NEW FAB 50: Special MLK Edition!

After all the MLK Monday results are in, the top of the pecking order remains the same in this week’s special edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, but there is tons of movement and seven new teams. Leading the charge among the new teams are No. 22 Bishop McNamara (Forrestville, Md.) and No. 26 Simeon (Chicago).

By Ronnie Flores

In last week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com the program at Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) took over the top spot for the first time in program history. This season it’s been awfully tough for teams to remain in the pole position and this week Buffaloes coach Luke Barnwell found out just how tough it is.

His team ventured to the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mo., to play two games. In the first one against then No. 32 Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.), Sunrise Christian needed overtime to outlast its foe, 72-68. The hero in the extra period was junior point guard Layden Blocker. His clutch 3-pointer gave Sunrise Christian a one point lead and he then made two free throws with 1:30 remaining in the extra period. After Combine Academy cut its deficit to one point, Blocker secured an offensive rebound and made another 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining to seal the deal.

Blocker finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists against only one turnover. Duke-bound Mark Mitchell had 23 points and eights rebounds, while Kansas-bound Gradey Dick added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The next evening, Sunrise Christian played fellow National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) member Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) and built a sizable lead. Wasatch Academy came into the game unranked, but nearly erased a 18-point deficit in the final 5:32 of the game. Willie Lightfoot, who previously played for the Buffaloes, gave a valiant effort but his jumper on the final possession that would have knocked off the No. 1 team in the FAB 50 was just off the mark as Sunrise prevailed, 63-62.

Mitchell had another quality game with 27 points and 12 rebounds as the Buffaloes retained their No. 1 ranking this week.

The 20th anniversary of the event in the birthplace of American basketball did cause some one team to drop out of the top five of the nation’s longest-running weekly rankings (by a large gap). On last week’s “In The Paint” podcast, we mentioned this was a huge week for then No. 5 Camden, as The High had an opportunity to put itself firmly in the national title hunt.

Camden took on No. 4 Montverde Academy (Fla.) last Thursday at the Metro Classic in New Jersey, but couldn’t stay with the Eagles and fell, 52-40, to snap a 44-game winning streak. Two night later in Massachusetts, Camden showed signs of a hangover facing another Flordia team, then No. 19 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and fell flat. Calvary Christian played with more intensity, and Camden fell behind by as much as 29 points before losing, 66-48.

The two losses dropped the Panthers 11 spots to No. 16 in this week’s FAB 50 MLK edition and behind Calvary Christian Academy, which is now up to No. 11 with only one loss on its resume and four wins over FAB 50 ranked foes. Ironically, the one team Calvary Christian Academy lost to, No. 38 Milton (Ga.), is the club Camden ended its skid against on Monday at Hoophall Classic. Junior point guard Cian Medley led the way with 22 points in the 63-55 bounce back victory while top-notch junior DJ Wagner added 21 points.

Camden can’t drop any further because it owns an earlier win over Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.), but that club and others from New Jersey and along the Eastern Seaboard had to take a rankings hit because of Camden’s 1-2 week. Roselle Catholic fell four spots to No. 18 despite quality wins last week over No. 20 Long Island Lutheran (62-59) and No. 40 Kenwood Academy (79-70).

Duncanville (Texas) remains at No. 2, as it handed new No. 5 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) its only loss of the season back in November. No. 3 and No. 4 remain the same as IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) beat Montverde Academy for the second time this season at the Hoophall Classic, 57-53. Baylor-bound guard Keyonte George netted a game-high 17 points for IMG. Duncanville also owns a win over No. 4 Montverde Academy.

Centennial supplants previous No. 6 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) as the highest rated team in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings after the Trailblazers fell to Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 72-65, in the title game of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., in front of over 10,00 fans on Saturday evening. Deshawn Harris-Smith made 13-of-16 free throws and netted a game-high 23 points to lead a young Panthers club. Paul VI held a 34-9 free throw advantage in the game.

UCLA-bound Amari Bailey led Sierra Canyon with 18 points. Sierra Canyon fell four spots to No. 10 and remains in front of Paul VI because it owns a split, having beat that club in the title game of the Iolani Classic in December. Its other loss is to No. 2 Duncanville.

Paul VI does move up nine spots to No. 24, but is now behind Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) rival Bishop McNamara (Forrestville, Md.), this week’s highest ranked newcomer at No. 22. The Mustangs handed Paul VI its other loss, 64-61. Bishop McNamara does have other quality wins and is scheduled to face No. 12 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) on Tuesday in a battle of clubs still unbeaten in WCAC play. Gonzaga suffered its first loss of the season at the Hoophall Classic to new No. 8 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), 70-56.

This week’s second highest newcomer among seven of them, No. 26 Simeon (Chicago), must remain behind Bishop McNamara because of the common opponent factor. Simeon’s only loss of the season is to Dream City Christian (Glendale, Ariz.), a program that carries post-graduates on its roster that lost to Bishop McNamara, 67-51.

What will this week hold in store for the nation’s best teams? There are still more showcase games to be played and the pressure of playoff basketball is just around the corner as COVID-19 looms. The ongoing pandemic still affects results on a weekly basis because of postponed games and player sit-outs.

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Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(6th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Monday, January 17; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
12Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)14-1
22Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)19-1
33IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)13-2
44Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)13-4
57Centennial (Corona, Calif.)16-1
68Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)24-0
79Richardson (Richardson, Texas)21-1
811Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)17-7
910La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)12-3
106Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)16-2
1119Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)12-1
1212Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)10-1
1313Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)16-0
1415North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)13-3
1516Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)19-0
165Camden (Camden, N.J.)7-2
1717Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)12-0
1814Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)11-1
1922Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)11-0
2018Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)10-2
2124Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)15-3
22NRBishop McNamara (Forrestville, Md.)9-0
2326Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)21-2
2435Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)12-2
2527Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)11-2
26NRSimeon (Chicago, Ill.)15-1
2734Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)12-4**
2820St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)20-3
2933Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)11-0
3029Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)12-3
3137Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)5-1
3232Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)12-4
3331Newton (Covington, Ga.)14-3
3446Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)16-0
3538Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.)17-1
3625Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)11-2
3750Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio)13-0
3828Milton (Milton, Ga.)12-7
39NRBrentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.)18-0
4036Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)13-5
4140Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)12-6**
4242George Rodgers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)15-1
4343Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)13-1
44NRNew Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.)12-0
4545Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.)15-3
4641Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone, N.J.)6-3
47NRVashon (St. Louis, Mo.)13-1
4849Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)12-3
49NRLiberty (Henderson, Nev.)10-2
50NROak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)21-4

Dropped Out: Previous No. 21 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 23 Reading (Reading, Pa.), No. 30 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), No. 39 St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.), No. 44 Ballard (Louisville, Ky.), No. 47 South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.), No. 48 Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Bubble Teams:  Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.) 12-2; Auburn (Auburn, Wash.) 11-1; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 21-3; King (Detroit, Mich.) 8-1; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 15-2; Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 12-1; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 10-3; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 17-3; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 7-1; Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.) 18-5; Chambers (Charlotte. N.C.) 13-5; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 9-4; Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.) 12-0; Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) 19-0; Crean Lutheran (Irvine, Calif.) 15-1; Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 17-2; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 19-1; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 15-0; Del City (Cel City, Okla.) 11-3; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 6-4; Fairmont (Kettering, Ohio) 13-1; Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) 12-0; Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. VA.) 7-6; Jenks (Edmond, Okla.) 10-1; King (Detroit, Mich.) 8-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 17-0; Lawrence Free State (Lawrence, Kan.) 5-0; Liberty (Liberty, Mo.) 12-1; Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.) 10-1; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 12-0; Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 22-3; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 15-1; Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.) 10-1; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 9-0; North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 12-0; Omaha Westside (Omaha, Neb.) 13-1; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 15-2; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 15-4; Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 11-1; Poly (Riverside, Calif.) 20-1; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 9-1; Reading (Reading, Pa.) 11-2; Richmond (Rockingham, N.C.) 14-0; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 12-2**; South St. Paul (South St. Paul, Minn.) 12-0; Sunnyslope (Pheonix, Ariz.) 16-2; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 9-1; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 6-6; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 7-1; St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) 6-1; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 8-2; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 20-3; Thunderidge (Highlands Ranch, Col.) 10-0; Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) 8-2; Varina (Richmond, Va.) 10-0; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 10-8; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 24-1; Westfield (Houston, Texas) 19-1; Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukke, Wis.) 10-1.

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.

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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