Final 2023-24 FAB 50: MVA Wins Chipotle Nationals!

Final 2023-24 FAB 50: MVA Wins Chipotle Nationals!

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Chipotle Nationals closed out the 2023-24 season and it’s now time to publish our final FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Montverde Academy of Florida captured the tournament title to go wire-to-wire No. 1, with the results of the event involving eight teams causing some movement within the Top 20.

By Ronnie Flores

The big question heading into 2024 Chipotle Nationals was if any team could seriously challenge season-long FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida. The Eagles were facing as talented a crop of teams the program has ever faced in the end-of-season event that has been played for 16 years. The Eagles were also facing seven potential teams, all ranked within the top 14 of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com prior to the start of the event, that they beat at least once earlier in the season.

There is an old saying it’s hard to beat a good team twice, but the battle tested and top seeded Eagles won three games at Brownsburg (Ind.) to capture the event title for the seventh time in the last 11 times the event was held. Montverde Academy’s 79-63 victory over No. 2 seeded and FAB 50 No. 3 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) makes the Eagles the official 2023-24 FAB 50 National Champs.

Many veteran onlookers felt Paul VI was the best bet to upset Montverde Academy, but the all-around brilliance of Duke-bound Cooper Flagg and the shot making ability of LSU-bound Curtis Givens was the difference in the championship contest. Flagg, the leading Mr. Basketball USA candidate, was named tourney MVP after scoring 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking six shots versus Paul VI. In Montverde Academy’s three victories, Flagg averaged 20.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg and had only blocked one shot in the first two games before his big defensive performance in the final.

Montverde Academy led 45-32 at halftime, as both Givens and Flagg hit big field goals right before intermission. Whenever Paul VI looked to make a run, Givens would hit a big 3-pointer to play the role of rally-killer. Flagg’s block and run out dunk right before the third period buzzer which gave his team a 60-46 lead summarized the game and the event. No matter what any team tried to do, Montverde Academy had an answer.

Givens finished with 24 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Also making a big impact as a matchup nightmare was Maryland-bound forward Derik Queen. He used his big body, passing ability and uncanny moves around the basket to finish with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Queen, who averaged 16.3 ppg and 6.7 rpg at the event, should also be considered a Mr. Basketball USA candidate.

“In almost 40 years of coaching this year’s team was as close has any I’ve ever had both on and off the court,” Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle told Ballislife.com. “They won seven games versus nationally-ranked top five teams and 14 versus nationally-ranked top ten teams. They are in the conversation as the greatest team of all-time and clearly along with Montverde Academy 2020, Dunbar 1983, Oak Hill Academy 1993 and Montverde 2018 one of the five best teams of all- time.”

The big ranking decision coming out of the event was one to move up Paul VI one spot to No. 2 as the runner-up or leave Columbus (Miami, Fla.) in that spot after the Explorers fell in the semifinals to Montverde Academy, 84-70. Even though Paul VI advanced one round further at Chipotle Nationals, the Panthers lost a head-to-head matchup to Columbus, 70-61, at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts, so the Explorers remain at No. 2. Although Columbus did fall behind big early in its game with MVA just as it did in the first meeting between the two, MVA’s victory margins over the Explorers and the Panthers were in similar range that a rankings flip to go against the head-to-head result was unwarranted.

Flagg finished with 28 points in the win over Columbus while Queen added 16 points and six rebounds. Cameron Boozer, last season’s Mr. Basketball USA as a sophomore, led Columbus with 29 points (3-of-11 3-point) and seven rebounds.

Paul VI knocked off then No. 11 Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) in its semifinal, 58-44, as Duke-bound Darren Harris led the way with 20 points. Harris also scored a team-high 16 points in the championship final loss to Montverde Academy and had 36 points (5-of-9 3-point) in the 101-89 first round win over then No. 14 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). Link Academy is able to move up five spots after defeating then No. 6 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 80-76 in double overtime, in the first round. Link Academy and Prolific Prep split games this season, but with Link Academy avenging the regular season loss, it finishes ranked one spot ahead of The Crew from Napa, Calif.

In its first round victory, Montverde Academy took down then No. 12 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), 64-49, as Flagg had 16 points while Queen finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

This is Montverde Academy’s third FAB 50 national title team to finish unbeaten, joining the already legendary 2020 team that didn’t get the opportunity to compete in Chipotle Nationals because of COVID-19 and the 2018 team. The 2018 team also went wire-to-wire as FAB 50 No. 1 team just as this year’s close knit group did.

For Montverde Academy, the program has now finished No. 1 in the FAB 50 seven times, which ties Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for the most all-time FAB 50 national titles. We’ll have more detail on that achievement and this year’s MVA team in our annual “Salute to All-Time FAB 50 No. 1 Teams”.

There was also some movement in the final rankings after we reviewed the entire season log for each team that we’ll explain in our Final, Expanded FAB 50 Rankings with detail on each team.

RELATED:  Preseason 2023-24 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker | “In The Paint” Podcast (Spotify) |  “In The Paint” Podcast (YouTube) | Chipotle Nationals Record Book

Final FAB 50 National Team RankingsPowered by Ballislife.com

(16th and final poll of 2023-24 regular season; Through games played on Saturday, April 6; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No. Prev. High School (City)Record

11Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)33-0

22Columbus (Miami, Fla.)28-5

33Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)35-3

45Plano East (Plano, Texas) 40-0

54Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)21-5

611Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)26-7

76Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.)31-6

87Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)33-3

99Fishers (Fishers, Ind.)29-1

109Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukee, Wis.)30-0

1113Stony Point (Round Rock, Texas)38-2

128Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.)33-0

1320Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.)31-4

1415St. Rose (Belmar, N.J.)29-2

1526Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)27-4

1612AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)27-6

1714IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)18-9

1816Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)26-4

1917Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)29-3

2018St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)27-1

2119Ridge View (Columbia, S.C.) 27-2

2221Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)24-6

2322Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)30-2

2423McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)26-6

2524North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)30-3

2626Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.)27-4

2727John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)25-3

2828Bullis (Potomac, Md.)27-3

2929Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) 27-4

3030Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)28-6

3131St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)28-7

3232Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)31-2

3333La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)23-5

3434Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.)27-7

3535Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)28-4

3636Camden (Camden, N.J.)30-2

3737Kell (Marietta, Ga.)28-3

3838Homewood Flossmor (Flossmor, Ill.)33-4

3939Reidsville (Reidsville, N.C.)29-0

4040Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.)26-3

4141St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)26-3

4242Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.)25-5

4343Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.)27-2

4444Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.)33-3

4545Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 27-1

4646Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)29-6

4747Lyon County (Eddyville, Ky.)36-3

4848Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)34-4

4949Northwest (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)25-0

5050Great Crossing (Georgetown, Ky.)36-2

Dropped Out: None.

Editor’s Note: No bubble clubs are included in the final FAB 50, as the final 2023-24 Top 20 Regional Rankings include all the teams considered for the bubble.

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 24 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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