Findlay Prep takes over top spot in the HighSchoolHardwood Top 50 Team Rankings after a scintillating comeback victory over preseason No. 1 Montverde Academy in a match up of the nation’s two top-ranked teams. Whitney Young of Chicago moves up to No. 2, as the two-loss Eagles drop to No. 3. La Lumiere of Indiana and St. Anthony of New Jersey round out the top five.
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Doug Huff & Mark Tennis
The Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., over MLK Weekend featured a match up of the nation’s top two-ranked teams — preseason No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) versus No. 2 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).
When the dust settled, Findlay Prep emerged victorious with a 62-59 triumph after trialing by 12 points with seven minutes remaining in the game. Leading the comeback was senior guard Nigel Williams-Goss. He simply took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 of his game-high 26 points in the final period. He capped the comeback win by swishing a straightaway 3-pointer with less than two seconds remaining as the Pilots won their 42nd consecutive game dating back to last season.
Ironically, Williams-Goss (a Washington recruit) helped Findlay Prep to an incredible 18-point fourth quarter comeback against Montverde Academy in the title game of last season’s ESPN National High School Invitational. That was the last game of the 2011-12 high school season and one-loss Findlay Prep finished No. 2 in the final 2011-12 Top 50 ratings behind 44-0 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).
Montverde Academy’s Kevin Boyle, in his second season with the Eagles after a successful stint at now defunct St. Patrick’s (Elizabeth, N.J.), had the personnel to coach his first undefeated mythical national title-winning team. The previous game prior to the showdown with the Pilots, however, Montverde Academy was stung on a buzzer-beater by No. 16 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Missouri.
Despite the loss, the Eagles likely would have retained their preseason No. 1 ranking since they already owned victories over Whitney Young (Chicago) and Lone Peak (Highland, Utah). With Montverde Academy’s back-to-back losses, Whitney Young is now No. 2 in front of the Eagles, as Whitney Young hung tough with Montverde Academy while Boyle’s club easily handed Lone Peak its only loss of the season so far.
Findlay Prep’s big victory allows La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) to jump up to the No. 4 spot since that team’s only loss so far is by eight points (61-53) to the Pilots. St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), coach by Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr., moves up a spot from its preseason position as the Friars are currently riding the nation’s longest winning streak of 78 games.
Of course, Findlay Prep moves up to the top spot as it seeks its first mythical national title since the 2008-2009 season and its first under new head coach Todd Simon.
Top 50 National Team Rankings
Note: As we continue to build our network and put resources into HighSchoolHardwood.com, we’ll begin to compile in-depth write ups as to why teams move up and down in our Top 50. We will begin to do that as soon as possible and will definitely do it for the final rankings. The same criteria and disciplines used for many years with Huff’s work on the National Prep Poll and Huff and Tennis’ work on the FAB 50 is used here. On-court results, not the amount of potential college recruits or reputation, is used in the rankings leading up to the final version in early April.
(Poll number two of 2012-13 season; Through games played on Monday, January 21; Preseason ranking in parentheses)
1. (2) Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 23-0
2. (18) Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 17-1
3. (1) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 20-2
4. (29) La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 21-1
5. (6) St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 13-0
6. (15) Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 15-1
7. (16) St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 16-0
8. (27) DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) 24-1
9. (11) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 17-2
10. (3) Simeon (Chicago) 15-2
11. (5) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 19-3
12. (19) Omaha Central (Omaha, Neb.) 15-2
13. (28) Germantown (Germantown, Wis.) 14-0
14. (NR) Math Civics & Sciences (Philadelphia, Pa.) 16-0
15. (NR) South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 25-2
16. (21) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 13-5
17. (33) Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 13-0
18. (NR) Lake Oswego (Lake Oswego, Ore.) 17-0
19. (NR) Hebron (Carrollton, Texas) 25-2
20. (NR) Pershing (Detroit, Mich.) 12-0
21. (4) Chester (Chester, Pa.) 12-3
22. (43) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 20-1
23. (NR) Irmo (Columbia, S.C.) 19-0
24. (40) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 17-3
25. (NR) Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) 13-2
26. (26) Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 15-3
27. (NR) Roosevelt (Washington, D.C.) 14-0
28. (7) Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 10-4
29. (NR) Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 15-0
30. (NR) Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) 15-1
31. (44) Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) 16-1
32. (49) Columbia (Decatur, Ga.) 17-1
33. (NR) Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.) 22-1
34. (NR) Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), 19-0
35. (25) Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 15-4
36. (NR) Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.) 13-3
37. (9) Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.) 16-5
38. (NR) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 20-0
39. (NR) Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.) 15-0
40. (NR) Northland (Columbus, Ohio) 13-0
41. (NR) Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 19-1
42. (NR) Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) 15-2
43. (NR) Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 10-0
44. (17) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) 11-4
45. (NR) North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 16-1
46.(NR) Bullard (Fresno, Calif.) 16-2
47. (NR) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 12-2
48. (14) Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 16-3
49. (38) Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 11-1
50. (50) Putnam City (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 16-1
Dropped Out: Previous No. 8 Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas); No. 12 Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas); No. 13 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.); No. 14 Salesian (Richmond, Calif.); No. 22 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.); No. 23 Tift County (Tifton, Ga.); No. 24 Rainier Beach (Seattle); No. 30 Callaway (Jackson, Miss.); No. 31 Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.); No. 32 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.); No. 34 Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.); No. 36 Norcross (Norcross, Ga.); No. 37 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.); No. 39 St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.); No. 41 Yates (Houston, Texas); No. 45 Hall (Little Rock, Ark.); No. 46 Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 20-6; No. 47 Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.); No. 48 Hampton (Hampton, Va.).
Editor’s Note: The HighSchoolHardwood.com Top 50 is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1944. 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 13 years ago. From the 1999-2000 through the 2011-12 season, the FAB 50 was spearheaded by Doug Huff & Mark Tennis, who now serve as consultants for the Top 50.
Ronnie Flores is the editor of HighSchoolHardwood.com. He can be reached at . Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores