As the season rolls along, there are talented teams gearing up to begin its 2020-21 season, and others clearly frustrated about the prospects of having a complete one. There is some movement and one new team in the updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2020-21 season created by a big result in Indiana.
By Ronnie Flores
The season is halfway over for many elite clubs that were able to begin their respective seasons in normal fashion in proximity of Thanksgiving weekend and, in some instances, earlier. While teams from states such as Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Indiana have been able to play upwards of 15 games so far, it hasn’t come without some hiccups.
This week, it was learned FAB 50 ranked Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) will not lace them up again until February 5 and had a game postponed last week because of COVID-19 protocol. The talented team at Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) had to shut down for 26 days in December and January based on its COVID-19 protocols.
There are hiccups such as those in many regions, but they pale in comparison to the situations facing some programs that were initially told their season would slated to begin in January, but are delayed once again. In Michigan, the MHSAA put a pause to athletics in November based on its spiking COVID-19 numbers and now coaches are being told the new start date for winter sports is February 21. In hard-struck New York, basketball practice can begin on February 1, if school districts get clearance from their respective county health department. In Washington, the WIAA moved basketball and other winter sports to “Season 3”, which falls at the tail end of the academic calendar year. For WIAA hoops there will tentatively be two 10-week seasons from April 26 through June 13.
In many instances, especially with senior-laden teams that anticipated strong seasons, the programs are ready to move forward, but the school districts and league/conference awaits clearance from state health department officials. From the perspective of coaches, that’s where the communication has been delayed, confusing and/or poor. They want to play, and feel they can in a safe manner, but don’t have clearance to. Talking to coaches around the country that haven’t started the season, there is optimism to play, but the frustration is clearly building and at some point in the near future, it will begin to feel like a lost season.
For younger teams and lower level teams, any season will be good for development, morale and interaction with peers and friends. For senior-laden teams with college-bound talent such as O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.), there definitely is a time table to get a season successfully completed. Already the opportunities to play a complete schedule or face out-of-state, FAB 50-level competition has been wiped out for O’Dea and similar teams and eventually time becomes the major factor, Seniors have to prepare for college basketball or other endeavors that are not going to wait on a high school basketball season.
On the hardwood, there is one newcomer to this week’s FAB 50, as Indiana Class 4A contender Homestead (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) makes a big splash at No. 30. The Spartans recorded a huge 55-50 road win over previous No. 13 and then unbeaten Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) in overtime to remain unbeaten themselves. Coach Chris Johnson’s club got the big go-ahead bucket from dual-sport stud Kaleb Kolpien with 18 seconds remaining in overtime to give Homestead a 52-50 lead. The Spartans also got a big-time performance from 2022 guard Fletcher Loyer, a Purdue recruit who dropped 27 points in the win.
It’s never easy to go unbeaten in Indiana’s Class 4A ranks, so Lawrence North doesn’t drop completely out. The Wildcats come in at No. 33, three spots behind a Homestead team that can continue to climb should it remain unbeaten.
While teams that remain unbeaten, or are able to avenge a sole loss, will continue to be rewarded in the FAB 50, the tricky part is what to do with 0-0 teams that will start up its season later and will have minimal opportunity to play other ranked teams. We know these teams were projected to have fine seasons (such as O’Dea or Sierra Canyon of California) but all the teams playing at generally the same time creates different ranking scenarios compared to the fragmented seasons we currently have.
We contemplated doing a separate spring FAB 50 edition, but determined not enough states pushed back their calendars that far out. With the creation of the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC), we have four of the top six and five of the top 11 teams that essentially will be playing each other multiple times in 2020-21. That puts an increased emphasis on strength of schedule, and with COVID-19 protocols in place around the country, many teams S.O.S. is weakened this season.
Those NIBC teams will battle for the next two weekends at the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament. The MAIT will include a rematch between host and top-ranked Montverde Academy and No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) on February 5. The Eagles won the first matchup on January 9, 58-52, when Sunrise Christian was ranked No. 3. Both teams have to get through three tough games this upcoming weekend in order for it to be MVA’s second No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of the season. MVA downed then No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 55-51, on January 17.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(6th poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, January 24; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Does not include results vs. out-of-season opponents.)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||15-0|
|2||2||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||11-1|
|3||3||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||13-2|
|4||4||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||4-0***|
|5||5||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||13-1|
|6||6||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||15-3|
|7||7||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)||0-0|
|8||8||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||3-0|
|9||9||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||0-0|
|10||10||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||0-0|
|11||11||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||3-4|
|12||12||Milton (Milton, Ga.)||16-2|
|13||14||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||0-0|
|14||15||O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.)||0-0|
|15||17||Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)||19-0|
|16||16||Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)||0-0|
|17||18||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||17-1|
|18||23||Atascocita (Humble, Texas)||15-0|
|19||19||Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)||15-0|
|20||20||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||0-0|
|21||21||St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)||0-0|
|22||22||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|23||24||North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)||3-0|
|24||35||Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)||15-0|
|25||26||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||3-2|
|26||30||Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas)||14-2|
|27||27||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||0-0|
|28||28||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|29||29||Poly (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|30||NR||Homestead (Ft. Wayne, Ind.)||16-0|
|31||31||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||0-0|
|32||32||St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||0-0|
|33||13||Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)||14-1|
|34||33||Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)||18-4|
|35||34||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||0-0|
|36||35||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||9-4|
|37||36||Notre Dame College Prep (Niles, Ill.)||0-0|
|38||39||Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)||14-4|
|39||39||Westlake (Austin, Texas)||18-1|
|40||40||Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)||13-3|
|41||41||Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)||15-1|
|42||42||Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.)||0-0|
|43||43||Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)||17-3|
|44||46||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||15-3|
|45||45||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||0-0|
|46||44||St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)||12-2|
|47||47||Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)||0-0|
|48||48||Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)||0-0|
|49||49||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|50||50||Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)||8-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 37 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Bubble Teams: Adams (South Bend, Ind.) 13-0; American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 11-3; Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) 0-0; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 12-1; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 8-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 9-0; Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 6-0; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 10-4; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 13-1; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 12-1; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 0-0; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 8-1; Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.) 0-0; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Mo.) 8-1; Clinton (Clinton, Miss.) 13-0; Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis, Ind.) 14-2; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 8-1; Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio) 14-1; Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 0-0; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.) 0-0; Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) 2-0; Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 3-0; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 0-0; Johnston (Johnston, Iowa) 6-1; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 14-5; Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.) 15-1; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 13-2; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 0-0; Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) 9-7; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 14-0; Male (Louisville, Ky.) 0-0; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 17-4; Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 11-3; Mountain Pointe (Pheonix, Ariz.) 2-0; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 11-1; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 15-2; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 17-2; Rangeview (Aurora, Col.) 0-0; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 14-1; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 0-0; Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Shawnee (Lima, Ohio) 14-0; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 13-0; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 14-2; St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 0-0; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 0-0; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 5-1; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 6-0; Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa) 6-1; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 15-3; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 0-0.
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 21 years ago.