Thursday, January 26, 2012
Inside the FAB 50: Streaking along
By Mark Tennis & Doug Huff
Four of the nation's five longest win streaks belong to teams ranked in the top 11 of the POWERADE FAB 50.
Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.), No. 11 in the FAB 50, has won its last 55 games while seeking a fourth straight Class 6A state championship. The Falcons' last loss was on Dec. 19, 2009, when Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) prevailed, 75-70. Heights ended that season with 19 straight wins before recording a 25-0 record in the 2010-11 campaign. The Falcons are off to an 11-0 record this season.
The next-longest win streak in the nation is claimed by No. 4 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.). The Friars captured last season's FAB 50 national crown with a 33-0 record and have extended the two-season run to 45 wins in a row. The Friars' last setback was on March 13, 2010, in the state tournament when Trenton Catholic (Trenton, N.J.) registered a 57-56 decision.
The defending Pennsylvania Class 4A champion, Chester (Pa.), holds the fourth longest streak. The Clippers, No. 7 in the FAB 50, took a 41-game streak into this week. Chester's last loss, its only one last year, was on Dec. 30, 2010 to Sanford (Hockissen, Del.), 62-57.
The FAB 50’s top-ranked team, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), is off to a 30-0 start after losing in last season's finale. Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) defeated the Warriors, 71-64, in the finals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational.
Oak Hill Academy also could make national rankings history if it runs the table with a record that could reach 47-0. At the start of this week, the Warriors have 14 scheduled regular season games on tap and three more wins in the NHSI would result in an unmatched 47-0 mark for a national title team.
The best unbeaten record posted by a No. 1 team in the nation was 46-0 in 1975 by Kashmere (Houston). Since then, the best perfect mark was 40-0 for another Texas team, Lincoln (Dallas) back in 2002. That squad was led by current Miami Heat star Chris Bosh. Oak Hill’s best record of 38-0 was achieved in 2004.
While Wichita Heights, St. Anthony, Chester and Oak Hill are piling up impressive streaks, they all have to take a back seat to a Missouri private school team that doesn't compete for a state championship. True Divine Word Academy (St. Louis) hasn't lost in the 96 games during its three years of existence. True Divine Word was sitting at 19-0 to start this week after going 41-0 and 36-0 in its first two seasons.
FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week:
Tony Cochran, Vianney (Kirkwood, Mo.)
Speaking of perfection, Cochran’s near-perfect shooting from the free throw line and strong overall play has helped the No. 41 Golden Griffins to a 17-0 start this season.
In a 69-48 win last week over Chaminade (St. Louis), Cochran poured in 30 points as Vianney set a school record for consecutive wins in a season, breaking a mark that was set during the 1997-98 season.
On the year, the 5-foot-11 senior guard already has made 52 shots from behind the 3-point line while averaging 17.2 points per game. He averaged 16 points per game last season and has pushed his career 3-point total to nearly 300.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cochran also leads the St. Louis region by making 94.9 percent of his free throws. In 59 attempts heading into this week, Cochran has only missed three.
After a pair of league wins last week, the Eagles improved their winning streak to 16 games and jumped into this week’s FAB 50.
Etiwanda’s lone loss came in early December at the Rose City Classic in Pasadena to defending CIF Division III state champ La Verne Lutheran. After that, the Eagles won three other tournaments they entered. Twelve of the teams Etiwanda has beaten so far this season also have won at least 13 games, which shows a better-than-average strength of schedule.
Sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin has been the top player for coach Dave Kleckner with 16.9 points per game.
Kleckner has had nationally ranked teams before, such as in 2005 when the Eagles featured point guard Darren Collison and power forward Jeff Pendergraph. Those two former prep teammates are now playing together with the Indiana Pacers.
War-themed mascots prevail in this week’s rankings
In the same week in which the movie “War Horse” was nominated for six Academy Awards, the FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings saw big gains for the War Eagles and Warhawks. It’s just too bad the Warhorses aren’t still in the mix.
The War Eagles from Wayne County (Waynesboro, Miss.) debuted at No. 49 after winning for the 53rd time in their last 54 games. The Warhawks from Germantown (Wis.) are new as well, checking in at No. 50.
It’s very possible that the Warhorses from Peabody (La.) will go back into the rankings. Peabody was No. 35 until a loss knocked them from the list.
Other war-themed mascots in this week’s FAB 50 include the No. 1 Oak Hill Academy Warriors (Mouth of Wilson, Va.); the No. 25 Pershing Doughboys (Detroit); the No. 39 Orlando Christian Prep Warriors (Fla.) and the No. 42 Rufus King Generals (Milwaukee).
Soldiers serving in World War I were commonly referred to as Doughboys, and bore little resemblance to an animated character in TV commercials.