NEW FAB 50: Playoff Madness Is Here!

Three new teams crack the latest edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, but the big news is previous No. 13 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) going down in CIF Southern Section open pool play. Read below to see where Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) landed as it gets ready to take on No. 5 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in the CIFSS open championship. Sierra Canyon is not done yet, as only one team that fell from the rankings is done for the season. In the next couple of weeks, more ranked teams will wrap up, although the new State Champions Invitational will extend the season for four state champions.

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 storylines behind this week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com is not whom lost, but whom can bounce back after a loss and avoid getting upset at the wrong time. Only one ranked team saw its season come to an end. That was previous No. 45 Durango (Las Vegas) falling to No. 35 Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 73-68, in the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA) Class 5A Southern Semifinals. Durango was ranked ahead of Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAAA No. 1 Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) in the rankings after handing the Falcons one of their two losses at the Tarkanian Classic in December. The Falcons have now done enough to be ranked ahead of Durango, which remains on the bubble because of its overall resume.

As for Liberty, the Patriots fell to No. 11 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) in the Class 5A Southern final, 77-61. It was their third loss of the season to the Gaels, who upped their winning streak to 42 games with the win. After the NIAA did not have a 2020-21 season, Bishop Gorman will look to win its tenth consecutive state crown this weekend at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno. Should Bishop Gorman defeat Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.) in Friday’s state semifinals and win the state title the following evening, it would break the reported national state title winning streak record of nine held by now defunct and four-time FAB 50 champion St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) between 1983-1991.

By defeating Durango, Liberty assured itself a spot in the Class 5A semifinals, where it will take on Douglas (Minden, Nev.). What could make getting a fourth crack at Bishop Gorman a bit more difficult is the absence of St. Mary’s-bound man Joshua Jefferson. After he fouled out in the closing seconds of the Southern championship, Gorman’s Darrion Williams was holding the ball in front of the Liberty bench to run out of the clock when Jefferson reached over from the bench to grab the ball. Because he was not on the court, he was injected and that means he will not be able to play in the state semifinals.

With last week’s announcement of the new State Champions Invitational, Gorman’s season likely won’t be done should it win the NIAA Class 5A title. Four National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sanctioned state champs from among Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Washington, D.C., will be chosen to play in the inaugural event, April 7-9, in Florida. Should Gorman win a state title, it will be one of the most attractive teams to event organizers, as would No. 10 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), provided that team captures the Florida High School Association (FHSA) Class 4A state crown.

Similar to Liberty, California state power Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) lost a playoff game, but is not done yet, after falling to unranked Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), 63-60, in last Friday’s CIF Southern Section open pool play game. Both teams entered the highly-anticipated game 2-0 in pool play with the winner advancing to face No. 5 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in Friday’s CIFSS open title game. Sierra Canyon was looking to advance to its fifth consecutive section open title game, but the Wolverines had other ideas and executed to near perfection to advance to their first section open championship game.

Junior forward Brady Dunlap scored 10 of his 17 points in the final period and sophomore Trent Perry nailed two free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win, as a last-second 3-point attempt by the Trailblazers’ Dylan Metoyer was off. Penn-bound Cam Thrower scored a team-high 18 points for Harvard-Westlake, while UCLA-bound Amari Bailey led Sierra Canyon with 21 points.

From a rankings standpoint, Harvard-Westlake’s 68-43 victory in its second pool play game over Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) was just as important because it avenged the Wolverines’ only in-state loss. With the other loss coming against bubble club Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.), Harvard-Westlake jumps into the FAB 50 at No. 19. The Wolverines must be in front of Sierra Canyon, a club that can’t drop too far because of its victory over No. 17 Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and a split with No. 20 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.).

Regardless of the Centennial-Harvard-Westlake championship game outcome, those two teams will be the top two seeds in the upcoming SoCal open regional playoffs. Sierra Canyon will have an opportunity to bounce back and could still win the CIF state open crown on March 12 at the Golden One Center in Sacramento, but it will have to win a couple fo road games to advance in the SoCal open regional. The best bet to represent the Northern region in the first CIF State Championships since the 2018-19 season is No. 43 Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.). The senior-oriented Cougars have only lost to University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 4A front-runner and No. 36 Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas). That club has only lost games to teams FAB 50 ranked at some point, including Gorman and Liberty.

While Liberty and Sierra Canyon are still alive, we’re getting to the point in the season when some teams will be in win-or-go-home brackets in their respective state tournaments.

Will the rankings hold up?

As we see most weeks, it’s not easy to knock off a FAB 50 ranked club, as the majority of those teams and the bubble clubs win each and every week. It really is a special honor for any program to be ranked in any credible poll.

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

(11th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 20; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)24-1
22Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)27-1
33Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)19-4
44Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)28-1
55Centennial (Corona, Calif.)29-1
66IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)20-4
77Richardson (Richardson, Texas)30-1
88La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)19-4
99Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)28-7
1010Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)20-2
1111Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)29-0
1212Camden (Camden, N.J.)21-2
1316Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)23-0
1414North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)22-3
1517Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)21-2
1618Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)25-0
1715Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)30-1
1819Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio)21-0
19NRHarvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)24-2
2020Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)23-3
2113Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)24-4
2221Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)19-4**
2322Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)23-5
2424Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.)28-0
2528Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)24-1
2625Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)22-0
2726Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)19-4**
2827Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)22-3
2930New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.)23-0
3040York Prep (Rock Hill, S.C.)23-0
3133Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.)29-2
3229Bishop McNamara (Forrestville, Md.)19-3
3335Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)22-2
3436Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)22-3
3531Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)20-4
3632Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)27-4**
3723St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)31-5
3841Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)31-3
3937Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)25-5
4038Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)19-4
4139South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.)20-2**
4244North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.)22-0
4342Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.)25-1
4443Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.)25-0
45NRWest Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)18-3
4646Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)24-2
47NRKing’s Fork (Suffolk, Va.)20-0
4847George Rodgers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)28-1
4948Westfield (Houston, Texas)27-1
5050Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)17-1

Dropped Out: Previous No. 34 St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.), No. 45 Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.), No. 49 Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.).

Bubble Teams:  Auburn (Auburn, Wash.) 23-1; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 29-3; Beecher (Flint, Mich.) 16-1; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 20-2; Bristol Central (Bristol, Conn.) 21-0; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 24-2; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 24-3; Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) 26-0; Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.) 22-0; Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) 25-0; Christian Brother’s (St. Louis, Mo.) 20-6; Cleveland (Clayton, N.C.) 26-1; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 22-1; Del City (Cel City, Okla.) 19-3; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 17-6; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-6***; Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) 20-2; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 15-6; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 16-7; John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) 16-4; King (Detroit, Mich.) 16-1; Kingfisher (Kingsfisher, Okla.) 22-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 26-0; Laurel Highlands (Uniontown, Pa.) 21-0; Liberty (Liberty, Mo.) 21-2; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 17-5; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 23-0; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 21-1; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 20-7; Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) 22-0; Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.) 19-2; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 17-0; New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.) 27-3; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 23-4; Patriot (Nokesville, Va.) 22-0; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 22-5; Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 20-2; Quaker Valley (Leetsdale, Pa.) 20-0; Richmond (Rockingham, N.C.) 23-1; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 17-3; Simeon (Chicago) 23-5; South St. Paul (South St. Paul, Minn.) 21-0; Sunnyslope (Pheonix, Ariz.) 25-2; Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) 22-3; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 19-3; St. Thomas Aquinas (Edison, N.J.) 24-1; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 18-3; Varina (Richmond, Va.) 19-1; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 14-10; West Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 19-3; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 33-1; Westminster (Town and Country, Mo.) 24-1; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 23-4; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 20-9**; Williamston (Williamston, Mich.) 17-0; Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukee, Wis.) 21-2.

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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