Flower Mound Marcus may no longer be in the top 10 nationally and may have seen its 42-game win streak snapped after a loss to national powerhouse Findlay Prep (No. 7 in POWERADE FAB 50), but the Marauders are still the team to beat in Texas.
Led by Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, the Marauders have played well against a tough early schedule, beating the likes of Yates and Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.) to earn the No. 11 spot nationally. The defending 5A champs will have a chance to move back into the top 10 next week when they face No. 4 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) in a nationally televised game (8:30 p.m., ESPN).
"Playing a tough schedule builds self-esteem and gives courage to see where we could be with the top teams," Smart told ESPNHS. "We're getting there as a team. We're good, but we can be better than where we are right now."
Other teams that are setting themselves for future success are South Grand Prairie, Warren and Churchill, which debuted in the Nos. 7-9 spots, respectively, this week after strong starts. Likewise, DeSoto and Prestonwood Christian moved into the national rankings.
Here's how the state rankings shake out (preseason rankings in parentheses):
1. Flower Mound Marcus 8-1 (1)
Marauders' only hiccup came in a eight-point loss to national No. 7 Findlay Prep (Las Vegas), but the defending 5A champs scored wins against Yates and Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.).
2. Grace Prep (Arlington) 6-0 (3)
Lions knocked off 4A power South Oak Cliff behind Jordan Mickey's 21 points.
3. Westbury Christian (Houston) 7-0 (5)
Wildcats have seven players averaging in double figures while winning each of their seven games by at least 15 points.