NEW FAB 50: Things HEAT UP Out West!

California has two weeks left before the playoffs begin in SoCal and this week a fourth team from the Golden State cracks the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. New Mexico wraps up its state tournament and the Southwest Region is now done for the 2020-21 season.

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast |“On The Rise” Show | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness  | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 

Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) was hoping to complete a perfect season by capturing the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) Class 5A state crown over the weekend. The Bulldawgs advanced to the championship game on May 8 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., courtesy of a 68-64 comeback victory over No. 2 seed Roswell (Roswell, N.M.) in the semifinals. Las Cruces, however, couldn’t complete another comeback in the championship game against top seed Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.) and fell one game short of an unbeaten season, 55-49.

Cleveland led by seven points with 3:27 remaining in the game, but Las Cruces was able to cut its deficit to two points (51-49) but could get no closer. The top-seeded Storm were led offensively by seniors Nathan Hasberry and Tre Watson with 17 points each and Cleveland’s defense also forced 14 turnovers. Cleveland defeated Atrisco Heritage Academy (Albuquerque, N.M.) for the second time in three games in the semifinals, 58-54, and it was the only team the Storm lost to en route to the program’s first state crown.

With New Mexico’s season in the books, the Southwest Region is now wrapped up for 2020-21 and we’ll release its final Top 20 rankings later this week.

Las Cruces was looking for a repeat state crown and momentum towards next year’s preseason FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com as the team is led by two standout juniors (Deuce Benjamin and Isaiah Carr) and only carries two seniors on its roster. We were considering an unbeaten Las Cruces team for the current FAB 50 and also considered one-loss state champ Cleveland, but in the end decided the fourth team from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) ranks was most worthy.

That fourth CIF team is Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.), which cracks the FAB 50 this week at No. 46. The Eagles and the rest of the FAB 50 ranked teams from California are still unbeaten at this point with two weeks left in the regular season. All four of those teams belong to the massive CIF Southern Section and Etiwanda put itself in favorable position to make the section’s open division pool play playoff format (which begins May 28) by defeating Baseline League rival Damien (La Verne, Calif.) for the second time this season in dramatic fashion.

Etiwanda handed Damien its first loss of the season after 15 wins in its season opener by four points (64-60) in a game the Spartans had multiple opportunities to potentially tie near the end. In the latest matchup, Damien rallied from seven points down with just under three minutes remaining to tie the game at 53-53 on a 3-pointer by USC-bound Malik Thomas with 34 seconds remaining. Etiwanda’s Jahmai Mashack, bound for Tennessee, ran the clock down before finding strongman Darvelle Wyatt on a slip screen at the top of the key, where he promptly nailed a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired. State-ranked Damien has won 21 other games and only lost to the Eagles so far.

Etiwanda is the program that took Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) to the brink last season in the SoCal open regional title game before losing at the buzzer on a jumper by Ziaire Williams, who played at Stanford in 2020-21 and is headed for the NBA Draft. That was the final game of the 2019-20 CIF season before COVID-19 canceled the remainder of the state tournament.

This season, there won’t be a CIF state championship game once again, as the SoCal open final will be the final game of the season. Sierra Canyon is the three-time defending SoCal open champ. In that time frame, the Trailblazers have also won the CIFSS open title each year with the exception of 2017-2018 when Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) defeated them. The Monarchs are currently the No. 2 ranked team in California and No. 33 in the FAB 50.

The team that dropped from the rankings to make room for Etiwanda was previous No. 45 Monsignor Scanlan (Bronx, N.Y.), which dropped a game in the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) Spring Tournament to bubble club and host Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.). Freshman Boogie Fland (15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Boston University-bound Malcolm Chimezie (10 points and 12 rebounds) led the way for Archbishop Stepinac, which has only lost two games to FAB 50 No. 9 Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) and is playing without Duke-bound AJ Griffin, who opted out of his senior season because of the late start.

The (CHSAA) Spring Tournament will conclude with two championship games on May 27 pitting the top finishers in its four divisions. The CHSAA will also hold a June Team Camp at Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.) from June 25-27 during the NCAA’s scholastic live period, which was re-instated when the NCAA decided to open up its recruiting calendar beginning on June 1.

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast |“On The Rise” Show | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness  | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(21st poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, May 9; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Does not include results vs. out-of-season opponents; ****Indicates season not complete.)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)24-1
22Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)20-4
33IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)22-3
44DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)9-0***
55Camden (Camden, N.J.)13-0
66Milton (Milton, Ga.)28-3
77Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)22-1
88Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)18-7***
99Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)3-0
1010Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)7-0****
1111Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)29-1
1212Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)28-0
1313Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)21-3**
1414Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)26-3
1515Westlake (Austin, Texas)30-2
1616Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)27-2
1717Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.)19-0
1818Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)7-4
1919St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)25-2
2020Reading (Reading, Pa.)26-2
2121Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)14-1
2222Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)26-2
2323Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)21-9
2424Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)24-3
2525Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)19-1
2626Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa)16-2
2727Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)9-1**
2828Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)31-0
2929Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)28-3
3030Victory Rock Prep (Bradenton, Fla.)27-6
3131Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)2-0
3232Clinton (Clinton, Miss.)21-1
3333Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)17-0****
3434Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)31-7
3535Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.)15-2
3636Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.)26-6
3737St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)15-1***
3838Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)28-2
3939Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)22-1
4040Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)24-3
4141Manasquan (Manasquan, N.J.)12-0
4242Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.)25-1
4343Huron (Ann Arbor, Mich.)20-1**
4444Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)4-0****
4546Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.)21-1
46NREtiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)6-0****
4747North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)21-2
4848Wauwatosa East (Wausatosa, Wis.)23-3
4949Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)26-3
5050Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.)19-2

Dropped Out: Previous No. 45 Monsignor Scanlan (Bronx, N.Y.).

Bubble Teams:  Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 7-2****; Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.) 10-1; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 24-3; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 15-0; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 17-7; Catalina Foothills (Tuscon, Ariz.) 19-1; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 20-0; Central (Little Rock, Ark.) 23-5; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 22-2; Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.) 17-1; Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.) 14-1; Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) 23-3; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 22-4; Del City (Del City, Okla.) 22-4; DePaul College Prep (Chicago, Ill.) 14-2; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 17-2; Elizabethtown (Elizabethtown, Ky.) 22-3; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 3-0****; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 0-2***; Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) 9-1; Highlands (Ft. Thomas, Ky.) 30-4; Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 14-0; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 0-0; John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 11-5; Kickapoo (Springfield, Mo.) 28-2; La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 10-10; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 14-1; Mentor (Mentor, Ohio) 25-1; Monsignor Scanlan (Bronx, N.Y.) 2-1****; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 25-2; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 12-3; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 21-1; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 21-3; Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) 16-1; St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.) 28-1; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 15-1; St. Mary’s (Pheonix, Ariz.) 20-1; Thunderidge (Highlands Ranch, Col.) 13-2; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 15-1**; Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas) 20-3; Westlake (Saratoga Springs, Utah) 21-4; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 27-5; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 15-1; Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.) 20-2.

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 21 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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