No. 1 La Lumiere of Indiana has a real scare, but holds on to defeat nationally-ranked Wasatch Academy of Utah, 53-52, at the Bob Kirk Invitational in Maryland before soundly beating a Top 10 ranked foe in the title game. Although the Lakers hold on to the top spot in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com as they eye the No. 1 seed at GEICO Nationals, there is movement in the Top 10 that could affect seedings and which eight teams are ultimately selected to participate at that event.
By Ronnie Flores
When a team finishes as the No. 1 ranked team in the country, there is plenty of media attention to go with that distinction, along with school ceremonies to celebrate the special team and occasion. What often goes unnoticed is the fine line between an unbeaten season and defeat and how close some FAB 50 No. 1 teams have come to seeing that mythical national title derailed.
Just last season, Montverde Academy of Florida had a major scare in the first round of GEICO Nationals, as the Eagles survived unranked Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), 87-82. Montverde Academy was on the ropes after Lone Peak went bonkers from 3-point land in the second half and needed a technical foul that was assessed when Lone Peak called a timeout it did not have to escape with the win en route to a 36-0 season. Two years earlier, Chino Hills (Calif.) gained a cult-like following en route to a 35-0 national championship campaign, but it almost came to a crashing halt before “Run GMZ” really went worldwide, as Lonzo Ball (who went on to earn Mr. Basketball USA honors and currently plays in the NBA) blocked a late shot to help the Huskies escape with a 91-90 victory over Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the first round of the City of Palms Tournament in Florida.
For La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), the current No. 1 team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, perhaps its gut-check moment came this past weekend at the Bob Kirk Invitational in Maryland. La Lumiere was comfortably ahead of Wasatch Academy of Utah, a team that had just fallen 29 spots in the FAB 50 the week prior, but had to hold off a furious rally to earn a 53-52 semifinal win on two clutch free throws with seven seconds remaining by Gerald Drumgoole (10 points).
Wasatch Academy, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half and was down 46-35 entering the fourth period, led the Lakers 52-49 with a minute remaining in the game. Wasatch had the ball and the lead with 19 seconds remaining, but a turnover led to two free made free throws by Keion Brooks (18 points, 7 rebounds). Wasatch then missed the front end of a one-and-one situation, and Drumgoogle proceeded to ice the game with the free throws only after the Lakers got two offensive rebounds on their offensive possession.
Mr. Basketball USA candidate and Washington-commit Isaiah Stewart had 13 points and 18 rebounds for the Lakers, who, according to the Cumberland Times-News, out-rebounded Wasatch Academy, 52-34.
Although Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) came into the title game much higher ranked than Wasatch Academy, the Lakers rolled to a 73-51 victory over the No. 6 FAB 50 ranked team to improve to 25-0 on the season. Brooks was named tournament MOP.
FAB 50 No. 2 McEachern (Powder Springs, GA.) finished its regular season 25-0, while the Lakers have six regular season games remaining in their quest to enter GEICO Nationals unbeaten and as the top seed.
Although the top of the FAB 50 remained the same by the closest of margins, battle-tested Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) and talented Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.Y.) moved up after key victories last week. Ranney School defeated previous No. 11 Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.Y.), 61-49, in a rematch of last year’s New Jersey Non-public B title game. Mr. Basketball USA candidate and Villanova-bound Bryan Antoine led the way for Ranney School with 25 points. Out West, California’s top two ranked teams battled last Saturday night at Pasadena City College and it was then No. 10 Rancho Christian that outscored then No. 8 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 12-0 to close the game and pull out a dramatic 61-58 win.
Sierra Canyon fell three spots this week to No. 11, as its only other two losses are to No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). Roselle Catholic, whose other loss is to unranked Norcross (Ga.), fell right behind the Trailblazers to No. 12. Both Roselle Catholic and Ranney School will play Montverde Academy this weekend at the Metro Classic in New Jersey.
Despite finishing in third place at the Bob Kirk Invitational, Wasatch Academy actually moves up nine spots for taking La Lumiere to the brink. That game also bodes well for Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), which moves up seven spots this week because it owns a win over Wasatch Academy.
The tough games will continue for the nation’s top teams and the fine line between a memorable season and it coming crashing down only gets thinner as post-season play tips off.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
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(Ninth poll of 2018-19 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 3; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates scrimmages and foundation games not included; ****Indicates season not complete)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)||25-0|
|2||2||McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)||25-0|
|3||3||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||19-2|
|4||4||IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.)||26-1|
|5||5||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||20-2|
|6||6||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||18-4|
|7||9||Mountain Brook (Mountain Brook, Ala.)||25-3|
|8||10||Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.)||23-4|
|9||13||Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.J.)||18-2|
|10||14||Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)||18-1|
|11||8||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||24-3|
|12||11||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||19-2|
|13||12||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||16-5|
|14||7||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||22-3|
|15||15||University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)||18-4|
|16||16||Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)||26-0|
|17||18||Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)||21-3|
|18||19||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||26-3|
|19||21||Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.)||23-1|
|20||20||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||17-4|
|21||22||Curie (Chicago, Ill.)||24-1|
|22||23||Nicolet (Glendale, Wis.)||15-1|
|23||24||Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||18-0|
|24||25||Guyer (Denton, Texas)||26-4|
|25||26||Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.)||18-2|
|26||27||Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.)||19-2|
|27||30||Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas)||24-2|
|28||35||Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.)||15-5|
|29||38||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||23-3|
|30||33||Centennial (Corona, Calif.)||25-3|
|31||28||Scott County (Goergetown, Ky.)||25-1|
|32||29||Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.)||19-1|
|33||37||Hilliard Bradley (Hilliard, Ohio)||16-0|
|34||31||Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.)||24-1|
|35||41||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||16-2|
|36||32||Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.)||21-0|
|37||39||South Central (Winterville, N.C.)||19-1|
|38||40||Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.)||24-1|
|39||34||Olive Branch (Olive Branch, Miss.)||20-6|
|40||36||Bartlett (Bartlett, Tenn.)||25-2|
|41||45||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||22-7|
|42||42||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||24-4|
|43||43||Abington (Abington, Pa.)||18-1|
|44||47||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||20-4|
|45||17||Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)||16-7|
|46||50||East Coweta (East Coweta, Ga.)||24-1|
|47||48||Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)||17-1|
|48||NR||Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, N.Y.)||20-1|
|49||49||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||17-5|
|50||NR||Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)||19-2|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 44 Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.), No. 46 Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.).
Bubble Teams: Baylor (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 19-2; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 20-1; Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor, Mich.) 15-1; Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) 15-3; Bettendorf (Bettendorf, Iowa) 15-1; Biloxi (Biloxi, Miss.) 26-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 13-1; Bogan (Chicago, Ill.) 21-2; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 16-2; Boys Latin (Baltimore, Md.) 24-3; Brentwood (Brentwood, N.Y.) 17-1; Buford (Buford, Ga.) 22-2; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 18-4; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 15-1; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 28-2; Center Hill (Olive Branch, Miss.) 24-2; Central Plains (Claflin, Kan.) 15-0; Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-3; Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 21-3; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 18-1; Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 24-3; Gilbert (Gilbert, Ariz.) 24-1; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 17-3; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 18-5; Grandview (Grandview, Mo.) 16-2; Haverford School (Haverford, Pa.) 20-0; John Hardin (Elizabethtown, Ky.) 25-0; Keenan (Columbia, S.C.) 24-1; Kennedy Catholic (Hermitage, Pa.) 15-3; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 21-0; Lewis-Palmer (Monument, Col.) 19-0; Longwood (Middle Island, N.Y.) 17-1; Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 28-2; Maria Goretti (Hagerstown, Md.) 21-4; Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.) 25-1; Meadowcreek (Norcross, Ga.) 20-5; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 16-3; Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Ky.) 13-2; Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 22-3; New Haven (New Haven, Mich.) 14-1; Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 18-7; North Scott (Eldridge, Iowa) 16-0; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 14-5; Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) 13-3; Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.) 23-3; Poly (Baltimore, Md.) 12-4; Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove, Utah) 17-2; Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.) 24-4; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 13-1; Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) 15-1; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 18-4; Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 29-2; Southwest Guilford (High Point, N.C.) 20-0; Springfield Southeast (Springfield, Ill.) 20-2; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 22-1; Trinity Catholic (St. Louis, Mo.) 17-2; Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.) 23-1; Wagner (San Antonio, Texas) 24-5; Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 21-3; Wright (New Orleans, La.) 28-4.
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 19 years ago.