It’s another week of upsets and big results, particularly Baltimore clubs St. Frances Academy and Poly pulling off big wins at the East Coast Bump, that change the pecking order of the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Top ranked clubs beating up on each other makes compiling the FAB 50 more difficult, but it beats the alternative (a bunch of unbeaten clubs at the top) and also creates excitement and interest as teams position for a possible slot at GEICO Nationals in April! There are three newcomers this week, led by No. 46 Male (Louisville, Ky.).
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By Ronnie Flores
In the early days of weekly national rankings in the 1980s, there simply wasn’t many intersectional match-ups or showcase events for top teams to meet up on a weekly basis. That simply isn’t the case anymore.
For example, in the final 1980-81 Basketball Weekly Rankings, the top four ranked teams (Quincy, Ill., Rindge & Latin of Cambridge, Mass., Neptune, N.J. and Central of Flint, Mich.) were all unbeaten. Ironically, the preseason No. 1 that season, Patrick Ewing-led Rindge & Latin, didn’t lose but finished ranked No. 2. In 1984-85, USA Today’s No. 1 ranked team, Dunbar (Baltimore), played a strong schedule and finished 28-1, but the next seven teams in the Super 25 were all unbeaten!
Teams such as Dunbar, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), Crenshaw (Los Angeles) plus a few others traveled and had national reputations, but the rankings had less comparative results and ranked teams had much fewer common opponents than they do in 2020. National rankings back then were more about reputation and highly-regarded players and relationships with pollsters, as it was much more difficult to compile results, rather than on-court results.
This season, the results continue to alter the FAB 50 on a weekly basis at No. 2 on down after unbeaten No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida (which has concluded its regular season). The top 10 ranked teams in the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com have combined for 27 losses. That’s a testament to playing national schedules and increased competition among ranked teams, as the group of top teams have never been stronger, likely at the expense of local public schools and because young players from around the world desire to play for strong programs.
While this makes the job of rankings compilers more difficult and might give coaches anxiety as eligible programs bid for one of the seven opening slots for GEICO Nationals in New York April 2-4 (Montverde Academy will be the top seed), it also creates excitement and interest. There are not just a bunch of unbeaten clubs that dominate in their respective state, but a bunch of teams who must gear up for tough opponents each week.
FLASHBACKS OF AQUILLE CARR HITTING A GAME WINNER VS EDMONDSON AT MORGAN ST AND IMMEDIATELY GOING DOWN WITH CRAMPS…
Tonight @RAHaliJr hits the game winner for @PolyBoysBball vs @IMGABasketball pic.twitter.com/wjyVWP2Vex
— Capitol Hoops (@CapitolHoops) February 9, 2020
The biggest shake-up in this weeks’s FAB 50 came as a result of the East Coast Bump on the campus of UMBC in Catonsville, Md., where then No. 13 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) jumped all over then No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and beat them soundly, 80-61. Jamal West had 22 points while Khyrie Staten added 20 points for the Panthers, who were ranked No. 7 in the preseason FAB 50. Coach Nick Myles also got a terrific outing from VCU-bound point guard, Adrian “Ace” Baldwin, who had 12 points and 10 assists.
Poly (Baltimore, Md.) was the second Charm City team to pull off a big win at the East Coast Bump, as the Engineers held on to beat then No. 6 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 62-60, on a game-winning twisting layup by Rahim Ali Jr., his only made field goal in the hotly-contested game. Brandon Murray had 21 points and Justin Lewis added 20 for Poly, which came into the game ranked No. 21 in the FAB 50. Coach Sam Brand also got huge contributions from talented freshman wing, Kwame Evans Jr., who contributed 16 points, as the Engineers built a 47-32 lead on the back of a big run, while IMG Academy put itself in position to tie or perhaps win the game on the final possession by battling back over the final 10 minutes of the game.
So the big rankings question this week was what to do with Oak Hill Academy, which owns a 76-68 win over Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), which was No. 3 behind the Warriors last week and has concluded its regular season. Well, Oak Hill Academy’s and IMG’s situations differ this week, because the Warriors simply got outplayed and have to drop, whereas Poly benefitted from the home court advantage in a game that came down to the final possession.
Ultimately, we could have dropped Wasatch Academy right behind wherever we placed Oak Hill, but that Iolani Classic title game was competitive and coach David Evans’ club was without the services of Michigan St-bound Maddy Sissoko, its top inside player. We decided to move up Wasatch Academy to No. 2 and give it credit for its 94-82 win over new No. 3 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.). That club owns a win over No. 4 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), which beat St. Frances Academy by a sizable margin (73-55).
This is the week where Oak Hill’s previous home loss to West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) comes into play. Perhaps had Oak Hill lost on a crazy ending or a fluke basket to SFC it would have dropped less, but West Oaks Academy does get credit for that win and moves up four spots to No. 10, with the Warriors right behind them at No. 11. St. Frances Academy beat West Oaks by two points (67-65), but lost to Sunrise Christian and IMG Academy by a sizable margin (85-67). The fact that West Oaks Academy also has lost to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy twice gives more credence to move up Wasatch Academy to No. 2.
With its earlier win over new No. 7 St. Frances Academy and the nature of the loss to Poly, IMG Academy drops only two spots from No. 4 to No. 6. Poly moves up from No. 21 to No. 15, as both the Engineers and No. 14 Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) have lost to WCAC club St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), which checks in at No. 32 this week.
St. Frances Academy, which beat cross-town Poly 57-53, concludes its regular season Friday with a chance to avenge one of its three losses to archrival Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.). The MIAA A Conference playoffs and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament are still on the slate for St. Frances Academy to navigate and the results generated from those events could play a big role in the eventual GEICO Nationals field.
Other post-season tournaments that will have an affect on the FAB 50 in coming weeks are the WCAC playoffs, the New York Federation Class AA tournament, the CIF Southern Section Open Division pool play (which begins this Thursday and includes No. 18 Sierra Canyon, No. 23 Centennial, No. 28 Rancho Christian and No. 31 Etiwanda), the CIF SoCal regional open elimination playoffs and the Philadelphia Catholic League tournament.
There are likely to be more results generated from those post-season events that will change the FAB 50 pecking order, but it’s alot more interesting, and exciting, than the top teams winning game after game against foes with little to no chance to pull off an upset.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(Eighth poll of 2019-20 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 9; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||25-0|
|2||3||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||27-2|
|3||7||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||22-2|
|4||5||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||18-3|
|5||6||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||23-2|
|6||4||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||18-6|
|7||13||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||31-3|
|8||8||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||25-1|
|9||9||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||18-3|
|10||14||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||21-5|
|11||2||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||31-3|
|12||12||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||17-2|
|13||10||Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)||22-1|
|14||15||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||19-3|
|15||21||Poly (Baltimore, Md.)||19-2|
|16||11||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||20-6|
|17||23||Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.)||21-0|
|18||16||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||24-4|
|19||17||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||24-2|
|20||18||Shiloh (Snellville, Ga.)||23-2|
|21||19||Westlake (Austin, Texas)||29-1|
|22||20||Curie (Chicago, Ill.)||23-1|
|23||22||Centennial (Corona, Calif.)||26-2|
|24||25||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||16-5|
|25||26||Cardozo (Bayside, N.Y.)||24-0|
|26||27||Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas)||27-2|
|27||28||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||18-1|
|28||29||Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.)||21-5|
|29||30||Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.)||29-2|
|30||33||North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)||20-1|
|31||35||Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)||26-2|
|32||36||St. John's (Washington, D.C.)||22-6|
|33||32||St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.)||22-3|
|34||39||Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.)||19-0|
|35||40||Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||19-1|
|36||31||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||18-9|
|37||37||Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)||27-3|
|38||41||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)||18-4|
|39||42||Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.)||18-2|
|40||43||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||24-3|
|41||44||Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)||18-1|
|42||47||O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.)||16-3|
|43||46||Beecher (Flint, Mich.)||14-1|
|44||24||St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)||17-4|
|45||49||Rangeview (Aurora, Col.)||18-0|
|46||NR||Male (Louisville, Ky.)||22-4|
|47||48||Lawrence Central (Indinapolis, Ind.)||17-2|
|48||NR||Del City (Del City, Okla.)||17-1|
|49||50||St. Mary's Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||13-1|
|50||NR||Concord First Assembly (Concord, N.C.)||32-3|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 34 Collinsville (Collinsville, Ill.), No. 38 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.), No. 45 Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.).
Bubble Teams: Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) 21-3; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 28-2; Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor, Mich.) 13-1; Bloom (Chicago Heights, Ill.) 22-5; Bogan (Chicago, Ill.) 22-2; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 13-5; Brentwood (Brentwood, N.Y.) 19-1; Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.) 16-1; Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.) 13-1; Cleveland (Cleveland, Tenn.) 25-0; Collinsville (Collinsville, Ill.) 24-2; Davidson Day (Davidson, N.C.) 26-1; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 18-1; Dickinson (Dickinson, Texas) 24-5; Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) 14-1; Elizabeth (Elizabeth, N.J.) 15-3; Evanston (Evanston, Ill.) 23-3; Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) 19-2; Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 23-1; Grand Rapids Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 13-0; Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.) 15-2; Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 23-4; Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) 23-3; Huron (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 13-0; Jackson South Side (Jackson, Tenn.) 25-0; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 17-2; Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.) 25-2; Jenks (Jenks, Okla.) 16-2; John Paul II (Plano, Texas) 35-1; Lee (Montgomery, Ala.) 29-1; Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.) 11-2; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 19-6; Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.) 19-6; Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.) 19-2; Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 18-4; Niles Notre Dame (Niles, Ill.) 25-3; North Shore (Houston, Texas) 29-3; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 15-1; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 12-6; Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.) 20-1; Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) 24-2; Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 21-4; Southmoore (Moore, Okla.) 15-3; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 23-2; St. Anthony (Long Beach, Calif.) 26-2; St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.) 26-1; St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 17-1; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 27-4; Thornton (Harvey, Ill.) 25-1; Trinity Christian (Fayetteville, N.C.) 24-1; Union (Vancouver, Wash.) 20-0; Westover (Fayetteville, N.C.) 22-0; Whitehaven (Memphis, Tenn.) 21-3; Yates (Houston, Texas) 18-4.
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 20 years ago. Starting with a weekly format for the 1987-88 season, the FAB 50 is the longest-running weekly national rankings.
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