NEWS: The power states flexed its collective muscle last week.
The No. 1 teams from Delaware and South Carolina and several highly ranked Missouri teams took a hit in the girls rankings, all victims of teams from Illinois and Georgia -- largely recognized as among the strongest spring-play girls states. The net result is 12 Illinois teams in this week's girls SIMA FAB 50 and four Georgia teams ranked among the Top 40. The boys rankings are showing a similar trend, dominated by teams from Georgia and Virginia.
While 14 boys and nine girls are listed as newcomers this week, truth is many are simply making a return visit to the SIMA FAB 50.
The best waqy to look at the rankings is to realize it's a season-long process. When favored teams take unexpected losses early, they bounce from the rankings and need to slowly work their way back through the pack to rejoin the nation's elite. Three of the five Georgia boys "newcomers" are returning the SIMA FAB 50, as are two of the Virginia boys teams. On the girls side, three teams are turning to the FAB 50 this week, including the preseason No. 2 team.
BIG MOVERS: BOYS: Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, Tenn.). MBA has been pretty strong in recent years, and this week the team was rewarded for a hot early start of five straight shutouts. MBA moves from No. 35 to No. 22. An upcoming match against current No. 3 McCallie School (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will be key in the rankings. ... GIRLS: Westminster Schools (Atlanta, Ga.). While the move from No. 47 to No. 32 might not seem overly huge, it actually sets up Westminster, which made a strong showing at the Smoky Mountain Cup over the weekend, for a potential high ranking by year's year. The reason is simple. At least 15 teams ranked in front of Westminster Schoolshave to lose between now and the end of the spring season because they are either league rivals, in tournaments together or will meet in postseason play. Therefore, Westminster should inch higher every week as long as it wins as the current Top 25 teams start to thin themselves out.
NEWCOMERS: BOYS: No. 11 W.T. Woodson (Fairfax, Va.), No. 18 South Lakes (Reston, Va.), No. 39 Omaha Westside (Omaha, Neb.), No. 40 Walton (Marietta, Ga.), No. 41 Riverwood (Sandy Springs, Ga.), No. 42 Mills Godwin (Richmond, Va.), No. 43 Etowah (Woodstock, Ga.), No. 44 Chattahoochee (Johns Creek, Ga.), No. 45 Kellam (Virginia Beach, Va.), No. 46 Stadium (Tacoma, Wash.), No. 47 Cosby (Midlothian, Va.), No. 48 Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.), No. 49 Charlottesville (Va.) and No. 50 Ballard (Seattle, Wash.). ... GIRLS: No. 34 Geneva (Ill.), No. 37 Wakefield (Raleigh, N.C.), No. 42 Glenwood (Chatham, Ill.), No. 43 Blue Valley Southwest (Overland Park, Kan.), No. 44 Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis, Mo.), No. 45 Nerinx Hall (St. Louis, Mo.), No. 46 Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.), No. 47 Classical Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and No. 48 Collinsville (Ill.)
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NEWS: It's this simple -- if the Highland Park (Texas) girls hoist a state title trophy on Saturday, they also will be the SIMA FAB 50 winter national champion. If any other team claims the 5A crown, the FAB 50 title will stay in Florida, this time at St. Johns Country Day (Fla.).
The winter high school season is the longest ranking season, running from the preseason poll on Nov. 1 through mid-April. This year that meant 21 weeks of rankings, which is longer than the NCAA college basketball season.
Results this week in the Texas 6A and 5A tournaments will be the final piece to this year's winter rankings, and plenty remains to be settled. On the girls side, the Highland Park situation is simple. Keller (Texas) is the favorite among the Texas 6A girls. However, even if Keller wins the title, it will remain ranked behind [Liberty ca-w] (Calif.), which beat Keller at the National Elite Prep Showcase in January. The 6A girls semifinals feature three non-DFW teams thanks to a Hendrickson (Texas) win over Sachse (Texas) in the regional semifinals. The geographical-based regional tournament usually results in two DFW teams, one Houston team and either one Austin or San Antonio team in the state semifinals with most of the real challengers knocked out in the DFW-based regionals. This year, however, Tompkins (Texas) stunned league rival and formerly undefeated Cinco Ranch (Texas) to join Hendrickson, Keller and another surprise in Vandegrift (Texas), leaving two Austin-area programs in the semifinals.
On the boys side, the focus is soley in Class 6A as now 5A teams are in the SIMA FAB 50. DFW programs Sam Houston (Texas) and [Jesuit College Prep tx-m] (Texas) are in the semifinals with Dobie (Houston, Texas) and Juarez-Lincoln (Juarez, Texas) from Southern Texas. History has shown teams from the region who by Juarez-Lincoln are been strong title contenders in recent years. Dobie will need a strong showing to justify the lofty rankings of the Houston teams they defeated in the playoffs. Otherwise, they collectively stand to fall.
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