With Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) losing after 44 consecutive wins, the big question is who deserves to be the No. 1 team in the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2020-21 season. After reviewing the resumes and factors, the Eagles remain No. 1 by a narrow margin.
By Ronnie Flores
The high school basketball season continues to expand as two more states get games underway with only five (California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia) in the balance should teams in Nevada’s rural areas not play. Since early December, the season has been over for teams in highly-populated Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas.
Two states reversed its course with regards to high school winter sports participation and COVID-19. Michigan was slated to begin February 21, but on February 4 the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced winter sports can begin playing this week. According to MDHHS guidelines, winter sports can only proceed with masking and/or rapid COVID-19 testing. Even though it’s unclear how many spectators are allowed, coaches and players across the state are trilled just to be able to get in an official season.
In Illinois, the situation looked bleak according to the interpretation of the guidelines laid out by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). On January 27, however, it was announced there would be a season for IHSA schools. There won’t be a post-season and the IHSA season will run through March 13. According to the IDPH’s COVID-19 guidelines, teams in the talent-laden Chicago Public League cannot play yet and can’t even practice.
While some states are just tipping-off, incredibly the playoffs are getting underway in Alabama and Florida. District, area and regional tournaments get going early this week. When it’s all said and done, COVID-19 will impact the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com the entire 2020-21 season, which could run through late June.
Which team is crowned mythical national champ will be well decided by then.
Now The Fun Stuff
Within the backdrop of COVID-19, April 5, 2019 seems like eons ago, but prior to last Friday that was the last time the team at Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) lost a basketball game. In MVA’s second game of the season versus No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) and in its fifth showcase game of its own Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament (MAIT), the Eagles got clipped in overtime by the Buffaloes, 69-66. The loss snapped MVA’s 44-game winning streak.
6'1" - PG - 2021
Montverde Academy led for a majority of regulation until late in the game when Mr. Basketball USA candidate Kennedy Chandler sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 58 right before the final horn. The heroics of Chandler energized Sunrise Christian Academy in the extra stanza, as it took a 65-58 lead before holding on to the big win. Ironically, Montverde’s last home loss prior to this No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup was also during a MAIT game, when the Eagles fell to Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) on January 28, 2017 to snap a 55-game home winning streak.
Grady Dick’s 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining in regulation that cut Sunrise’s deficit to a point (56-55) was also a key moment. Dick finished with 10 points, while the Tennessee-bound Chandler had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Baylor-bound Kendall Brown also had a monster game for coach Luke Barnwell’s club, making 10-of-12 field goal attempts and finishing with a game-high 21 points.
So does Sunrise take over the No. 1 FAB 50 ranking?
After weighing all the factors, the answer is no, as Montverde Academy remains No. 1 for four main reasons.
Had this game been an end-of-season type of affair at GEICO Nationals or a similar tournament, Sunrise would have clinched the top spot and its first mythical national title. As long-time FAB 50 followers know, sometimes when you beat (or lose to) a team is an important rankings factor.
Reason No. 1 Montverde Academy remains No. 1 is the teams have a split so far this season. MVA defeated Sunrise Christian, 58-52, at the St. James NIBC Invitational on January 9. Had it been the first meeting of the season, the Buffaloes would have risen to the top spot in the rankings. Reason No. 2 is it took overtime. Had Sunrise Christian won as decisively as MVA did in the first meeting, it might have warranted a switch regardless of the other games on both teams’ resume. Reason No. 3 is the common opponent factor. Sunrise Christian has one more total loss than MVA, a 50-47 setback to AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) earlier at the MAIT. Coach Kevin Boyle’s club defeated the same team in OT, 76-65. If the Dragons were FAB 50 eligible, it would be difficult to place them No. 1 this week over a MVA team it lost to which is coming off its own loss. Reason No. 4 is overlooked, but important: scheduling. These two teams in all likelihood will meet again this season and perhaps even more than once.
The teams belonging to the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) will host a playoff tournament March 11-13. The NIBC teams are all quality and its quite remarkable Sunrise Christian and Montverde Academy have an overall combined record of 36-3 considering the quality of competition. To put MVA’s 44-game winning streak into perspective, in its last 12 games all but one team has been FAB 50 ranked and that one team is AZ Compass Prep. Some teams at the bottom of the FAB 50 play one or two ranked foes per season.
With only seven teams as part of the talent-laden NIBC, the teams were bound to beat each other up as predicted earlier in the season. No. 5 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) and No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) have combined for 12 losses. Veteran Oak Hill coach Steve Smith took over the program for the 1985-86 season. Before this season Smith never had a 3-game losing streak, but the Warriors recently suffered a five game losing streak that comprised of AZ Compass Prep and NIBC foes.
“The NIBC has afforded many of the top teams and players to have a quality basketball season during a pandemic,” Smith said. “I don’t know what we would’ve done without it.”
All the NIBC coaches we talked to said an expansion of the number of teams in the league would be a positive so teams are not beating up on each other so much as has been the case so far this season. With that framework in mind, strength of schedule will be paramount as “The Season Unlike Any Other” rolls on.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(8th poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 7; *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.)||20-1|
|2||2||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||16-2|
|3||3||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||20-2|
|4||4||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||7-0***|
|5||5||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||18-6|
|6||6||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)||3-0|
|7||7||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||14-6|
|8||10||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||0-0|
|9||11||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||3-0|
|10||8||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||5-1|
|11||9||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||5-8|
|12||12||Milton (Milton, Ga.)||21-2|
|13||13||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||0-0|
|14||14||O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.)||0-0|
|15||15||Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)||20-0|
|16||16||Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)||0-0|
|17||17||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||20-1|
|18||18||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||6-0|
|19||19||North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)||3-0|
|20||20||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||0-0|
|21||21||St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)||0-0|
|22||22||Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas)||14-2|
|23||23||Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)||17-0|
|24||25||Homestead (Ft. Wayne, Ind.)||19-0|
|25||33||Westlake (Austin, Texas)||22-1|
|26||24||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||6-3|
|27||27||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|28||28||Poly (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|29||29||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||0-0|
|30||31||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||3-0|
|31||38||Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)||14-3|
|32||26||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||0-1|
|33||32||St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||0-0|
|34||34||Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)||22-5|
|35||35||Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)||19-4|
|36||36||Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)||17-1|
|37||37||Notre Dame College Prep (Niles, Ill.)||1-0|
|38||39||Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)||21-1|
|39||40||Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)||19-1|
|40||41||Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.)||3-0|
|41||42||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||17-3|
|42||44||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||1-1|
|43||43||Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)||17-3|
|44||45||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||0-0|
|45||46||St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)||15-2|
|46||47||Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)||0-0|
|47||48||Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)||11-0|
|48||NR||Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa)||9-1|
|49||49||Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)||0-0|
|50||NR||Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)||4-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 30 Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.); No. 50 Clinton (Clinton, Miss.).
Bubble Teams: Adams (South Bend, Ind.) 17-1; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 10-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 13-1; Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 7-0**; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 10-7; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 16-2; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 19-1; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 0-0; Central (Little Rock, Ark.) 17-4; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 14-1; Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.) 4-0; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; Clinton (Clinton, Miss.) 15-1; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 22-1; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 12-1; Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio) 15-3; Evanston (Evanston, Ill.) 1-0; Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 0-0; Forest Hill (Jackson, Miss.) 17-1; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.) 0-0; Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) 5-0; Ironwood (Glendale, Ariz.) 4-0; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 0-0; Johnston (Johnston, Iowa) 8-2; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 15-5; Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.) 19-1; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 17-3; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 0-0; Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) 17-2; Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) 9-7; Liberty Heights (Charlotte, N.C.) 13-1; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 15-0; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 20-4; Mentor (Mentor, Ohio) 12-0; Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 13-3; North Laurel (London, Ky.) 12-0; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 18-2; Oxford (Oxford, Ala.) 26-2; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 21-3; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 5-0; Rangeview (Aurora, Col.) 5-0; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 20-1; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 0-0; Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) 17-2; Shawnee (Lima, Ohio) 18-1; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 17-0; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 17-2; St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 0-0; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 0-0; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 5-1; St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) 14-2; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 7-0; West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 12-5; Westlake (Saratoga Springs, Utah) 16-1; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 19-4; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 0-0; 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.