UPDATED FAB 50: Look Who’s No. 1 Now!

In the marquee game of Hoophall West in Phoenix last week, No. 5 Duncanville (Texas) defeated then No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) on a last second 3-pointer. That result and its other 10 victories puts the Panthers at No. 1 in this week’s edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. The Panthers own three victories over Top 7 clubs and still have plenty of unsettled business both on and off the court. Another Texas club, McKinney (Texas), is the highest ranked of six newcomers this week at No. 26. Read on for the full breakdown of our rankings position and what’s next in store for the FAB 50’s new No. 1 team.

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED: Duncanville Makes Huge Statement

Last week we decided to leave Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) at No. 1 in the FAB 50 even after it lost on a buzzer-beater to No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) in a National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) contest. The move looked sound after one period of play in a huge Hoophall West showdown between the Eagles and No. 5 Duncanville at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., last Thursday night as Montverde Academy led 21-8.

“I told our guys to do what we do everyday,” Duncanville coach David Peavy said. “We wanted to speed the game up. No matter what goes on, we have to figure it out and win.”

Duncanville did just that, as the Panthers turned the game around with a 23-7 second quarter advantage to take a 31-28 halftime lead. Duncanville’s guards, Aric Demings and Davion Sykes, turned up the defensive pressure, and forwards Cameron Barnes and Ron Holland began to make their presence felt on the glass. Demings also hit multiple run-stopping perimeter shots and saved his best for last.

Neither team could pull away, and Montverde was in good position to win the game after Duncanville’s Anthony Black turned the ball over in a tie game with 19.3 seconds remaining. The six-time FAB 50 champions took a 66-64 lead on two free throws by junior Kwame Evans Jr. with 7.1 seconds remaining, but Demings, a junior, had one more big shot in his arsenal. He executed a shot fake to perfection and knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with just over a second remaining.

“I really hasn’t hit me and I have no idea how to describe what I’m feeling; I’m in the moment,” Demings said moments after his team’s 67-66 victory. “For a Texas team to beat a team like that is big.”

Demings finished with 23 points for the Panthers, who traveled to Utah for the Holiday Hoopfest for a Saturday evening game. Similar to the Montverde Academy game, the Panthers trailed by double digits in the first half against American Fork (Utah), but came back in the third period and pulled away in the fourth to record a 79-66 win. Duncanville didn’t have the services of starting guard C.J. Ford in either game but did its part to put itself in position to earn a shot at the No. 1 ranking in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com.

Duncanville Is New No. 1

Last week we stated we’re not fond of hopping a highly-ranked team over another that hasn’t played yet, but the results for Duncanville are just too hard to ignore. We gave some thought to place IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) at No. 1. After all, that team also owns a last-second win over Montverde Academy, which has now lost twice in December for the first time in the 10 years of the Kevin Boyle era. The Ascenders, however, have a 68-62 loss to the Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) that Montverde Academy soundly beat. So the pecking order of IMG Academy, Montverde Academy and Sunrise Christian Academy behind Duncanville now makes sense, and the Buffaloes will have an opportunity to avenge their loss to Montverde Academy on January 6.

Duncanville’s resume also includes more than one last-second victory over a previous No. 1 ranked team, as Peavy’s club has also defeated No. 6 Sierra Canyon (80-73) and No. 7 Centennial (75-70). Both of those clubs have performed well in other games and are by far the two best teams from the Golden State. Duncanville also defeated Kimball (Texas), Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) and Carver (New Orleans, La.) when those clubs were FAB 50 ranked.

Duncanville will also face some land mines in the Whataburger Tournament in Mansfield, Texas after the Christmas holiday. The Panthers could face McKinney (Texas), this week’s highest ranked newcomer at No. 26, in the semifinal and No. 25 Richardson (Texas) in the final should they advance. McKinney’s only loss is by five points to the AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) club that Richardson blew out. AZ Compass Prep took apart No. 32 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and was impressive in two other wins at Hoophall West.

The gauntlet of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A state tournament will be no easy task, either. It is consistently one of the hardest, if not the hardest, traditional high school playoff bracket in the country to navigate and win. Should Duncanville win all its games on court, it will deserve to keep its rankings position.

What’s In Store Next?

Duncanville is keenly focused on its games on the court, but there is a looming off-court result that could affect the rest of its season, and ultimately, it position in the FAB 50.

According to coach Peavy, the hearing to determine the fate of a temporary court-issued injunction that has allowed Black to suit up was scheduled for December 13. The hearing did take place, and representation for both Black and the UIL were on hand to present their facts regarding Black’s eligibility. The court did not make its ruling to allow for a long term injunction or reject one on this date, but reportedly will later in the week.

Black was granted an injunction on November 19 after initially being ruled ineligible by the UIL in October following his transfer from Coppell. Peavy did tell Ballislife last Saturday he is confident in Black’s case for permanent eligibility, but that it’s out of his team’s hands. Should the injunction be rejected, the UIL could ultimately rule Duncanville must forfeit any wins that Black participated in.

Ironically, this is not the first time Montverde Academy could have a on-court loss overturned by forfeit to a team it lost to that rose to No. 1 in the FAB 50. In 2013-14, Cliff Alexander-led Curie (Chicago) defeated Montverde Academy at the Hoophall Classic and took over the No. 1 spot in the FAB 50. One-loss Curie later had to forfeit games for use of seven ineligible players and eventually lost the No. 1 position in the rankings when it lost in the first round of the Illinois state playoffs without two of its starters after capturing the Chicago Public League title on the court with a four-overtime victory over Whitney Young. Curie finished No. 26 in the FAB 50 that season.

From a FAB 50 standpoint, Duncanville will be in a similar position to Curie should Black not be granted a long-term injunction. Duncanville will be judged by how it fares on the court. It could affect Duncanville’s playoff chances or seeding, however, and if Duncanville doesn’t have Black for the rest of the season, or does not participate in the post-season, we’ll have to make a determination when the times comes on how either or both of those scenarios affect the Panther’s ranking position.

The next FAB 50 update is scheduled for Monday, January 3.

RELATED:  Preseason 2021-22 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker | “In The Paint” Podcast  | Duncanville Makes Huge Statement

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(3rd poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, December 12; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
15Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)11-0
22IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)6-1
31Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)5-2
43Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)8-1
54Camden (Camden, N.J.)0-0
66Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)9-1
79Centennial (Corona, Calif.)7-1
88Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.)0-0
912Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)8-0
1015Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)14-0
1111La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)8-1
1220Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)6-0
1313Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)3-0
1418Reading (Reading, Pa.)1-0
1514St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)11-1
1616DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)5-1
1717Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)6-0
1819Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)0-0
197Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)1-1
2022Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)9-0
2121Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)4-0
2231North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)6-1
2323Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)0-0
2424Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)2-0
2510Richardson (Richardson, Texas)11-1
26NRMcKinney (McKinney, Texas)14-1
2726Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)13-0
2827Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)8-1
2934Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)4-1
3029Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 3-1
3133Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)0-0
3228Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)10-5
3336Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)2-1
3438The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.)9-1
3535Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)9-1
3637Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)5-1
3739Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)5-1
3842Newton (Covington, Ga.)9-0
39NRWord of God (Raleigh, N.C.)8-1
4045Zionsville (Zionsville, Ind.)6-0
4144St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)3-1
4225Moravian Prep (Hudson, N.C.)10-1
43NRLake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)6-0
44NRPaul VI (Fairfax, Va.)5-0
4547Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)4-1
4648Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)10-0
47NRNeumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)2-0
4849Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.)3-3
49NRJonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)4-1
5050St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)2-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 30 West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.), No. 32 Kimball (Kimball, Texas), No. 40 Cane Ridge (Nashville, Tenn.), No. 41 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), No. 43 Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.), No. 46 Carver (New Orleans, La.).

Bubble Teams:  Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 4-0; Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.) 3-1; Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 2-2; Bishop Walsh (Cumberland, Md.) 4-3; Buford (Buford, Ga.) 5-1; Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 5-0; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 5-1; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 1-0; Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.) 7-3; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 2-1; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 12-0; Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 7-0; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 6-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 6-0; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 4-0; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 5-1; Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.) 7-1; Grissom (Huntsville, Ala.) 10-1; Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 10-1; Homestead (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) 5-1; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 5-4; Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) 5-5; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 3-0; Manasquan (Manasquan, N.J.) 0-0; Math, Civics & Sciences (Philadelphia, Pa.) 2-0; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 8-0; Mountain Point (Phoenix, Ariz.) 5-0; New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.) 4-0; Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) 3-0; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 6-1; Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.) 3-0; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 4-0; Simeon (Chicago) 5-0; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 6-0; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 3-0; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 1-2; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 9-3; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 5-4; Xaverian (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 2-0.

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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