set in stone until the final edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, no championship is secure until the final whistle.

Centerville (Ohio) entered last weekend’s Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division I Final Four at the University of Dayton Arena as the prohibitive favorite and with an unbeaten record. The Elks took apart St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio), 64-33, in the semifinals and entered the final against then No. 43 Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) with a 29-0 record and No. 11 FAB 50 ranking. Pick Central was a battle-tested club that figured to give the Elks a much tougher test than St. Ignatius.

Pick Central did much more than give the Elks a good game.

The Tigers led 21-17 at halftime and started the second half with a 10-0 run and eventually got their lead to 33-22. Centerville fought back and trailed 38-36 at the end of the third period, but were outscored 19-14 in the final period as Pick Central won its second OHSAA state championship with a 55-48 victory. In the process, the Tigers ended the Elks’ bid for an unbeaten season and snapped their 45-game winning streak. Centerville got as close as 42-41 on a jump shot by Gabe Cupps, but got no closer in a game played without a shot clock.

Junior Devin Royal led Pick Central with 20 points, four rebounds and two assists, while senior Josh Harlan added 11 points. Cupps led Centerville with 14 points, while fellow senior Rich Rolf added 12 points and seven records. As a result of winning its first state title since 2011-12, Pick Central moves up 19 spots in this week’s FAB 50 to No. 24. As for Centerville, the Elks drop 20 spots to No. 31.

As national rankings compilers, we are going to miss the New Jersey Tournament of Champions conducted by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). The NJSIAA decided to end the unique end-of-season tournament to decide an ultimate champion among state champions by an overwhelming vote last November. The thought process behind the decision is the season is extended too long for the benefit of a few, whereas adding a week earlier would benefit more student-athletes. The event started with a victory by one of the best high school teams of all-time (1988-89 St. Anthony of Jersey City) and has produced some memorable games over the years.

For Camden (N.J.) and junior D.J. Wagner, winning a TOC title was a season-long goal. The Mr. Basketball candidate had never won the TOC in his time at The High and Camden was the last public school to win the TOC when Wagner’s father, Dajuan Wagner, led the Panthers to the 1999-00 TOC crown and No. 16 final FAB 50 ranking.

Wagner and company had plenty of incentive to win the program’s second TOC crown, but the 2000 edition of the Panthers will go down and the final public school to capture the prestigious title. That’s because Roselle Catholic (N.J.) was able to avenge a regular season defeat to Camden with a 61-58 overtime victory.

Camden, which came into the game No. 10 in the FAB 50, had a chance to take the the overtime lead with 4.5 seconds remaining on a pull-up 17-foot jumper from Wagner, but the shot was off. After two made free throws by Nebraska-bound Jamarques Lawrence, the talented junior had another shot to potentially tie the game, but Wagner’s heave from near half court missed right and Roselle Catholic stormed the court at Rutgers University’s Jersey Mike’s Arena after capturing its fourth TOC crown, and first since 2017-18. The others for coach Dave Boff’s program came in 2013 and 2015.

Roselle Catholic senior Braxton Jones hit the jump shot to give the Lions a 58-57 lead with 27.7 seconds remaining in overtime and it was his only points of the hotly-contested contest. North Carolina-bound Simeon Wilcher led Roselle Catholic with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Rich Brisco added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Wagner finished with 23 points and six steals. St. Joseph’s-bound Rasheer Fleming added 13 points and eight rebounds for Camden, which fell alot less in this week’s FAB 50 than Centerville after the crushing loss. Camden simply swaps places with Roselle Catholic, which now sits at No. 10 after the evening the only in-state loss, while the Panthers come in at No. 12. Roselle Catholic’s other loss is to No. 8 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Camden ended its season with losses to No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), No. 9 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and the split with Roselle Catholic.

The final ranking for both clubs won’t be determined until all the games are complete because their losses, besides those to each other, came against teams still playing (see below).

There are still a few states going with FAB 50 ranked teams where results will affect next week’s FAB 50 edition. No. 18 Chesterton (Ind.) is trying to complete a perfect season and has one game left vs. Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Class 4A state title game on March 26.

FAB 50 No. 36 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.), No. 37 Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and No. 48 Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) are also attempting to close out championship seasons this week.

GEICO Nationals & State Champions Invitational Fields Announced

The 2021-22 FAB 50 national champion will ultimately be decided by the results at GEICO Nationals, but the high school basketball will last another week. That’s because the first-ever State Champions Invitational will take place April 7-9 at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla. The championship game of the four-team bracket will take place on April 9 at 12 pm ET (ESPN2).

FAB 50 No. 9 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) will take on No. 16 Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) in the first semifinal on April 7 at 4 pm ET (ESPNU). No. 33 Auburn (Auburn, Wash.) faces No. 49 Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) in the second semifinal at 6 pm (ESPNU).

Calvary Christian, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 4A State Champion, rate as the early SCI favorite. Led by LSU-bound Marvel Allen and UCF-bound Taylor Hendricks, the Eagles own wins over No. 12 Camden (Camden, N.J.), No. 17 North Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.), No. 25 Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) and No. 47 Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.). The only losses for Calvary Christian Academy are to unranked Milton (Ga.) and to No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).

Montverde Academy has won GEICO Nationals a record five times and is part of perhaps the most wide-open and balanced field in the event’s 13-year history. FAB 50 No. 1 Sunrise Christian Academy comes in as a slight favorite and could wrap up its first ever FAB 50 title with three consecutive wins in an eight team field. A loss by Sunrise Christian (which has split with Montverde Academy) could open up the door for University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A champ and No. 2 Duncanville (Texas) to move up to No. 1 in the FAB 50. The results of GEICO Nationals could also open up the door for another team such as Montverde Academy or IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), which has beat MVA two times this season. Duncanville beat MVA at the buzzer in November.

GEICO Nationals matchups are as follows: FAB 50 No. 1 and top seed Sunrise Christian vs. eight seed Prolific Prep Napa (Calif.). No. 4 and four seed Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) vs. No. 8 and five seed Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The opposite bracket will pit No. 3 and three seed Montverde Academy vs. six seed AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) and No. 6 and two seed IMG Academy vs. No. 7 and seven seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.).

The first round games on March 31 will all be televised on ESPNU between 12 pm – 6 pm ET. The semifinals on April 1 will be at 2:30 pm ET and 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2. The 2022 GEICO Nationals title game will take place on April 2 at 12 pm ET on ESPN.

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

(15th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 20; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season not complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)25-1***
22Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)35-1
33Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)19-4***
44Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)32-1***
55Centennial (Corona, Calif.)33-1
66IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)20-4***
77La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)20-4***
88Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)33-7***
99Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)24-2***
1012Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)29-2
1113Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)31-0
1210Camden (Camden, N.J.) 31-3
1314Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)37-1
1416Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)29-1***
1515Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)31-5
1617North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)27-3
1718Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)26-4**
1822Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.)29-0***
1919Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)22-4
2020Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)30-1
2121Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)22-6
2223Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)26-3
2324Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)26-3
2443Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)26-2
2525Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)26-4**
2626Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)26-4
2727McKinney (McKinney, Texas)35-6
2828Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)36-3
2929Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.)32-0
3030Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)34-4**
3111Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)29-1
3233Auburn (Auburn, Wash.)27-2***
3331Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)26-5
3432Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)28-0
3534Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)32-7
3635Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)24-4***
3736Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)29-1***
3837St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)35-7
3938Neenah (Neenah, Wis.)29-1
4039Varina (Richmond, Va.)25-1
4145George Rogers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)37-1
4242Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.)27-1
4340Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)25-4
4441Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)26-3
4544Columbus (Miami, Fla.)29-2
4646Westlake (Austin, Texas)38-2
4747Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)33-4
4848Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)23-1***
4949Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)26-6***
5050Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.)29-0

Dropped Out: None.

Bubble Teams:  American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 16-12; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 21-7***; 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; Chambers (Charlotte. N.C.) 22-7; 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; Northview (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 24-1***; 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.) 27-0***; Raymond (Raymond, Miss.) 29-5; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 32-2; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 23-4***; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 23-3**; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 22-4; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 20-4***; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 25-4; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 30-7; The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 25-8; 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**; Williamston (Williamston, Mich.) 24-0***; 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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