Previous No. 46 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) shakes up California basketball and the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com by ending the 21-game post-season winning streak of previous No. 10 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.). Centennial is now done for the season, but Sierra Canyon and undefeated Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.) still have the SoCal Open regional playoffs this week. Who will finish No. 1 among California teams?
By Ronnie Flores
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The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) concluded its season last Friday when Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) battled O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) for the Metro League crown.
Braeden Smith of Seattle Prep won the game in unbelievable fashion by intercepting an O’Dea inbounds pass underneath his own basket with two seconds left and converting an acrobatic lay-up at the buzzer to give the Panthers a dramatic 62-61 victory. Smith, a junior, finished with a game-high 24 points.
Even though it was mid-June, it was still dramatic and emotional as any championship game would be. There was no statewide playoffs, so it’s not easy to determine if any WIAA team deserves to crack the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. We still have at least another week to make a determination and a few more to decide if teams from the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) can crack the nation’s longest running weekly rankings. According to The Oregonian, Portland Interscholastic League assistant athletic director Jeff Peeler is organizing an end-of-season tournament scheduled for June 21-25.
As wild as Smith’s game-winner was, it was hard to top what happened down in San Diego, Calif. the following night, when FAB 50 No. 37 Torrey Pines put its unbeaten record on the line vs. Cathedral Catholic for the California Interscholastic Federation CIF San Diego Section open title. It was a dog-fight that came down to the wire. Torrey Pines was able to keep its magical season alive when senior Nick Herrmann scored on a deep range, catch-and-shoot 3-pointer at the buzzer off an out-of-bounds play to give the Falcons a 63-60 victory.
Hermann, who finished with 30 points, battled cancer two years ago just at around the same time his mother did. The social media visuals of him embracing his mother after the game will probably be one of the defining moments of the 2020-21 season.
With the win, Torrey Pines moves to 29-0 and is the No. 1 seed in the SoCal open regional playoffs, which conclude on June 19. NorCal is not having a regional tournament as all but one section in the northern region did not conduct playoffs at the section level. The Falcons were able to nab the top seed because previous No. 46 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) toppled previous No. 10 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) in the CIF Southern Section open division title game on Friday night. With Centennial’s 80-72 victory, Sierra Canyon’s 21-game post-season winning streak was snapped.
All throughout the CIFSS open division playoffs, Sierra Canyon has been living on the edge and relying on the unique talents of UCLA-bound Amari Bailey to pull out victories. That was the case in two pool play wins, but in the championship game Centennial was just too disciplined and hit too many big shots to let that happen despite 34 points from Bailey. Sophomore Kylan Boswell was the difference maker finishing with 24 points, including six big 3-pointers, which at least two stopped Sierra Canyon mini-runs. Junior Donovan Dent added 19 points (three 3-pointers) while sophomore forward Devin Williams had a crucial block and a big dunk down the stretch, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds and six blocks. As a team, Centennial blocked 12 shots.
Centennial obviously is now in front of Sierra Canyon in the rankings, with the Huskies jumping up 17 spots in this weeks’ FAB 50 to No. 29, while Sierra Canyon is down to No. 32. We couldn’t drop the Trailblazers any further because of their overall success and because they still have a chance to win their fourth consecutive CIF SoCal open regional crown despite losing at the section level.
They are the No. 2 seed in the SoCal open regional because Centennial opted out in order to participate in Section 7, a NCAA-sanctioned scholastic live period event held June 18-20 at State Farm Arena in Glendale, Ariz., as reported by Ballislife in the previous set of FAB 50 rankings. Coach Josh Giles and his staff felt it is more advantageous for his program to attend Section 7 than it would for his team to chase the SoCal open regional crown. After all, his team is all underclass and CIF players have not been seen live by college coaches for over 16 months.
The Centennial-Sierra Canyon result was a swoon for Torrey Pines and San Diego basketball because the Falcons own a head-to-head victory over Centennial. So if Torrey Pines and Sierra Canyon were to meet in the SoCal open final, it would be at Torrey Pines’ home gym because the CIF is not using large facilities or neutral courts for this year’s regional. Torrey Pines has a bye in the first round and will host a regional semifinal on June 17.
Torrey Pines moved up 14 spots in the FAB 50 to No. 23 and could become the first San Diego County team to finish ranked No. 1 in the state of California since World War II. According to Cal-Hi Sports, San Diego Hoover finished 16-1 and ranked No. 1 in the state for 1945. Since the advent of the CIF State tournament in 1982, no San Diego Section team has won the major division title or finished No. 1. From a FAB 50 perspective, the team Torrey Pines has in its sights is the 2002-03 Horizon (San Diego, Calif.) team led by future NBA forward Jared Dudley. Horizon won its second of back-to-back CIF Div. IV state titles, finished 32-1 and No. 15 in the FAB 50. Its only loss came against eventual D1 state champ and FAB 50 No. 4 Westchester (Los Angeles), which was led by Elite All-American Trevor Ariza
Dropped Out: None.
Bubble Teams: Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.) 10-1; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 24-3; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 15-0; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 17-7; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 6-1; Catalina Foothills (Tuscon, Ariz.) 19-1; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 20-0; Central (Little Rock, Ark.) 23-5; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 22-2; Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.) 17-1; Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.) 14-1; Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) 23-3; Davis (Kaysville, Utah) 22-4; Del City (Del City, Okla.) 22-4; DePaul College Prep (Chicago, Ill.) 14-2; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 17-2; Elizabethtown (Elizabethtown, Ky.) 22-3; Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 11-2****; Highlands (Ft. Thomas, Ky.) 30-4; Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 14-0; John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 11-5; Kickapoo (Springfield, Mo.) 28-2; La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 10-10; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 14-1; Mentor (Mentor, Ohio) 25-1; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 11-2; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 25-2; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 12-3; Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) 11-2; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 21-1; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 21-3; Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) 16-1; St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.) 28-1; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 15-1; St. Mary’s (Pheonix, Ariz.) 20-1; Thunderidge (Highlands Ranch, Col.) 13-2; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 15-1**; Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas) 20-3; Westlake (Saratoga Springs, Utah) 21-4; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 27-5; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 15-1; Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.) 20-2.
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.
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores