NEW FAB 50: Teams Dig Deep

The playoffs are heating up and there are some key games in the next two weeks that could shake up the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by No. 1 Paul VI of Virginia could see its season extended if it closes strong and there are four new teams in the industry's longest-running weekly national rankings for the second consecutive week. This week's newcomers are led by No. 41 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), which returns after capturing the Chicago Public League title.

FAB 50 ranked and quality teams usually win big in early round playoff games, so there isn't much movement at the top of the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by

The only team in the Top 25 to lose last week was previous No. 6 Columbus (Miami, Fla.). The Explorers fell to unranked Palmetto (Fla.) in overtime in the Class 7A, District 16 title game, 66-64. It was Columbus' first loss of the season to a team from South Florida. Because of the quality wins on its resume and by defeating Palmetto by a combined 67 points in handing that team two of its four losses, Columbus only drops three spots in this week's rankings. The Explorers fall to No. 9 right in front of the Camden (N.J.) team it beat in early January. Columbus is still seeded No. 1 in its eight-team region in the FHSAA Class 7A power rankings and have home court priority in the regional.  

This week's highest rated newcomer is another team that went into overtime last week. In fact, No. 41 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) played five overtimes in two games over a period of 48 hours to capture the 2023 Chicago Public League (CPL) crown in coach Robert Smith's final season. Simeon also avenged two of its regular season losses to move back up in front of Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.). Benet Academy, which has one regular season loss to Simeon, moves up five spots to No. 43 this week.

Simeon outlasted Curie (Chicago, Ill.) in the semifinals, 64-60, in an incredible four-overtime affair. Unsigned senior guard Jalen Griffith had 21 points for Simeon in the gut-check win. With no shot clock in play, each team only scored two points in the third extra period. Curie had multiple opportunities to win, but the Wolverines' Miles Rubin came up with a clutch block and Simeon senior point guard Kaiden Space nailed two free throws to seal the semifinal victory.

In Saturday's championship game at UIC Credit Union 1 Arena, it must of felt like no sweat to play an extra period against Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.), the other team that beat the Wolverines earlier in the season. Simeon dominated the extra period, rolling to a 72-64 victory to give Smith his eighth CPL title.

Simeon, which was led by Wes Rubin with 21 points with his brother Miles chipping in 15 vs. Kenwood Academy, will now look to capture a seventh IHSA state crown under Smith's leadership in Class 3A.

Senior Dai Dai Ames, bound for Kansas St., led Kenwood Academy with 22 points and scored his team's only points in overtime on two free throws.

A newcomer that has a big game coming up on Tuesday is No. 44 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), a participant in the CIF Southern Section open division playoffs. In a format with two pools of four teams each, Notre Dame defeated previous No. 34 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), 71-63, in the number four vs. number five seed pool game. Notre Dame was the only victor in one of the four CIFSS open pool games as the lower, visiting seed, as its defense played superbly in the second and third quarter while the offense nailed 13-of-21 3-pointers. Notre Dame’s "big three" guards all made an impact with Gonzaga-bound Dusty Stromer scoring 20 points, Duke-bound Caleb Foster hitting for 18 points and Houston-bound Mercy Miller, a junior, netting 17 points.

The Knights can really make some FAB 50 noise on Tuesday when they hit the road to take on number one seed and FAB 50 No. 6 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in their second pool play game. If Notre Dame can win its second consecutive road pool play game, it would capture Pool “A” and its Mission League rematch with Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) on Friday (the third pool game) wouldn’t have any bearing other than SoCal regional placement.

Notre Dame took No. 11 Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) into double overtime in one of the two games versus its Mission League foe during the regular season. In Pool "B" should the Wolverines and No. 19 West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.) win pool play games at home on Tuesday, the two ranked clubs would meet Friday in a defacto semifinal game to determine the winner of that pool. That game would be at Harvard-Westlake, as the Wolverines are the number two seed and West Ranch the number three. The CIFSS open championship game is set for February 25 at the Honda Center in Orange County.

No. 1 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) plays for the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) state title. The VISAA playoffs are not sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). In order for teams to qualify for the end-of-season State Champions Invitational, it must capture a NFHS-sanctioned state championship in its respective state. This opens the door for the Panthers to compete at GEICO Nationals, which is slated for March 30 - April 1 and has been a tournament for top independent programs since the 2008-09 season and National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) clubs since its inception in 2020-21.

Paul VI is in consideration for a GEICO Nationals berth and coach Glen Farello told Ballislife his team would accept an invitation to the event if it was chosen to participate.

Paul VI is the No. 1 team in the FAB 50, but the team likely to earn the No. 1 seed is No. 2 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). The Eagles, GEICO Nationals tournament champions the past two seasons, closed out their regular season with a 62-52 victory over No. 20 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to finish 11-1 in NIBC play in 2022-23. MVA defeated IMG Academy twice during the regular season and only lost to No. 21 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) in conference play.

Montverde Academy only scored five points in the first quarter and trialed 23-18 at halftime, but executed and made the extra passes down the stretch. At one point, IMG Academy led by as many as 12 points. Junior forward Derik Queen had another strong game for a MVA club that won its final 11 NIBC games with its non-NIBC loss to No. 27 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.), a team No. 1 Paul VI defeated.

While Montverde Academy and IMG Academy are already done with the regular season (per FHSAA rules which both programs follow in order to be eligible to play those full member programs), Paul VI still has plenty of games to go in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC), which is the strongest parochial high school conference in the country. From the results so far this season, Paul VI would be a fine addition to GEICO Nationals.

According to event organizers with Skokie, Ill.-based Paragon Marketing, new state associations sanctioned by the NFHS are going to allow their state championship teams the opportunity to play in the State Champions Invitational if selected.

RELATED:  Preseason 2022-23 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker | "In The Paint" Podcast (Spotify) |  "In The Paint" Podcast (YouTube) 

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
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(9th poll of 2022-23 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, Feb. 12; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)24-1
22Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)23-2
33John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)21-0
44Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)27-1
55Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)23-1
67Centennial (Corona, Calif.)26-3
78Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)24-0
89Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)26-3
96Columbus (Miami, Fla.)21-4
1010Camden (Camden, N.J.)22-2
1111Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)29-1
1212Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)15-2
1313Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)20-3
1414St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)23-2
1515Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)16-6
1616Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.)24-0
1717Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)29-1
1818Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)27-1
1919West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.)28-1
2020IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)16-7
2121AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)18-5
2222West Linn (West Linn, Ore.)21-1
2323Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)18-2
2424Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)15-5
2525Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)23-2
2627Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)19-0
2728Mt. St. Jospeh (Baltimore, Md.)31-3
2829Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.)18-0
2930DME Academy (Daytona Beach, Fla.)24-5**
3031Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)22-0
3135Pinson Valley (Pinson, Ala.)27-0
3237Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)16-1
3340Penn (Wishawaka, Ind.)19-1
3426Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)19-1
3536Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)26-3
3638Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)23-3**
3739Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)19-6
3843De Pere (De Pere, Wis.)21-0
3932Carter (Dallas, Texas)26-3
4044St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)17-1
41NRSimeon (Chicago, Ill.)26-3
4242Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)19-4
4348Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.)27-1
44NRNotre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)21-9
4545Lake City (Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho) 20-0
4646Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.)19-0
47NRBentonville West (Centerton, Ark.)23-2
4849Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)24-2
4950Warren Central (Bowling Green, Ky.)24-1
50NRRadnor (Radnor, Pa.)22-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 33 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), No. 34 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), No. 41 Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.), No. 47 Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.).

Bubble Teams:  Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 16-7; Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 21-6; Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 25-3; Bullis (Potomac, Md.) 23-2; Cardinal Ritter (St. Louis, Mo.) 18-3; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 15-4; Centerville (Centerville, Ohio) 19-3; Chambers (Charlotte, N.C.) 19-5; Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 19-2; Curtis (University Place, Wash.) 22-3; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 25-1; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 18-2; Ellison (Killeen, Texas) 31-3; Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) 22-1; Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.) 21-1; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 21-5; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 19-5; Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) 21-1; Highland (Warrenton, Va.) 25-2; Horn Lake (Horn Lake, Miss.) 28-1; Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.) 24-6**; Joliet West (Joliet, Ill.) 24-5; Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.) 23-3; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 21-2; Kennedy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) 19-0; Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.) 23-6; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 25-2; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 18-8; MacArthur (Decatur, Ill.) 25-3; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 19-6; Metamora (Metamora, Ill.) 26-2; Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 15-1; Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 20-4; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 16-9; Nixa (Nixa, Mo.) 21-0; North Farmington (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 15-1; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 22-2; Northern Nash (Rocky Mount, N.C.) 23-1; Northside (Roanoke, Va.) 22-0; Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 20-13; Oak Park (Kansas City, Mo.) 21-1; Putnam City North (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 20–1; Reading (Reading, Pa.) 21-1; Richmond Heights (Richmond Heights, Ohio) 21-0; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 19-3; Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield, Ill.) 26-3; Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 28-3; Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) 21-2; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 23-4; St. Augustine (San Diego, Calif.) 24-4; UOD Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.) 15-3; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 14-7; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 22-1; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 13-10.

Note: The FAB 50 powered by 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 23 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of He can be reached at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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