UPDATED FAB 50: CA Open Madness!

Another California power is now in the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, but the state’s best team continues to roll, as No. 10 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) racks up two wins in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs. Can new No. 47 Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) knock the Trailblazers off?

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 Southwest Region Top 20 | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 | Final East Region Top 20

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section pool play playoffs is hard to understand for some fans across the country. When two teams are tied in pool play, the head-to-head result is the deciding factor on which team wins the pool. If there are more than two teams with the same record, the point system determines which team advances to the CIFSS Open Division championship game.

This season after two games in pool “B”, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), Damien (La Verne, Calif.) and Centennial (Corona, Calif.) are all tied with 1-1 won-loss records. On Friday, when the teams play the third game, two teams will finish 2-1. Whichever team won head-to-head from those two will advance.

From a national perspective previous FAB 50 No. 45 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) lost in its first pool play game to No. 7 seed Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), which traveled to the second-seed and beat them, 70-65. Centennial played its game without sophomore guard Kylan Boswell, who was in Colorado Springs, Col., for the USA Basketball 16U mini-camp over Memorial Day weekend. On Memorial Day Monday with Boswell back in the lineup, the Huskies defeated No. 6 seed Damien, 82-69. Boswell (13 points) was one of five Centennial players in double figures led by sophomore Allen McBride with 19 points.

Harvard-Westlake had a chance to take control of pool B, but fell to Mater Dei on Tuesday night, 61-57.

In pool A, it’s simpler, as Etiwanda (the No. 4 seed) will travel to top seed and state No. 1 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) for the right to advance to the championship game. Both teams are 2-0 in pool play so far.

Etiwanda moved into the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com after defeating No. 8 seed St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), 48-46, on Tuesday night. Powerful Darvelle Wyatt led the Eagles with 15 points, including a late bucket to give Etiwanda a 46-43 lead. In its first pool game, Etiwanda downed No. 4 seed Ribet Academy (Los Angeles), 85-74. Ribet Academy had previously been FAB 50 ranked and got to as high as No. 4 in the state. That’s how hard it is to win CIFSS open pool play games.

In its second pool play game, Ribet Academy was looking to shake up the FAB 50 and the state rankings when it traveled to face FAB 50 No. 10 Sierra Canyon. The talented Fighting Frogs held a 41-24 lead during the second quarter, but Sierra Canyon stormed back to win the game 82-70, to move its record to 14-0 on the season.

The difference in the second half of a game featuring a plethora of future D1 players was UCLA junior commit Amari Bailey. With Sierra Canyon in danger of dropping its first contest in 20 outings, Bailey put Sierra Canyon on its back. He scored 28 points in the second half and finishing with 38 on an array of dunks, drives and cutbacks. Shy Odom also had some important moments and finished with 18 points.

Sierra Canyon won its first pool play game, 60-46, over St. John Bosco as junior Ramel Lloyd Jr. had 25 points, including four 3-pointers.

It’s ironic Sierra Canyon is now facing Etiwanda because it was the playoff foe its faced right before the pandemic shut down the CIF season down in March 2020. Sierra Canyon won in dramatic come-from-behind fashion in that SoCal open final after trailing by double-digits in the final two and a half minutes. The CIF state final was never played.

Sierra Canyon is the three-time defending SoCal open champion, including back-to-back CIF state championships in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Since its loss in the CIF Southern Section open division title game in 2018 (before the pool play format began), Sierra Canyon has won 20 consecutive playoff games, which is an incredible feat considering the competition level in the CIFSS playoffs.

It’s reflected in the FAB 50, as Sierra Canyon is in the Top 10, while Etiwanda hovers near the bottom of the 50 teams. Sierra Canyon will be favored in the post-season until someone actually knocks them off.

Sierra Canyon won’t be able to play the NorCal open representative in the CIF state title game, as the CIF is not hosting regional playoffs in that region of the state. However, a fourth consecutive SoCal title would be quite an accomplishment conspiring how many land mines there are along the way and potential rematches against teams looking for an avenging win.

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 Southwest Region Top 20 | Final Midwest Region Top 20 | Final Southeast Region Top 20 |  Final East Region Top 20

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(24th poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Tuesday, June 1; *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.)14-0****
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
3333Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)31-7
3434Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.)15-2
3535Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.)26-6
3636St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)15-1***
3737Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.) 26-0****
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**
4445Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.)21-1
4546North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)21-2
4647Wauwatosa East (Wausatosa, Wis.)23-3
47NREtiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)11-1****
4848Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)26-3
4949Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.)19-2
5050St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.)28-1

Dropped Out: Previous No. 45 Centennial (Corona, Calif.).

Bubble Teams:  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; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 6-1; Catalina Foothills (Tuscon, Ariz.) 19-1; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 20-0; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 19-2****; 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.) 7-1****; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 17-2; Elizabethtown (Elizabethtown, Ky.) 22-3; Highlands (Ft. Thomas, Ky.) 30-4; Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 14-0; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 5-0****; 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; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 8-1****; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 25-2; Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.) 11-3****; 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: @RonMFlores2

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