UPDATED FAB 50: Season Over For State Champs?

Four new teams crack the latest edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, as teams are beginning to wrap up their 201-22 season. We have our first big playoff upset as previous No. 11 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) falls to Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) in the Nevada Class 5A state title game. The Gaels are now done, but will Liberty play on in the State Champions Invitational? Highest-ranked newcomer is No. 42 Chesterton (Chesterton, Ind.).

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

When the new State Champions Invitational (April 7-9) was announced two weeks ago, it gave new life to teams looking to extend their season beyond a state championship. With GEICO Nationals hosting an eight-team field March 31-April 2, not all eligible state champions from Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Washington, D.C., would ever make the field under the old format.

With the State Champions Invitational in the mix, event operators clearly eyed Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) going into last week's Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA) Class 5A state finals in Reno. The Gaels were the nine-time defending champion and entered their game with No. 35 Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) as the No. 11 team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com.

Bishop Gorman had already beaten Liberty three teams prior to Saturday's meeting, including an incredible double-overtime win over the Patriots in the title game of the Tarkanian Classic in December. The old coaching adage "it's hard to beat a good team twice" definitely came to fruition as the Gaels couldn't hold off the Patriots for a fourth time, losing in overtime, 63-62. The Patriots trailed by six points (52-46) late, but fought back to outscore Gorman, 8-2, to close regulation. In overtime, sophomore Dedan Thomas Jr. (20 points) scored four points and junior Angelo Kambala made a clutch lay-up to make it a two possession game. Gorman got a 3-pointer from sophomore John Mobley Jr. (20 points) with 2.4 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one point and the Gaels incredibly stole the inbounds pass. Senior Ryan Abelman fired a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was off and Gorman's streak of nine consecutive state titles was over.

St. Mary's-bound Josh Jefferson had 16 points and seven rebounds for Liberty, which had one other stinker loss to Serra (Gardena, Calif.), while Nevada-bound Darrion Williams finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in his final game for the Gaels.

Liberty rose four spot to No. 31 this week, while Gorman tumbled down 21 spots to No. 32. Gorman must remain in front of the No. 34 Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas) team it defeated in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic title game. Liberty didn't have much room to rise in the FAB 50 this week, but the most important thing is there isn't a asterisk (***) by its season won-loss record indicating the season is complete. Liberty will be considered for the State Champions Invitational and is a worthy champion.

As for Gorman, its final FAB 50 ranking is far from complete. Liberty could play more games and that could play in the Gaels' favor positively or negatively. Gorman could even finish above Liberty depending on the results of potential additional games for the Patriots.

Before Gorman was knocked off, the other front-runner to be selected for the new event was No. 10 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The Eagles must capture the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) 4A title to be eligible and are heavy-favorites in that classification. They have only lost to No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and to Milton (Ga.). That makes March 2's Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAAA quarterfinal game between battle-tested Milton and No. 44 Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.), which participated in the Tarkanian Classic, one to watch.

Another team that is a prime candidate for the new event is No. 24 Garfield (Seattle, Wash.), which needs three more victories to capture the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Class 3A state title.

This year, the New York Federation Tournament of Champions will not be played for the third consecutive season. One of the annual contenders for the Feds crown (which pits the winners of the NYSPHSAA, CHSAA, NYSAIS and PSAL), Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.), got a reprieve of sorts when it was invited to the 60th annual Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament. After being cancelled the past two seasons, Alhambra returns to Frostburg State University in Cumberland, Md., March 10-12. The host school for the event is National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) member Bishop Walsh (Cumberland, Md.).

Joining bubble club LuHi at the ACIT will be No. 37 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) and No. 38 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.). Those two clubs could meet for the Baltimore Catholic League (BCL) title this upcoming weekend.

The powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) invitees to Alhambra are No. 19 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), No. 25 Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) and bubble clubs DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.).

On Monday evening February 28, Paul VI defeated Bishop McNamara, 42-41, to capture the WCAC Tournament championship. It was the Panthers' second win over Bishop McNamara so far this season. The Panthers captured their first WCAC tourney crown since 2013-14 when WCAC Player of the Year Dug McDaniel fed freshman Jaquan Womack for the game-winning lay-up with less than one second remaining.

It's a big-time win for Paul VI's program and the result will be reflected in next week's FAB 50 when even more clubs will have been crowned state champs. Will their season be over?

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

(12th poll of 2021-22 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 27; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)25-1
22Duncanville (Duncanville (Texas)29-1
33Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)19-4
44Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)29-1
55Centennial (Corona, Calif.)30-1
66IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)20-4
77Richardson (Richardson, Texas)32-1
88La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)20-4
99Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)30-7
1010Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)22-2
1112Camden (Camden, N.J.)24-2
1213Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)25-0
1314North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)24-3
1415Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)23-2
1518Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio)23-0
1616Weddington (Matthews, N.C.)28-0
1717Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)32-1
1823Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)25-5
1920Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)25-4
2024Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.)29-0
2125Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)26-1
2219Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)24-3
2321Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)24-4
2426Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)23-0
2532Bishop McNamara (Forrestville, Md.)21-3
2622Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)21-4**
2727Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)24-4**
2828Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)24-3
2934Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)24-3
3030York Prep (Rock Hill, S.C.)24-0
3135Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)22-4
3211Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)30-1***
3333Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)23-3
3436Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)29-4**
3531Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.)31-2
3642North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.)23-0
3737St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)31-5
3839Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)27-5
3944Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.)29-0
4043Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.)27-1
4149Westfield (Houston, Texas)29-1**
42NRChesterton (Chesterton, Ind.)23-0
43NRCarmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)26-3
4446Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)27-2
4547King’s Fork (Suffolk, Va.)23-0
4638Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)33-4***
4748George Rodgers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)30-1
48NRChristian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)26-0
4950Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)19-1
50NRNeenah (Neenah, Wis.)23-1

Dropped Out: Previous No. 29 New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.), No. 40 Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.), No. 41 South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.), No. 45 West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.).

Bubble Teams:  Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 31-3; Beecher (Flint, Mich.) 18-1; Bingham (Bingham, Utah) 22-2; Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 20-2; Bristol Central (Bristol, Conn.) 20-0; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 25-3***; Chambers (Charlotte. N.C.) 22-6; Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) 29-0; Christian Brother’s (St. Louis, Mo.) 20-6; Cleveland (Clayton, N.C.) 29-1; Columbia Heights (Columbia Heights, Minn.) 22-0; Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.) 22-5; Del City (Cel City, Okla.) 19-3; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 18-7; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 20-6***; Eagle Academy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 18-5; Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) 21-2; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 18-6; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 17-8; John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) 19-4; King (Detroit, Mich.) 17-1; Kingfisher (Kingsfisher, Okla.) 23-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 28-0; Laurel Highlands (Uniontown, Pa.) 23-0; Liberty (Liberty, Mo.) 23-2; Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 18-5; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 25-0; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 21-1; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 22-7; Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) 23-0; Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 18-0; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 23-5; New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.) 29-3; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 26-4; Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 16-4; Northview (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 18-1; Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) 24-1; Patriot (Nokesville, Va.) 25-0; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 24-5; Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 20-2; Quaker Valley (Leetsdale, Pa.) 22-0; Raymond (Raymond, Miss.) 27-5; Richmond (Rockingham, N.C.) 26-1; Simeon (Chicago) 23-5; South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 21-3**; South St. Paul (South St. Paul, Minn.) 23-0; St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 21-3; St. Thomas Aquinas (Edison, N.J.) 26-1; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 19-4; The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.) 30-7; The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 25-8***; Tualatin (Tualatin, Ore.) 21-2; Varina (Richmond, Va.) 21-1; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 14-10; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 35-1; Westminster (Town and Country, Mo.) 25-1; West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 20-4***; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 25-4; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 22-9**; Williamston (Williamston, Mich.) 19-0; Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukee, Wis.) 22-2; Zachary (Zachary, La.) 32-3.

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 [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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