The top teams remain the same in the latest edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, but there is plenty of movement in the middle of the pack and six newcomers. Among the newcomers is 2017 Chicago Public League champ Simeon and fast-rising Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.). For the teams at the bottom and on the bubble, it's all about positioning as the top teams get tougher matchups the deeper they go in the post-season.
By Ronnie Flores
With the vast majority of the top 25 teams in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com winning, it's time to focus on the newcomers and potential risers, and big games coming up that can shake up the rankings.
Simeon of Chicago didn't start ranked in the FAB 50, but served notice it would be a force to be reckoned this season with a win over current No. 23 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) at the Chicago Elite Classic to begin the season. The Wolverines stumbled a bit in losing to Bogan of Chicago and cross-city arch rival Morgan Park in their second meeting of the season and dropped out of the rankings after climbing into the Top 10.
Even though coach Robert Smith's club fell in the annual City-Suburban Shootout to Evanston (Evanston, Ill.) 56-38 on the eve of the Chicago Public League City Title Game, Simeon bounced back in a big way, winning the rubber match with Morgan Park, 68-64, to claim the CPL crown (FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS). With the win, Simeon defeated Morgan Park for the second time in three games this season, claimed its eighth city crown and returned to the FAB 50 this week at No. 46.
Junior guard Kezo Brown, who missed a vast majority of his sophomore campaign with a serious health issue after earning underclass All-American honors as a ninth-grader, led Simeon with 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. The Wolverines also got 18 points from senior Evan Gilyard and six points, seven rebounds and a big tip-in with under a minute to play to give Simeon a lead it wouldn't relinquish from Messiah Jones. Although it will be a long road to climb high again in the FAB 50, Simeon's early season win over Gonzaga will come into play if the Wolverines make a deep run at the IHSA Class 4A state crown.
The No. 2 ranked team in greater Chicago -- Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) -- dropped its first game of the season to Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Ill.) 65-64 in a Southwest Suburban Blue contest. The Raiders trailed 65-56 with a minute to go with a frantic comeback just falling short. Bolingbrook was No. 48 in the FAB 50 last week, but remains in as it played that contest without 6-foot-6 standout Malik Binns due to illness.
Gonzaga, meanwhile, is currently the top ranked team from the powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at No. 23. It came into the week owning a share of the WCAC regular season crown and recorded an avenging 72-57 win over Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) last week. The Eagles jumped up five spots to No. 23, while Paul VI stayed at No. 25 because it has a split with Gonzaga. On Monday evening, Paul VI grabbed a share of the WCAC crown with a 72-59 win over DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) after losing to the Stags in the first round of conference play. Before that Monday result came in, the decision was already made to drop DeMatha from the FAB 50 this week for the first time in recent memory after the Stags lost to unranked St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.).
Another team to make a big splash in the rankings is Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.), which defeated defending Class 4A state champ and previous No. 50 Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 60-59, overcoming a 17-point second quarter deficit on the road. Standout junior guard Courtney Ramey nailed one of two free throws with four seconds remaining to give his team the lead and Vashon's Mario McKinney missed a runner at the buzzer.
Ramey, a Louisville commit, finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while seior forward Isaiah Ford had a big outing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Webster Groves has now won 15 games in a row after beginning the season No. 45 in the FAB 50, including a win over the Morgan Park team that advanced to the Chicago Public League title game.
It could be a spectacular set of games featuring four FAB 50 ranked teams this Friday at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California for the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals. The projected matchups are No. 2 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) versus No. 15 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) and No. 13 Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) versus No. 16 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the opposite bracket and a rematch of a game Chino Hills won in the title game of the 2016 Tarkanian Classic.
Those four teams are clearly the best four in California and one of them will likely emerge as heavy favorite to capture the CIF Open Division state crown. A potential foe representing NorCal is new No. 48 Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.), which played defending FAB 50 and CIF open champ Chino Hills tough in a December tournament game.
Before those monster section semifinal games can occur, however, all four teams must win in Tuesday's CIFSS Open Division quarterfinals against state-ranked clubs. Woodcreek, meanwhile, has to prove its rankings worth by getting past top-seeded and bubble club Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) down the line in the CIF Sac Joaquin Section D1 playoffs.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(Tenth poll of 2016-17 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 19; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season complete)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.)||25-0|
|2||2||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||26-1|
|3||3||La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)||24-1|
|4||4||Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)||25-3|
|5||5||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||24-1*|
|6||6||IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.)||26-1|
|7||7||Klein Forest (Houston, Texas)||30-0|
|8||8||Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)||27-0|
|9||9||McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)||26-0|
|10||10||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||24-4|
|11||11||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||30-3|
|12||13||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||32-4|
|13||14||Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.)||28-1|
|14||16||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||20-4|
|15||17||Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)||24-2|
|16||18||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||29-1|
|17||19||Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)||25-0|
|18||20||Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||22-0|
|19||21||Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.)||21-0|
|20||24||Union (Tulsa, Okla.)||23-0|
|21||22||Brentwood Academy (Nashville, Tenn.)||27-2|
|22||23||Skyline (Dallas, Texas)||29-1|
|23||28||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||23-5|
|24||29||Grand Rapids Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.)||15-0|
|25||25||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||23-4|
|26||26||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||27-6|
|27||27||Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)||31-3|
|28||36||Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.)||17-0|
|29||30||Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.)||23-5|
|30||31||The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.)||29-0|
|31||42||Rock Creek Christian (Upper Marlboro, Md.)||24-1|
|32||33||Linden (Linden, N.J.)||19-3|
|33||35||Mae Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.)||29-4|
|34||43||North Side (Fort Wayne, Ind.)||21-1|
|35||40||Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.)||28-2|
|36||39||Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)||20-1|
|37||45||Newton (Covington, Ga.)||27-1|
|38||41||Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)||27-4|
|39||44||Edwardsville (Edwardsville, Ill.)||24-1|
|40||38||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||16-3|
|41||NR||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||21-5|
|42||NR||Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.)||21-2|
|43||32||Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)||19-2|
|44||NR||East Lansing (East Lansing, Mich.)||16-0|
|45||49||Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.)||25-3|
|46||NR||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||24-3|
|47||15||Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.)||16-1|
|48||NR||Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.)||25-2|
|49||48||Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.)||23-1|
|50||NR||First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pa.)||19-2|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 12 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), No. 34 The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.), No. 37 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 46 Garfield (Seattle, Wash.), No. 47 Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.), No. 50 Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.).
Bubble Teams: Apollo (Glendale, Ariz.) 25-3; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 20-3; Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) 28-1; Birmingham (Lake Balboa, Calif.) 24-3; Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-9; Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) 16-3; Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 23-3; Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 26-0; Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas) 28-4; Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.) 25-4; Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 25-3; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 21-6; Desert Vista (Phoenix, Ariz.) 19-5; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 20-2; Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.) 23-2; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 19-5; Godwin Heights (Wyoming, Mich.) 17-0; Houston Math, Science & Tech (Houston, Texas) 32-2; Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 23-2; Lakeview Centennial (Garland, Texas) 29-3; Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 23-3*; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 19-4; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 19-3; Maple Grove (Maple Grove, Minn.) 20-2; Meridian (Meridian, Miss.) 26-2; Minneapolis North (Minneapolis, Minn.) 23-1; Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 29-3; Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 17-0; Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 18-6; New Albany (New Albany, Ind.) 21-3; Newark (Newark, Ohio) 21-1; Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 23-5; North (Oshkosh, Wis.) 20-0; Oak Ridge (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) 25-2; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 19-7; Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 20-2; Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove, Utah) 19-3; Rindge & Latin (Cambridge, Mass.) 17-0; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 20-7; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 14-9; Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 28-4; St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 19-4; St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) 16-2; The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.) 29-3; Tift County (Tifton, Ga.) 25-2; Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 26-3; Wagner (San Antonio, Texas) 30-2; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 22-4; Wesley Christian (Allen, Ky.) 29-6; West (Lee's Summit, Mo.) 20-2; Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) 18-10; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 20-8; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 20-6*; William Allen (Allentown, Pa.) 24-1; Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 26-4.
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 17 years ago.