Updated FAB 50 National Rankings

Jalen Brunson and his team at No. 8 Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) could meet No. 5 Whitney Young (Chicago) in a Class 4A state semifinal showdown in both teams win Super Sectionals on Tuesday. Photo: Scott Kurtz

Jalen Brunson and his team at No. 8 Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) could meet No. 5 Whitney Young (Chicago) in a Class 4A state semifinal showdown in both teams win Super Sectionals on Tuesday. Photo: Scott Kurtz

A couple of playoff upsets allow Jefferson of Portland to crack the Top 25 of the Student Sports FAB 50. The Democrats won a state title in a most unusual fashion among top teams around the country wrapping up their seasons. Teams that end their season with a state title or are still competing for one have a rankings advantage this week, but an entire seasonal resume will be taken into greater consideration once the season is complete. The Dick’s Nationals bracket will also cause some movement in the final FAB 50 of the season scheduled for April 7.

By Ronnie Flores & Mark Tennis
Contributing: Doug Huff

“Survive and Advance” is the mantra of many high school teams around the country at this time of year. Similar to the NCAA Tournament, teams will do whatever it takes to win and move on to the next round.

For 21 teams in this week’s FAB 50, the goal of a state title has been realized, but it’s doubtful any team around the country won a state title facing the circumstances of the team at Jefferson of Portland in the Oregon Class 5A final.

This past Saturday on the morning of that game, Jefferson’s administration suspended six players, including one starter, for conduct detrimental to the team, according to The Oregonian. That left Jefferson head coach Pat Strickland with six players to take the court against a two-loss Churchill (Eugene, Ore.) team that played FAB 50 No. 5 Whitney Young (Chicago) within nine points during December’s Les Schwab Tournament.

Luckily for the Democrats’ faithful, those six remaining players were talented and determined enough to pull out a 69-64 victory to give Jefferson its second consecutive state title and fifth in the last seven years. Churchill was hungry to avenge last year’s loss in the state final, but Jefferson’s six players were in “The Zone.” The Democrats hit 10 3-pointers in the first half and led by 22 points at halftime before holding on for the win.

Gonzaga-bound guard Silas Melson played all 32 minutes and finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Junior Kadeem Strickland, the coach’s son, responded to the adversity by nailing four first-half 3-pointers and finishing with 16 points.

“I don’t know if (the suspensions) affected us, but it obviously affected them,” Churchill coach Kelly Bokn told The Oregonian. “They hadn’t shot like that all year. The basket was like a garbage can for them.”

Jefferson was able to move up in the FAB 50 after previous No. 18 Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) saw its season come to an end three victories short of an Ohio Division I state title. The Crusaders fell to Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio) 62-61 in a Division I regional final.

Dick’s Nationals Bracketology

Jefferson’s only setback all season was a 90-72 loss to FAB 50 No. 2 Rainier Beach of Seattle at the Les Schwab Tournament, where the Vikings served notice they would be a viable FAB 50 national title contender with dominant wins over Whitney Young and No. 14 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Jefferson’s final ranking will hinge on Rainer Beach’s performance at the Dick’s Nationals, scheduled for April 3-5 in New York City. If Rainier Beach were to win the event, Jefferson would obviously finish among the top 25. If Rainier Beach falters badly, Jefferson would drop as well.

There is a growing sense in the high school basketball community that Rainier Beach is the sentimental favorite in the Dick’s Nationals, especially without a New York entry in the field. It won’t be easy for the Vikings, however, as they open as a No. 2 seed against three-time event champion and No. 16 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), the No. 7 seed. The other quarterfinal matchups are: Huntington-St. Joseph (Huntington, W. Va.) vs. No. 12 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) in a No. 4 vs. 5 matchup with the winner taking on either FAB 50 No. 1 and top seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) or FAB 50 No. 7 and No. 8 seed The Sagemont School (Weston, Fla.), who play in an all-Florida showdown. The Rainier Beach-Findlay Prep winner will face the winner of FAB 50 No. 4 Northside Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. No. 6 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) in an intriguing No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup.

To show just how tough the Dick’s Nationals field is this year in its first year in New York, Oak Hill’s seed and FAB 50 rank are exactly the same while The Sagemont School is actually ranked higher in the FAB 50 than it is seeded in the eight-team field. The matchups are excellent, but the team that drew the toughest draw by far is Sagemont. It was surprising to see an unbeaten state champion matched up against the tournament favorite, especially since the two programs are from the same state.

Sagemont has a talented team, led by Connecticut recruit and junior guard Prince Ali and UCLA-bound Gyorgy Goloman, as does Northside Christian Academy. Those two programs, however, are the unknown commodities of the field. NCA’s lone loss is a 83-60 setback to Montverde Academy while Sagemont is looking to show it can compete with academy-type national programs on a big stage.

New Potential Hurdle For Whitney Young

Mr. Basketball USA candidate Jahlil Okafor of Whitney Young (Chicago) is looking to capture his first state title and the Dolphins’ main roadblock toward that goal was supposed to be Curie (Chicago), the team that beat them on the court for the Chicago Public League title. Even though Curie is long gone from the Class 4A tournament and has forfeited the city crown, Whitney Young could still face another top 10 foe on the road to state as FAB 50 No. 8 Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) has been on a roll.

One-loss Stevenson will need to defeat Auburn (Rockford, Ill.) in a NIU Super Sectional on Tuesday to set up a potential Class 4A state semifinal showdown with Okafor, Paul White and company. Whitney Young, meanwhile, will need to get by Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) in its Super Sectional to make that FAB 50 showdown a reality.

Updated Student Sports FAB 50
Boys Basketball National Team Rankings

(12th poll of the 2013-14 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 16; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates season complete; **Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; ***Indicates season complete plus forfeits not included)

[table id=40 /]

(*Indicates season complete; **Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; ***Indicates season complete plus forfeits not included)

Dropped Out: Previous No. 18 Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio); No. 29 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.); No. 30 Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.); No. 35 Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.); No. 36 Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.); No. 39 Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.); No. 42 J.W. North (Riverside, Calif.); No. 44 Eastside (Paterson, N.J.); No. 49 King (Milwaukee, Wis.); No. 50 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).

Bubble Teams: Allentown Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.) 29-1*; Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 25-6; Bowman Academy (Gary, Ind.) 21-4; Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.) 26-1*; Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.) 27-3; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 26-2*; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 27-3; Chester (Chester, Pa.) 25-5; DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 29-6*; De La Salle (Minneapolis, Minn.) 26-3*; Germantown (Germantown, Wis.) 26-2*; Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 29-5*; Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 22-7*; Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.) 30-3*; Lee’s Summit West (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) 26-3; Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 26-4*; Linden (Linden, N.J.) 26-4; Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.) 27-3; Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 24-2*; Monte Vista (Danville, Calif.) 29-1; Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 20-6; Natchidoches Central (Natchidoches, La.) 29-2*; New Castle (New Castle, Pa.) 29-0; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 26-2*; O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 20-12*; Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.) 29-2*; Potomac (Dumfries, Va.) 28-1*; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 20-9; Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) 32-3; Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 29-3; Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 21-7***; St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 24-2; Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 28-5; Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio) 25-2; Upper Arlington (Upper Arlington, Ohio) 26-1; Wando (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) 25-4*; Washington (Charles Town, W. Va.) 24-0; Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 24-9*; Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 29-6; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 29-6*; Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 24-2*.

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