UPDATED FAB 50: How Sweet It Is!

Players in this post:
Xavier Booker Justin Edwards

All the state champions around the country have been crowned and the results are reflected in this week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Imhotep Charter (Pennsylvania), Park Center (Minnesota), Cathedral (Indiana) and Williamston (Michigan) cement their FAB 50 status with state title wins on Saturday night. All this is left for the 2021-22 season is GEICO Nationals Final Four weekend and the first-ever State Champions Invitational (April 7-9).

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast  | Ballislife Podcast Network | How To Create A High School March Madness |  State Champions Invitational Announced   | History of High School Team RankingsAll-Time No. 1’s

Preseason positioning and talent level make a difference in national rankings. What happens on the court, however, ultimately determines where teams fall in the the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com.

Four FAB 50 ranked teams looked to close their seasons with state titles this past Saturday. Two were successful and two came up one game short of their ultimate goal, including one that was looking to close out an unbeaten campaign with a coveted Indiana Class 4A state title and a high FAB 50 ranking.

For coach Andre Noble and his crew at Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.), there wasn’t much suspense in wrapping up the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 5A state crown, as the Panthers downed New Castle (Pa.), 54-39. Junior Justin Edwards led the way for a club that shot 57 percent from the field in the first half with 20 points, six rebounds and four steals. Rahmir Burno, another junior for Inhotep, added 12 points and six rebounds. The Panthers easily downed Chester in the state semifinals, 66-41, on March 19.

Two nights earlier in Hershey, Pa., FAB 50 ranked Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) captured the PIAA Class 4A title with a 93-68 waxing of previously unbeaten Quaker Valley (Leetsdale, Pa.). In Class 6A, bubble club Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) downed another club looking to crack the rankings in Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), 78-65.

The PIAA’s best teams play in multiple divisions and that does play a role in how high they can climb in the FAB 50. The top teams generally do play each other during the regular season and this year, Neumann-Goretti ended up with a split with Roman Catholic while losing to Imhotep Charter, which rightfully finishes as the PIAA’s highest ranked team. Neumann-Goretti checks in at No. 35 this week, while Imhotep Charter checks in at No. 19 to make room for a terrific Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) club that fell to No. 17 Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) in its state title game after beating that club three times earlier in the season. Imhotep Charters owns victories over No. 34 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) and No. 37 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.).

Another club that secured its state title and FAB 50 ranking is No. 36 Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), which wrapped up its season with a 58-53 victory over Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.) in the Minnesota High School League (MHSL) Class 4A state title game. Park Center senior Cody Pennebaker hit five 3-pointers and scored 23 points to help the Pirates hold off Wayzata and claim their first state crown. Park Center, who also got three 3-pointers and 13 points from senior Ayouba Berthe, denied Wayzata its second consecutive state title. In the final 90 seconds, Wayzata went on a 13-4 run to get within two points, and actually had a chance to tie on a field goal attempt with 18 seconds remaining. Park Center then nailed three free throws to secure the Class 4A crown.

In Class 3A, Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) won its first state title as well and after the Minnesota championship games there was speculation among fans which team would win should the two state title-winning clubs were to meet. Park Center gets the nod as the MHSL’s top team as it only lost one game to Totino-Grace, which lost six games. The two clubs actually split games and Park Center won the return game, 87-57, after losing the first matchup by three points.

Margin of victory turned out to be a factor in the fate for Chesterton (Ind.), which entered Saturday’s Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Class 4A state title game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis undefeated and No. 18 in the FAB 50. It all came tumbling down when the Trojans were waxed by six-loss Cathedral (Indianapolis) in the championship game, 65-31. Immediately it was apparent Cathedral was too athletic and big for the Trojans to handle, as Chesterton quickly trialed 10-0 before it could breathe. Cathedral opened up a 22-7 lead after one period, led 36-21 at halftime and 49-27 after three periods. Cathedral, which captured its second state title, was led in the scoring department by Jaron Tibbs with 15 points. Jaxon Edwards added 14 points and Xavier Booker finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Cathedral set a state finals record with 14 blocked shots, while coach Jason Delaney became in the first in IHSAA history to capture state titles at three different schools (Waldron, Class A, 2004, Tech, Class 4A, 2014).

Winning the Indiana Class 4A state title is impressive and Cathedral jumps into the FAB 50 this week at No. 42. Perhaps if Chesterton had lost a close game or at the buzzer, it would have remained in the rankings, but Cathedral’s dominance caused the Trojans to drop all the way out.

Also dropping out was previous No. 48 Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.), which lost in the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 2 title game in overtime to unbeaten Williamston (Mich.), 68-65. The game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing was near the Hornet’s nest, as Mason Docks hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime to propel the Lansing area program to its first state crown since 1940. Catholic Central, the defending champions, had a chance to tie the game at the overtime buzzer, but a 3-pointer was off and the miss set of Williamston’s celebration.

Docks netted a team-high 27 points for the Hornets, which led by as much as 16 points in the second half. Max Burton contributed 23 points and seven rebounds for Williamston, which cracked the FAB 50 in place of Catholic Central at No. 49.

The final ranking for newcomers Cathedral, Williamston and the other 48 teams will not be determined until the results of GEICO Nationals (March 31-April 2) and the State Champions Invitational (April 7-9) are analyzed.

Teams on the bubble could still break into the nation’s longest-running weekly national rankings.

GEICO Nationals quarterfinals matchups (March 31 on ESPNU between 12 pm – 6 pm ET) are as follows: FAB 50 No. 1 and top seed Sunrise Christian vs. eight seed Prolific Prep Napa (Calif.). No. 4 and four seed Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) vs. No. 8 and five seed Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The opposite bracket will pit No. 3 and three seed Montverde Academy vs. six seed AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) and No. 6 and two seed IMG Academy vs. No. 7 and seven seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.).

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast  | Ballislife Podcast Network | How To Create A High School March Madness |  State Champions Invitational Announced   | History of High School Team RankingsAll-Time No. 1’s

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(16th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 28; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season not complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)25-1***
22Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)35-1
33Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)19-4***
44Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)32-1***
55Centennial (Corona, Calif.)33-1
66IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)20-4***
77La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)20-4***
88Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)33-7***
99Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)24-2***
1010Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)29-2
1111Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)31-0
1212Camden (Camden, N.J.) 31-3
1313Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)37-1
1414Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)29-1***
1515Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)31-5
1616North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)27-3
1719Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)22-4
1820Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)30-1
1917Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)27-4**
2021Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)22-6
2122Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)26-3
2223Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)28-3
2324Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)26-2
2425Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)26-4**
2526Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)26-4
2627McKinney (McKinney, Texas)36-5
2728Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)36-3
2829Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.)32-0
2930Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)34-4**
3031Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)29-1
3132Auburn (Auburn, Wash.)27-2***
3234Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)28-0
3333Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)26-5
3435Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)32-7
3536Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)23-4
3637Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)32-1
3738St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)35-7
3839Neenah (Neenah, Wis.)29-1
3940Varina (Richmond, Va.)25-1
4041George Rogers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)37-1
4142Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.)27-1
42NRCathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)26-6
4343Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)25-4
4444Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)26-3
4545Columbus (Miami, Fla.)29-2
4646Westlake (Austin, Texas)38-2
4747Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)33-4
4849Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)26-6***
49NRWilliamston (Williamston, Mich.)27-0
5050Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.)29-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 18 Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.), No. 48 Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Bubble Teams:  American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 16-12; Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 21-8; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 34-7; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 36-3; Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) 21-9; Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.) 26-5; Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.) 29-1; Bristol Central (Bristol, Conn.) 28-0; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 25-3; Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 28-2; Carver Collegiate Academy (New Orleans, La.) 33-5; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 25-2; Chambers (Charlotte. N.C.) 22-7; Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.) 29-1; Christian Brother’s (St. Louis, Mo.) 26-6; Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.) 25-5; Curtis (University Place, Wash.) 27-3; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 32-4; Del City (Cel City, Okla.) 24-4; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 21-7; Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 26-6; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-6; Eagle Academy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 19-6; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 24-5; Fox Chapel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 27-2; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 25-1; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 20-7; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 18-12; Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.) 23-4; John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) 22-4; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 30-9; Kingfisher (Kingsfisher, Okla.) 28-1; King’s Fork (Suffolk, Va.) 24-1; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 28-4; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 31-1; Liberty (Liberty, Mo.) 24-3; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 19-7; Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.) 31-6; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 29-0; Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas) 36-5; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 22-8; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 28-6**; Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) 25-1; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 24-0; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 24-6; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 27-5; North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 26-2; Panther Creek (Cary, N.C.) 23-8; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 28-3; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 25-5; Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.) 27-3; Quaker Valley (Leetsdale, Pa.) 27-1; Raymond (Raymond, Miss.) 29-5; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 32-2; Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 24-4; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 23-3**; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 22-4; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 25-4; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 30-7; The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 25-8; Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) 25-6; Tualatin (Tualatin, Ore.) 26-2; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 14-10; West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 23-5; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 26-10**; York Prep (Rock Hill, S.C.) 27-1; Zachary (Zachary, La.) 36-3.

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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