FAB 50 title comes down to final weekend

Updated: March 31, 2009, 12:04 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Editor's note: The ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, Ronnie Flores, Ryan Canner-O'Mealy and Doug Huff. They will be released each Tuesday throughout the season.

Click here for regional rankings.

So, it comes down to the final weekend, when six teams from the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings will participate in the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational for three days, starting Friday.

If the top two seeds, No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and No. 2 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), advance to Sunday's final, it would be the first time in memory in which the top ranking would be on the line in the season's final game.

The story lines are compelling and the games will likely deliver oodles of drama. But don't think it's a two-team tournament. No. 5 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) and No. 8 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) are talented squads in the top 10. The most exciting game of the first round should be St. Benedict's and No. 24 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore). SFA, the Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA Conference A champions, is capable of stirring up the field.

All eight teams need to shake off the rust after not playing for at least four weeks -- and some have not played in more than six weeks.

Undoubtedly, the NHSI will alter the final FAB 50 rankings when they are released next week.

Last weekend, four schools took home hardware from their state tournaments. Kudos to No. 9 Bloomington (Ind.) South which completed a perfect season (26-0) and annexed its first state title (Class 4A). Ditto for No. 12 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) which rules Minnesota's Class 4A with an unblemished record of 31-0.

Also winning large classification titles in their respective states are No. 20 Pershing (Detroit) in Michigan's Class A and No. 21 Northland (Columbus, Ohio) in Ohio's Division I.

Three-point play

Game ball: Keith Appling of No. 20 Pershing (Detroit) put on a record-setting performance, earning him ESPN RISE player of the week honors. Appling, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, set a state final scoring record with 49 points to lead the Doughboys to a 90-73 victory over Kalamazoo Central in the Michigan Class A final. Appling was 17-of- 24 from the floor, including 5-of- 7 on 3-point goals and converted 10 of 12 free throws. He also had a team-high five assists plus seven rebounds. Appling broke the previous standard of 47 points, set in 1983 by Antoine Joubert of Southwestern (Detroit) during an 84-80 loss to Flint Central in the Class A final.

Games of the week: Now that the state tournaments are over, it's time for the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational to take center stage. The inaugural eight-team tournament, with six FAB 50 teams, tips off Friday at Georgetown Prep's Hanley Center in North Bethesda, Md.

Here's the lineup (all games televised on ESPNU): No. 1 Oak Hill Academy-Pinewood Prep (Summerville, S.C.), 2 p.m. ET; No. 5 St. Benedict's-No. 24 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), 4 p.m.; No. 2 Findlay Prep-Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.), 6 .p.m.; and No. 8 Montrose Christian-No. 37 Friends Central (Wynnewood, Pa.), 8 p.m.

The semifinals are Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The final is Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

Updates: Here's a closer look at the Midwest regional teams: For the second straight year, Powers Catholic (Flint, Mich.) eliminated nationally-ranked Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) from Michigan's Class B tournament, but this time it completed the task, winning the state title. Sophomore Patrick Lucas-Perry scored 25 points, leading Powers to a 62-54 win over previously-unbeaten Zeeland East in the title game. Powers, which lost by 54-53 in last season's B final to Lansing Catholic Central, ousted top-seeded DCD, 85-81, as Lucas-Perry scored 29. DCD junior guard Ray McCallum scored 30 points. … Princeton (Cincinnati), No. 11 in the Midwest, fell to No. 21 Northland (Columbus, Ohio), 60-58 in the Division I final. Junior Jordan Sibert, an Ohio State recruit, scored 21 and Orlando Williams, a Miami of Ohio signee, had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Snider (Fort Wayne, Ind.), No. 14 in the Midwest, is the Class 4A runner-up following a 69-62 loss to No. 9 Bloomington South. Bradley Sneary, a 6-6 senior, led the way with 22 points and 14 rebounds. & Osseo (Minn.) finished with a 29-3 record after bowing to No. 12Hopkins (Minnetonka), 69-59, in Minnesota's Class 4A final. John Rowland scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and Sam Dower recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Records are through March 29.

Rankings: Preseason / Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 14 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / Final

ESPN RISE FAB 50 BOYS' BASKETBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 21
Rank Team Record Previous Note
1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 38-0 1 Idle. The Warriors next play in the in National High School Invitational this weekend in North Bethesda, Md. They open with regionally-ranked and four-time South Carolina Independent AAA champion, Pinewood Prep (Summerville, S.C.) on ESPNU at 2 p.m. ET.
2 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 30-0 2 Idle. The Pilots are idle until the National High School Invitational this weekend. They open with Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.) in the quarterfinals on ESPNU at 6 p.m. ET.
3 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) 30-3 3 The Celtics are champions of New Jersey. Junior guard Kyree Irving scored 26 points and sophomore Michael Gilchrist contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds in a 73-57 win over Science Park (Newark) in the Tournament of Champions final before 6,122 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. Leading 37-34 in the third, the Celtics pulled away with a 15-2 run to conclude the quarter. North Carolina-bound guard Dexter Strickland added 14 points and junior Kevin Boyle Jr. handed out nine assists. The TOC title is the fifth for the Celtics and third in the last four years. Season complete.
4 Westchester (Los Angeles) 35-2 4 The Comets won their fifth CIF Division I championship. Season complete.
5 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) 23-2 5 The Gray Bees are idle until the National High School Invitational which tips on April 3 when they face No. 24 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) in the quarterfinals on ESPNU, 4 p.m. ET.
6 Rice (Manhattan, N.Y.) 25-3 6 The Raiders won the New York State Federation Class AA title, beating Newburgh Free Academy, 70-68, in overtime. Miami-bound Durand Scott scored 23 points and James Stukes added 18. In the semifinals, they crushed PSAL champion Lincoln (Brooklyn), 77-50. Stukes scored a game-high 22 points. Scott had 16 points and Jermaine Sanders added 14. The Raiders used a 24-11 second-quarter showing for a 42-22 lead at the break. Season complete.
7 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 31-4 7 The Stags won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles. Season complete.
8 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 20-2 8 Idle. Next up is the National High School Invitational Friday against No. 40 Friends Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) at 8 p.m.
9 Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.) 26-0 14 The Panthers won their first state championship, beating Snider (Fort Wayne), 69-62. Darwin Davis scored 17 points and Eric Fromm and Jordan Hulls, an Indiana recruit, added 14 points apiece. "It's an honor to say you won the state championship. Our kids have played a year where they deserve to win. It was a fantastic year," South coach J.R. Holmes said. Season complete.
10 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 29-5 9 The Purple Eagles defended their Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament crown. Season complete.
11 Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 25-4 10 The Royals lost to in the New York CHSAA Class AA final, but did win the Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan Tournament. Season complete.
12 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 31-0 15 The Royals made history last by becoming Minnesota's first large class school to go unbeaten while winning the Class AAAA title, defeating Osseo, 69-59. Hopkins has won six state titles, four of them this decade. Minnesota-bound forward Royce White scored 20 points and Notre Dame-bound Mike Broghammer added 11 points and 13 rebounds. They also overwhelmed previously-undefeated Saint Cloud Tech, 55-36, in the semifinals and Blaine, 68-26, in the quarterfinals. Season complete.
13 Yates (Houston) 34-1 12 The Lions won the Texas Class 4A state title, peeling off 17 straight victories to end the season. Season complete.
14 Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 36-2 12 The Greenies won their third straight North Carolina Independent Schools 3A title. Season complete.
15 South Atlanta (Atlanta) 29-3 13 The Hornets won Georgia's Class AAA state title. This week, center Derrick Favors will be named the 2009 Naismith National Player of the Year, presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Season complete.
16 Martin Luther King (Riverside, Calif.) 30-3 17 The Wolves advanced to the CIF Southern California Region, Division I final. They also won the CIF-Southern Section, Division I title. Season complete.
17 Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 27-5 18 The Toreadors advanced to the loaded CIF Southern California Region, Division I semifinals. Season complete.
18 Butler (Huntsville, Ala.) 34-3 19 The Rebels won their second straight Class 5A championship. Season complete.
19 Lake Clifton (Baltimore) 28-0 20 The Lakers captured the Maryland Class 3A tournament. Season complete.
20 Pershing (Detroit) 26-1 24 The Doughboys beat Kalamazoo Central, 90-73, to capture the Class A state championship. Keith Appling pumped in a state-final record 49 points. They also beat Romulus, 74-73, in the semifinals and De La Salle (Warren), 62-52, in the quarterfinals. The Michigan State-bound duo of Derrick Nix (20 points, 16 rebounds) and Appling (26 points and six rebounds) teamed for 46 points and 22 boards vs. De La Salle. The 6-9 Nix was named Michigan's Mr. Basketball last week. In the semis, Appling's two free throws with two seconds left gave Pershing a 74-70 lead. Nix had 17 points and 22 rebounds. Season complete.
21 Northland (Columbus, Ohio) 27-1 21 Jared Sullinger, a Ohio State recruit, dropped a pair of free throws with three seconds left breaking a tie as the Vikings stopped Princeton (Cincinnati), 60-58, in the Division I state championship before 12,104 at the Value City Arena Columbus. Sullinger had a double-double, with 15 points and 12 boards while J.D. Weatherspoon added 18 points. In the semifinals, the Vikings whacked Warren G. Harding (Warren), 73-59. Sullinger had 22 points and 14 boards and Weatherspoon added 25 points and eight boards. Season complete.
22 Holmes (Covington, Ky.) 36-2 22 The Bulldogs captured their first all-class state championship. Season complete.
23 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 31-2 23 The Monarchs won the Trinity League title and three in-season tournaments. They also enjoyed a 30-game win streak to open the season. Season complete.
24 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) 33-4 28 Idle. The Panthers play No. 6 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) Friday in the first round of the National High School Invitational.
25 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) 26-3 25 The Saints won the Philadelphia Catholic League championship going undefeated in league play and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals before being upset. Season complete.

ESPN RISE FAB 50 BOYS' BASKETBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 21
Rank Team Record Previous
26 Fairfax (Los Angeles) 27-5 26
27 LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) 29-3 27
28 DeSoto (Texas) 33-8 29
29 Strake Jesuit (Houston) 37-1 30
30 Franklin (Seattle) 28-1 31
31 Fayetteville (Ark.) 30-0 32
32 McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) 29-2 33
33 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 26-2 34
34 Cedar Hill (Texas) 35-4 35
35 King's Fork (Suffolk, Va.) 31-1 37
36 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 25-7 39
37 Friends Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) 28-2 40
38 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) 27-3 41
39 Putnam City (Oklahoma City) 25-4 42
40 Centennial (Champaign, Ill.) 32-1 43
41 Ames (Iowa) 26-0 44
42 Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 26-7 45
43 Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia) 32-1 47
44 Petersburg (Va.) 30-1 46
45 Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) 29-3 48
46 Eisenhower (Rialto, Calif.) 32-3 49
47 Paterson Catholic (Paterson, N.J.) 26-5 50
48 Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.) 23-1 NR
49 Whitney Young (Chicago) 26-9 NR
50 Memorial (Madison, Wis.) 26-1 NR

Dropped out: No. 16 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.); No. 36 Princeton (Cincinnati); No. 38 Jamesville-Dewitt (Dewitt, N.Y.).