UPDATED FAB 50: Playoff Madness!

The playoffs are here and this is the time in the season when a team's spot in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com will be challenged. There are going to be some great opportunities for teams to move up, or in, the industry's longest-running weekly national rankings over the next month. There are four newcomers to this week's FAB 50 led by No. 40 Penn (Wishawaka, Ind.)

While high school basketball doesn't have a March Madness type national playoff tournament like college basketball does, there is certainly plenty of excitement around the various state playoff tournaments that begin this week in selected states around the country. There will be crazy storylines, upsets and the ability for teams in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com to make a statement, or for team's to quickly move up from the vast bubble list.

The team that made the loudest statement last week was No. 2 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), which took on No. 3 Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) in the marquee game of the Metro Classic at Kean University in Union, N.J. This was a rematch of last year's title game at GEICO Nationals in which Montverde Academy won its sixth event crown and finished No. 2 in the FAB 50.

In this game, Link Academy came in undefeated and ready to stake its claim to the top spot in the rankings, but the Eagles had other ideas and showed once again how hard it is to climb all the way to the top of the FAB 50, something Montverde Academy was able to do six times between 2013 and 2021. Montverde Academy jumped all over the Lions, storming out to a 17-2 lead highlighted by a 15-0 run.

Before the first quarter was even over, Montverde Academy went on another 12-0 run and led 29-7 after one period. Link Academy tried to make up the stagger, but could get no closer than 12 points in the second quarter, as the Eagles posted a dominant 84-58 victory.

Improved junior forward Derik Queen led a balanced attack with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds. Junior wing Liam McNeeley netted 15 points, while junior guard Curtis Givens added 13 points. Oregon-bound forward K.J. Evans had a good all-around game with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while junior forward Asa Newell added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Montverde Academy has now won 14 consecutive games (including a 84-62 win over No. 24 and Metro Classic host Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) the night after the Link Academy win) since a 56-55 loss to No. 28 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii in December. So what has made the difference since the Mt. St. Joseph game?

"We made a decision to reduce the rotation from 10 players to eight," Montverde Academy coach Kevin Boyle told Ballislife. "We challenged the players toughness and commitment to meet Montverde's standard. We also implemented our full court press that has allowed us to speed the game up."

Montverde Academy, which is 10-1 in National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) play, has one conference and regular season game remaining versus No. 20 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)on February 10. Should the Eagles win that game against a club it has already beaten once this season, MVA will be the top seed at GEICO Nationals, set for March 30-April 1.

For the FAB 50 ranked clubs that will participate in that end-of-season event, the key is to remain engaged and be ready for tough competition after a long break. While some clubs have made a concerted effort to schedule a few extra games into late February or early March, Boyle and has staff have handled being ready after the layoff better than any other academy-type program. Montverde Academy is 26-5 (.839) all-time at the event.

Midwest Region Breaks Through

All four newcomers to this week's FAB 50 hail from the Midwest Region, led by No. 40 Penn (Wishawaka, Ind.). The Kingmen are the No. 2 ranked team in basketball-crazed Indiana and have only lost one game, 65-53, to still unbeaten and FAB 50 No. 8 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.).

Wisconsin's No. 1 ranked team, unbeaten De Pere (De Pere, Wis.), checks in at No. 43, while Kentucky's top-ranked club, Warren Central (Bowling Green, Ky.), checks in at No. 50.

It's not very often over the year's that the top team in the Chicago Public League (CPL) is not FAB 50 ranked, but that's the case this week as previous No. 42 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) fell to bubble club Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), 56-46, at the Bank of O'Fallon Shootout in Illinois. With seven overall losses, Vashon is not quite a FAB 50 club right now and this week we go against local rankings that kept Simeon as No. 1 in its metro area.

Replacing Simeon in the FAB 50 is our No. 1 team from the same region: No. 48 Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.). The Redwings have won each outing since the turn of the New Year after taking a 52-49 loss to Simeon on December 30.

The most early anticipated playoff games will come from the CIF Southern Section open division playoffs in Southern California, which being February 10. There are two pools of four teams each with the winner of each pool squaring off at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on February 25.

If the seeds hold up (the higher seed hosts each of the three pool play games), it would be No. 7 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) vs. No. 11 Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.). Centennial is the top seed, so FAB 50 No. 34 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) is in the Huskies' pool at No. 4, while FAB 50 No. 19 West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.) is in the Wolverines' pool at No. 3

The field also includes two teams that have been previously FAB 50 ranked: No. 5 seed Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and No. 8 seed Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), both of whom play in the Mission League alongside Harvard-Westlake. Rounding out the field are No. 6 seed St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), the champions of the rugged Trinity League, and No. 7 seed St. Bernard (Playa Del Rey, Calif.), the co-champions of the Del Rey League alongside Bishop Montgomery. All eight teams will be part of the SoCal regional tournament, which culminates in the NorCal vs. SoCal CIF State Championships, March 10-11, at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif.

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

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(8th poll of 2022-23 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, Feb. 5; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)22-1
22Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)22-2
34John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)20-0
45Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)24-1
53Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)23-1
66Columbus (Miami, Fla.)20-3
77Centennial (Corona, Calif.)25-3
88Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)22-0
99Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)24-3
1010Camden (Camden, N.J.)19-2
1113Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)28-1
1212Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)14-2
1314Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)19-3
1415St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)21-2
1511Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)14-6
1619Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.)22-0
1718Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)27-1
1823Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)25-1
1924West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.)27-1
2016IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)16-6
2117AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)17-5
2225West Linn (West Linn, Ore.)19-1
2329Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)16-2
2421Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)12-5
2522Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)20-2
2627Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)18-0
2728Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)17-0
2830Mt. St. Jospeh (Baltimore, Md.)27-3
2934Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.)17-0
3026DME Academy (Daytona Beach, Fla.)22-5**
3135Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)19-0
3233Carter (Dallas, Texas)24-2
3331Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.)18-2
3420Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)25-2
3536Pinson Valley (Pinson, Ala.)26-0
3637Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)25-3
3741Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)14-1
3840Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)20-3
3943Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)16-6
40NRPenn (Wishawaka, Ind.)17-1
4144Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)15-6
4245Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)18-4
43NRDe Pere (De Pere, Wis.)19-0
4432St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)15-1
4546Lake City (Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho) 18-0
4647Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.)17-0
4748Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)27-2
48NRBenet Academy (Lisle, Ill.)25-1
4950Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)22-2
50NRWarren Central (Bowling Green, Ky.)22-1

Dropped Out: Previous No. 38 Bullis (Potomac, Md.), No. 39 Olympia (Orlando, Fla.), No. 42 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), No. 49 North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.).

Bubble Teams:  Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 19-6; Bullis (Potomac, Md.) 21-2; Cardinal Ritter (St. Louis, Mo.) 18-3; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 13-4; Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) 17-1; Centerville (Centerville, Ohio) 17-2; Central (Little Rock, Ark.) 20-4; Chambers (Charlotte, N.C.) 17-5; Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 17-2; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 23-1; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 15-2; Ellison (Killeen, Texas) 29-3; Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) 20-1; Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.) 20-1; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 20-4; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 17-5; Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) 19-1; Horn Lake (Horn Lake, Miss.) 26-1; Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.) 24-6**; Joliet West (Joliet, Ill.) 22-5; Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.) 21-3; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 20-2; Kennedy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) 16-0; Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.) 21-5; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 23-2; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 15-8; MacArthur (Decatur, Ill.) 24-2; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 17-6; Metamora (Metamora, Ill.) 24-2; Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 13-1; Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 18-4; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 15-7; Nixa (Nixa, Mo.) 19-0; Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) 20-9; North Farmington (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 13-1; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 20-2; Northern Nash (Rocky Mount, N.C.) 22-0; Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 20-12; Oak Park (Kansas City, Mo.) 20-1; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 15-5; Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 21-1; Putnam City North (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 17-1; Radnor (Radnor, Pa.) 20-0; Reading (Reading, Pa.) 20-1; Richmond Heights (Richmond Heights, Ohio) 20-0; Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield, Ill.) 24-2; Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 23-3; Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) 19-2; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 22-4; St. Andrew’s (Potomac, Md.) 17-3; St. Augustine (San Diego, Calif.) 22-4; UOD Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.) 15-2; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 12-7; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 21-1; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 12-10.

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 23 years ago.

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








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