By There’s little change at the top in the second GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 rankings of the 2014-15 regular season, as only one team joins the top 25. There is plenty of change among the second 25, as teams jockey for position heading into the major holiday tournaments the next two weeks. There are nine newcomers to the rankings with the highest being No. 36 Sagemont (Weston, Fla.).
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Mark Tennis
It’s still early in the season and while some teams have played a double-digit number of games, some clubs on the Eastern seaboard have yet to play. In December, we traditionally don’t make many drastic changes after one bad loss or one bad upset loss. There just isn’t enough results to jump unranked teams too high or completely drop ranked teams that we know will be good come playoff time because of a stinker loss.
With that in mind, there was only three losses among the teams in the top 25 of the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 national rankings last week. Top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) defeated previous No. 6 Bishop O’Dowd 78-64 in a home, made-for-TV game. Mr. Basketball USA front-runner Ben Simmons recorded a triple double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The loss only drops the Dragons three spots in this week’s FAB 50, as coach Lou Richie’s club will look to bounce back this week at the Iolani Tournament in Hawaii, where it could potentially meet up with No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).
The only other top 25 team to lose besides O’Dowd was previous No. 16 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.). The Panthers lost a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference matchup to St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) by four points (60-56) on December 11 and two nights later lost to Oak Hill Academy 70-54 in one of the marquee matchups of the National High School Hoops Festival at DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.). Oak Hill jumped out to a 8-0 lead and were never threatened by Paul VI. One of the nation’s fastest-rising seniors, 6-foot-7 Florida State commit Dwayne Bacon, led the way for Oak Hill with 20 points on 9-of-15 field goals attempts and four assists.
There is no shame in losing to what could be Oak Hill’s best team since its 2012, 44-0 FAB 50 national title team, so there is no need to panic and drop Paul VI out of the rankings. The Panthers, who drop 14 spots to No. 30, will get another crack at St. John’s in WCAC play and will compete in the City of Palms Tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla. December 18-23.
Calm Before The Storm
Speaking of the City of Palms Tournament, it’s one of many holiday tournaments and showcases around the country that will feature a plethora of competing FAB 50-ranked clubs, including the Iolani Tournament and the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas December 17-20. There wasn’t much movement in the FAB 50 this week, but you can bet there will be major shuffling in the next set of rankings after the turn of the New Year.
Paul VI is one of 10 FAB 50 ranked teams in the COP championship bracket, including No. 1 Montverde Academy. The two-time defending FAB 50 champion aim for an unprecedented three-peat in Ft. Myers.
The opening round schedule is: Florida Air Academy (Fla.) vs. No. 25 Riverside Academy, No. 14 Sierra Canyon vs. No. 17 Trinity, North Port (Fla.) vs. Webster Groves (Mo.), No. 32 Archbishop Carroll vs. Orlando Oak Ridge (Fla.), No. 1 Montverde Academy vs. No. 10 Wayne, Florida Air Academy-Riverside winner. vs. Alpharetta St. Francis (Ga.), Chicago Whitney Young (Ill.) vs. No. 19 Wesleyan Christian, Bentonville (Ark.) vs. No. 7 Wheeler and the North Port-Webster Groves winner vs. No. 16 Mater Dei.
Paul VI has a bye into the quarterfinals and will face the Bentonville-Wheeler winner. Montverde is the favorite and has handed the following FAB 50 ranked teams their only loss so far this season: No. 9 Bishop O’Dowd, No. 13 Plano West, No. 34 Lake Minneola, No. 49 Jonesboro and No. 50 Ballard.
Out West at the Tarkanian Classic, the highest ranked competing team is No. 12 Centennial, which could be a main challenger to Bishop O’Dowd for the CIF Open Division state title in California. Host Bishop Gorman will try to bounce back from a major upset loss to Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.) on December 6. The Gaels opened their season with a loss to O’Dowd, but the reason they are currently on the FAB 50 bubble is Jesuit has lost twice in the last week.
Gorman will open the Tarkanian Platinum Division bracket with Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.). Gorman may not be FAB 50 ranked, but along with Centennial is a favorite to make the tournament semifinals, which will be televised by CBS Sports Network on December 19. With its talent and schedule, it wouldn’t surprise us to see Gorman FAB 50 ranked again sometime in 2015, but it will have to earn it beginning this week.
The rest of the Tarkanian Classic first round matchups include: Overland (Aurora, Col) vs. Bountiful (Utah), No. 33 Putnam City West vs. No. 42 Long Beach Poly, Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) vs. Maranatha (Pasadena, Calif.), No. 39 Constitution vs. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) vs. Chino Hill (Chino Hills, Calif.), Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) vs. No. 48 West Linn and No. 12 Centennial vs. Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Updated Grassroots Hoops FAB 50
Boys Basketball National Team Rankings
(Second poll of the 2014-15 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, December 14; Previous ranking in listed in second column under “Prev.”; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included)
|1||1||Montverde Academy||(Montverde, Fla.)||7-0|
|2||2||Oak Hill Academy||(Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||17-0|
|3||3||Findlay Prep||(Henderson, Nev.)||10-0|
|4||4||Roselle Catholic||(Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|5||5||St. Benedict's||(Newark, N.J.)||5-0|
|8||9||La Lumiere||(La Porte, Ind.)||9-0|
|9||6||Bishop O'Dowd||(Oakland, Calif.)||2-1|
|10||10||Wayne||(Huber Heights, Ohio)||1-0|
|13||13||Plano West||(Plano West, Texas)||8-1|
|14||14||Sierra Canyon||(Chatsworth, Calif.)||1-0|
|16||17||Mater Dei||(Santa Ana, Calif.)||6-0|
|18||19||Cape Henry Collegiate||(Virginia Beach, Va.)||5-0|
|19||21||Wesleyan Christian Academy||(High Point, N.C.)||10-0|
|20||20||Arlington Country Day||(Jacksonville, Fla.)||4-3|
|21||22||Long Island Lutheran||(Brookville, N.Y.)||3-0|
|23||24||Christ the King||(Middle Village, N.Y.)||4-0|
|24||25||Corona del Sol||(Tempe, Ariz.)||6-0|
|25||26||Riverside Academy||(Reserve, La.)||1-0|
|26||28||Rainier Beach||(Seattle, Wash.)||3-0|
|27||29||John Carroll School||(Bel Air, Md.)||10-0|
|28||30||DeMatha Catholic||(Hyattsville, Md.)||5-0|
|29||33||Villa Angela-St. Joseph||(Cleveland, Ohio)||3-0|
|30||16||Paul VI||(Fairfax, Va.)||3-2|
|31||40||Greensboro Day||(Greensboro, N.C.)||13-0|
|32||34||Archbishop Carroll||(Wayne, Pa.)||3-1|
|33||37||Putnam City West||(Oklahoma City, Okla.)||5-0|
|34||42||Lake Minneola||(Minneola, Fla.)||9-1|
|35||41||Bishop Montgomery||(Torrance, Calif.)||6-0|
|40||NR||Oldsmar Christian||(Oldsmar, Fla.)||13-1|
|41||44||Dominican||(Whitefish Bay, Wis.)||3-1|
|42||35||Poly||(Long Beach, Calif.)||7-1|
|44||NR||Thomas Jefferson||(Brooklyn, N.Y.)||7-0|
|45||NR||St. Rita||(Chicago, Ill.)||4-1|
|46||39||St. Joseph||(Westchester, Ill.)||7-1|
|48||NR||West Linn||(West Linn, Ore.)||1-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 27 Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.), No. 31 Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.), No. 32 Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.), No. 36 Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas), No. 38 Arthur Hill (Saginaw, Mich.), No. 43 Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.), No. 45 Velma Jackson (Camden, Miss.), No. 47 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), No. 50 St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.).
Bubble Teams: Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.) 4-1; Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-2; Bogan (Chicago, Ill.) 6-0; Cardozo (Bayside, N.Y.) 4-0; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 4-2; Central (Beaumont, Texas) 10-1; De Soto (De Soto, Texas) 13-2; Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 3-2; Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) 4-0; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 4-0; Kinston (Kinston, N.C.) 3-0; La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) 3-0; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 5-1; McComb (McComb, Miss.) 8-0; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 7-1; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 7-1; Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) 11-2; Prime Prep Academy (Dallas, Texas) 8-4; Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) 12-0; Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) 4-2; Regis Jesuit (Denver, Colo.) 6-0; Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) 7-2; Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.) 8-1; St. Anthony’s (Jersey City, N.J.) 0-0; Velma Jackson (Camden, Miss.) 8-2; Wando (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) 4-0; Wing’s Academy (Bronx, N.Y.) 4-0.
Note: The Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and they were compiled by the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 15 years ago.