After a couple more weeks of key results have poured in, we have a new No. 1 for the second time this season, as the Panthers of Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) take over the top spot in the new FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com after starting out No. 3 in the preseason. The Panthers are one of three teams from the powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) in the week’s updated FAB 50. There are a whopping 10 newcomers in this week’s update led by No. 28 Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)
By Ronnie Flores
With the second edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2022-23 season comes a new No. 1 team. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) began as preseason No. 1, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) took over the top spot after knocking off the Eagles and preseason No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.). After being shocked by Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), 61-48, at the Air Capital Hoopfest on Dec. 1, the Dragons looked for revenge against the same club at Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Coach Ed Gipson’s club was able to avenge the loss to Wasatch Academy with a 58-46 victory on Dec. 9, but the following day the Dragons found out just how hard it will be to win every night in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) and with the bulls-eye of being the nation’s No. 1 team when it fell to No. 5 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 67-61. In the loss to Wasatch Academy at the Air Capital Hoopfest, the Utah club dared the Dragons to beat them from the outside by sitting in a zone defense and AZ Compass Prep failed to make a 3-pointer. In the rematch, the Dragons went 0-of-14 from 3-point range, but made 18-of-21 free throws, held the Tigers to 17 first half points and got 17 points and four steals from Oregon-bound Mookie Cook to seal the avenging win. The next night against IMG Academy the outside shooting was better (6-of-16), but IMG Academy made 10-of-17 3-pointers and out-rebounded the Dragons, 33-28, to propel the Ascenders to victory.
With its earlier victory at the event over No. 25 Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.), 68-62, IMG Academy moved up two spots to No. 3 this week. Montverde Academy stayed put at No. 2 because of its 80-55 win over the Ascenders in their first game of the season. MVA has done enough to be in front of AZ Compass Prep for now, despite the head-to-head result, because the Eagles now have a one half game lead in the NIBC standings and AZ Compass Prep has two overall losses.
Those results mean preseason No. 3 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) is now the top-ranked team in the FAB 50 for the first time in program history. The Panthers easily downed No. 19 Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 56-31, and traditional California power Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 75-47, at the Hoophall International in London, England to open the season. Back home, coach Glen Farello’s club served notice with a 87-52 win over Baltimore Catholic League power and No. 20 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) at Separation Sports’ National High School Hoops Fest.
Paul VI arguably has the deepest roster in program history and comes at teams in waves. Isaiah Abraham, a 6-foot-6 junior (2024) has played well so far and the leadership of 6-foot-5 Maryland-bound DeShawn Harris-Smith and the talent of Duke-bound junior Darren Harris has made a difference. Paul VI also benefits from playing in the toughest traditional high school basketball conference in the country. Before the creation of the NIBC, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) was the league from around the country you could point to every night where it is extremely tough to win road games, even for FAB 50 ranked teams.
“Junior point guard Ben Hammond has been the catalyst, dictating tempo and has set the tone and has made sure his teammates get into a rhythm,” coach Farello said.
Getting through its WCAC games will be a gauntlet for Paul VI, as No. 18 St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) has a terrific club and No. 23 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) is playing well so far. Gonzaga recently captured the championship of its own Gonzaga DC Classic by downing previous No. 34 Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.), 64-58, as unsigned senior guard Ryan Sabol took home tourney MVP honors for the Purple Eagles. It was Jackson Reed’s first loss of the season, as that club downed No. 30 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the semifinals, 55-53, after opening the tourney with a 66-65 victory over bubble club Whitney Young (Chicago. Ill.).
Similar to AZ Compass Prep, Paul VI is going to have to beat a plethora of quality teams to prove its rankings worth and it won’t be easy. In addition to WCAC games down the line, Paul VI opens as the top seed in the prestigious City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla., Dec. 17. Paul VI should have no problem with nearby Canterbury (Ft. Myers, Fla.) to open the event, and could face No. 15 Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas) or battled-tested Newton (Ga.) in the quarterfinals. A likely semifinal showdown with No. 12 Columbus (Miami, Fla.) would take place on Dec. 20.
Will the Panthers be able to capture the COP crown and head into 2023 as the nation’s best team? or will another club lay claim to the top spot in our next FAB 50 rankings update slated for January 2?
Another tournament that will have big rankings implications is the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, which begins Dec. 19. Host and No. 22 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) will look to bounce back from its 72-53 loss to City of Palms participant and No. 8 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) at Hoophall West. Gorman opens with bubble club Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and could face No. 40 Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) in a quarterfinal contest. Oak Ridge will be coming off a trip to the Bahamas for the Hoopfest in Paradise, where it will face No. 9 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) and No. 6 Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) Dec. 16-17 before flying in to Sin City.
Gorman’s side of the bracket also features a big first round game between two unbeaten clubs: No. 42 Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas) and bubble club St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.). The opposite bracket features No. 34 West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.), No. 48 Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.), which lost to Oak Cliff Faith Family by one possession, plus still unbeaten Kell (Marietta, Ga.) and battle-tested Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
The most impressive team at Hoophall West was nearby Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.), which checks in to the rankings as one of 10 newcomers at No. 28. By dispatching previous No. 24 Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.), 79-47, Perry showed it could very well challenge Centennial for the claim as best public school team in the West Region. Perry, however, will be slowed played in the rankings because Cardinal Hayes is likely the best team it will face the rest of the season. For more on Hoophall West, CLICK HERE.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(2nd poll of 2022-23 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, Dec. 11; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||3||Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)||5-0|
|2||2||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||6-1|
|3||5||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||3-1|
|4||1||AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)||9-2|
|5||4||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|6||6||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||9-0|
|7||7||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||0-0|
|8||8||Centennial (Corona, Calif.)||6-1|
|9||9||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||7-2|
|10||10||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||4-0|
|11||11||Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)||9-0|
|12||18||Columbus (Miami, Fla.)||5-1|
|13||14||Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)||10-0|
|14||12||Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)||4-1|
|15||22||Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)||8-1|
|16||19||John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)||3-0|
|17||28||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||2-0|
|18||29||St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)||4-0|
|19||16||Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.)||2-1|
|20||20||Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)||6-1|
|21||21||Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)||4-1|
|22||15||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||3-1|
|23||36||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||7-0|
|24||49||Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)||7-0|
|25||25||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||2-2|
|26||34||Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.)||5-1|
|27||13||Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)||4-1|
|28||NR||Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)||9-0|
|29||27||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||6-0|
|30||NR||Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.)||3-1|
|31||23||Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)||3-1|
|32||32||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||6-3|
|33||NR||Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.)||11-0|
|34||35||West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.)||7-0|
|35||17||Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)||6-1|
|36||37||Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)||7-2|
|37||42||The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.)||15-3|
|38||NR||Christ School (Arden, N.C.)||11-0|
|39||39||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||6-3|
|40||NR||Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)||6-0|
|41||45||George Rogers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)||4-0|
|42||47||Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)||12-0|
|43||48||Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.)||4-0|
|44||30||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||9-4|
|45||NR||Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)||3-0|
|46||31||Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)||6-1|
|47||NR||Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.)||7-1|
|48||NR||Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.)||4-1|
|49||NR||Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)||8-0|
|50||NR||Staley (Kansas City, Mo.)||3-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 24 Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.), No. 26 Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.), No. 33 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.), No. 38 Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.), No. 40 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), No. 41 Bartlett (Bartlett, Tenn.), No. 43 Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), No. 44 Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.), No. 46 North Laurel (London, Ky.), No. 50 Owyhee (Meridian, Idaho).
Bubble Teams: Amarillo (Amarillo, Texas) 16-1; American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 5-1; Archbishop Ryan (Malvern, Pa.) 2-1; Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 3-1; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 11-1; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 4-0; Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.) 7-1; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 3-3; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 2-4; Carter (Dallas, Texas) 11-2; Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) 7-0; Chambers (Charlotte, N.C.) 4-2; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 1-0; Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) 2-1; Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 5-2; Curtis (University Place, Wash.) 3-0; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 4-2; Fort Bend Marshall (Missouri City, Texas) 13-2; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 3-0; Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.) 6-2; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 7-1; Heights (Wichita, Kan.) 2-0; Hudson Catholic (Hudson, N.J.) 0-0; Joliet West (Joliet, Ill.) 7-2; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 7-0; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 7-2; Lake City (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) 3-0; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 2-2; Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 3-1; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 7-4; Milton (Milton, Ga.) 8-0; Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 3-1; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 3-3; Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 7-0; North Crowley (Ft. Worth, Texas) 13-2; North Laurel (London, Ky.) 5-2; Oak Park (Kansas City, Mo.) 5-0; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 4-0; Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 6-0; Owyhee (Meridian, Idaho) 1-1; Penn (Wishawaka, Ind.) 5-0; Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) 9-1; Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 3-1; Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield, Ill.) 5-0; St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.) 8-0; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 1-0; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 3-0; Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) 0-1; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 6-0; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 5-3;Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.) 4-0.
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 23 years ago.