In the latest update of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, the first one for 2022, there is a tons of movement, seven newcomers and a new No. 1 following the holiday tournament season. Montverde Academy (Fla.) is back on top after capturing the prestigious Culligan City of Palms Classic. Previous No. 1 Duncanville (Texas) loses for the first time at the prestigious Whataburger Tournament in Texas. Check out our breakdown as we make sense of all the results that poured in over the past two weeks.
By Ronnie Flores
When Duncanville took over the top spot in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com following its dramatic 67-66 victory over Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) at Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz., on December 9, we knew it was going to be a long, tough road for the Panthers to finish No. 1.
It’s one of the reasons we placed them in the coveted No. 1 spot after that win.
Duncanville faced a major challenge when it took on then No. 25 Richardson (Texas) in the championship of the long-running Whataburger Tournament in Mansfield, Texas on December 30. The game went into overtime and the Panthers had an opportunity to win or tie the game in the closing seconds, but 2023 forward Ashton Hardaway’s 3-pointer was off the mark, and Anthony Black’s rebound put back attempt missed and was after the buzzer regardless, as Richardson recorded a titanic 60-58 victory.
Kentucky-bound 2022 guard Cason Wallace was named Whataburger Tournament MVP after scoring 22 points for Richardson. The Eagles, which handed Duncanville its first loss, came into the tournament with a lone loss to then FAB 50 No. 22 North Little Rock (Ark.).
The game was tied four different times in the final three minutes of regulation and incredibly Black, the 6-foot-7 2022 guard who transferred to Duncanville from Coppell (Texas), entered the game in the fourth quarter. He’s involved in a season-long, ongoing eligibility issue with the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and sat out the four previous game since playing in the win over Montverde Academy after the UIL appealed his temporary restraining order to suit up for the Panthers. Reportedly, the attorneys representing Black filed an emergency motion to grant him eligibility while the UIL appeals the original injunction ruling. Incredibly, Black got cleared at the end of the third quarter, but Richardson was able to avoid any distraction his appearance may have caused to get the job done.
What Duncanville’s Loss Means
Duncanville obviously falls from No. 1 in this week’s rankings and the two major questions to answer are, one, what spot does the Panthers fall to and where does Richardson land? Duncanville can’t fall too far because of previous wins over Montverde Academy, No. 6 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) and No. 7 Centennial (Corona, Calif.), the latter two by far and away California’s two best eligible teams. Richardson, does move up but doesn’t necessarily have to be in front of the Panthers. Richardson jumps up from No. 25 to No. 9, as the Eagles still must be somewhat penalized for its loss to North Little Rock (Ark.), which has three losses of its own to FAB 50 ranked teams. North Little Rock gets rankings credit for its victory over Richardson and has done enough to overcome its losses to No. 19 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and No. 49 Jonesboro (Ark.). Its third loss is to new No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
Richardson can still climb and surpass Duncanville in the rankings, as the two Texas powerhouses could meet in the UIL Class 6A state playoffs. That’s down the line, however, and there is still plenty of basketball to go before breaking down a potential Richardson-Duncanville rematch becomes necessary.
After winning the Culligan City of Palms Classic in which 13 FAB 50 ranked teams competed in the traditional bracket, it’s not a hard call to place Montverde Academy back at No. 1 despite two losses. Yes, Montverde Academy does have losses to Duncanville (at the buzzer) and to IMG Academy (in the closing seconds), but it just won a loaded tournament in which IMG Academy competed in. IMG Academy lost in the semifinals, 76-72, to then No. 32 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), as 2022 guards Chris Livingston and Judah Mintz combined for 41 points to help the Warriors avenge an earlier loss to the Ascenders. Montverde Academy’s Dillon Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 forward bound for Texas, was named City of Palms MVP after leading Montverde Academy to a 60-55 title game victory over Oak Hill Academy (its second win of the season over the Warriors) by scoring 16 points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking two shots and dishing off two assists. He made 8-of-11 field goal attempts, as Montverde Academy shot 22-of-48 from the field as a team, while Oak Hill shot 20-46.
Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) is the new No. 2, as it has only lost one game to Montverde Academy, 53-44. Duncanville comes it as No. 3 and IMG Academy, with its loss to Sunrise Christian and split with Oak Hill Academy, comes in at No. 4. Oak Hill Academy has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team so far this season, but its COP semifinal win over IMG Academy pushes coach Steve Smith’s Warriors up to No. 10 this week. Oak Hill Academy did lose to No. 27 Greensboro Day (N.C.), but that was a game in which Livingston did not play. Its other losses are to teams ranked in front of it in the FAB 50.
At this point in the season, not every single result can place the winning team in front of the losing team in the rankings. Greensboro Day does get some credit for its win over Oak Hill, with its other losses to No. 19 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and to No. 40 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.).
Calvary Christian Academy’s only loss has come against five-loss Milton (Ga.), which advanced to the City of Palms semifinals before losing to top-ranked Montverde Academy 59-44. It’s tricky where to rank Milton, because although it does have five losses, it performed well at the COP, losing to IMG Academy by only three points (76-73) in the third place game, so it comes in at No. 26 this week.
With L.T. Overton, who doubles as a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end and is considered by some the nation’s top football recruit in the national class of 2023, in its lineup, Milton has the inside punch to compete with some of the nation’s top teams despite a lack of depth. When he wasn’t in the lineup at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., after Christmas, Milton fell to bubble club Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.), 71-49.
We keep unbeaten Camden (Camden, N.J.) at No. 5 this week, but with every team above them in the FAB 50 now having a loss, The High has plenty of opportunity to move up in the nation’s longest-running weekly rankings. Camden has plenty of land-mines coming up in its back-loaded regular season schedule, plus capturing the New Jersey Tournament of Champions is by no means an easy task.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
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(4th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, January 2; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||3||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||9-2|
|2||4||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||9-1|
|3||1||Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)||15-1|
|4||2||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||9-2|
|5||5||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||2-0|
|6||6||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||14-1|
|7||7||Centennial (Corona, Calif.)||12-1|
|8||10||Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)||21-0|
|9||25||Richardson (Richardson, Texas)||17-1|
|10||32||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||13-6|
|11||11||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||9-1|
|12||12||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||6-0|
|13||17||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||14-0|
|14||18||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||5-1|
|15||22||North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)||11-3|
|16||20||Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)||14-0|
|17||24||Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)||6-0|
|18||13||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||8-1|
|19||21||Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)||7-1|
|20||15||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||15-2|
|21||16||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||6-1|
|22||23||Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)||6-0|
|23||14||Reading (Reading, Pa.)||6-1|
|24||44||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||8-1|
|25||19||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||6-2|
|26||NR||Milton (Milton, Ga.)||7-5|
|27||27||Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)||18-2|
|28||30||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||7-1|
|29||9||Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)||10-2|
|30||31||Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)||4-1|
|31||37||Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)||12-2|
|32||NR||Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.)||13-1|
|33||36||Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)||9-3*|
|34||33||Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)||6-4*|
|35||35||Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)||16-2|
|36||28||Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)||11-3|
|37||47||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||4-1|
|38||8||Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.)||1-2|
|39||NR||Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)||8-0|
|40||29||Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)||10-3|
|41||NR||George Rodgers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)||11-1|
|42||43||Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)||9-1|
|43||45||Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)||9-3|
|44||50||St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||5-0|
|45||39||Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.)||12-3|
|46||38||Newton (Covington, Ga.)||9-1|
|47||NR||South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.)||8-1|
|48||NR||Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)||3-0|
|49||49||Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)||9-3|
|50||NR||Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)||11-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 26 McKinney (McKinney, Texas), No. 34 The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.), No. 40 Zionsville (Zionsville, Ind.), No. 41 St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), No. 42 Moravian Prep (Hudson, N.C.), No. 46 Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.), No. 48 Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. VA.).
Bubble Teams: Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 9-2; Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.) 7-3; Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 7-3; Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.) 14-0; Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 9-1; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 8-2; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 15-2; Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.) 10-5; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 4-1; Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) 17-0; Crean Lutheran (Irvine, Calif.) 10-1; Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 15-1; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 17-1; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 11-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 6-1; Elfaula (Elfaula, Ala.) 16-1; Grissom (Huntsville, Ala.) 14-2; Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 13-1; Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. VA.) 6-5; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 9-4; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 13-0; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 8-2; Liberty Heights (Charlotte, N.C.) 13-1; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 9-0; Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 18-3; Math, Civics & Sciences (Philadelphia, Pa.) 6-1; McKinney (McKinney, Texas) 20-2; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 13-1; Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.) 5-1; Mt. Carmel (Chicago, Ill.) 15-0; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 6-0; New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.) 7-0; Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas) 18-4; Omaha Westside (Omaha, Neb.) 10-1; Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) 6-1; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 12-2; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 12-3; Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.) 5-0; Poly (Riverside, Calif.) 16-1; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 7-0; Simeon (Chicago) 10-1; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 4-5; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 5-1; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 4-2; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 16-3; Thunderidge (Highlands Ranch, Col.) 5-0; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 9-4; Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio) 8-0; Westfield (Houston, Texas) 15-1; Zionsville (Zionsville, Ind.) 8-1.
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.