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Postseason play claims two FAB 50 teams

3/4/2009

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.

The first salvos were fired as the postseason claimed two teams from the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings.

No. 26 LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) for the second straight year was picked off in Alabama's Class 5A semifinals, leaving the door open for two-time champion No. 24 Butler (Huntsville, Ala.) to prevail and preventing a dream matchup in Birmingham.

No. 50 Madison (San Antonio) plummeted 45 spots after bowing to Wagner (San Antonio) in the Class 5A Area playoffs. It was a bitter end to a wonderful season for the Mavericks who finished 33-2.

Top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) plays for a Southern Section championship Saturday against Martin Luther King (Riverside, Calif.). The biggest game might be Thursday's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final against No. 10 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and No. 11 Gonzaga (Washington D.C.). The winner plays Ballou for the City Championship next week at the Verizon Center.

Two teams enter the rankings after strong performances. No. 21 Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) vaults into the national spotlight after upending No. 25 Fairfax (Los Angeles) in the City Section semifinals. Taft plays No. 8 Westchester (Los Angeles) on Friday for the title. No. 49 Mount Vernon (N.Y.) won its fourth consecutive Section 1 championship and 26th in program history. The Knights go for their first Public School State title since 2007 and ninth overall.

Expect more of the unexpected as state such as Utah and Florida conduct state championships this week.

Three-Point Play

Game Ball: Terrell Vinson was the main reason No. 36 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) won a second-straight championship, earning him player of the week honors. Vinson, No. 47 in the ESPNU 100, scored 20 points and made three free throws and blocked two shots in the final seconds as the Panthers stopped Loyola (Baltimore), 44-41 in the Baltimore Catholic League final. Vinson also scored 15 points and the winning basket in the semifinals during a 66-66 overtime victory over Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore). For his efforts, he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

In September, the 6-foot-7 Vinson transferred from powerhouse Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) and later signed with Loyola Marymount.

Games of the week: No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) meets No. 9 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) Friday at Georgetown Prep's Hanley Center in North Bethesda, Md. at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The last time they played, it was in the finals of the Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu before Christmas. OHA prevailed, 74-62, in overtime. Virginia Tech-bound Lamont Jones of OHA was named the tournament's MVP. Coaches Stu Vetter of Montrose and Steve Smith of OHA are two of the best. This won't be the last time the two national powerhouses will visit the state-of-art facility in suburban Washington, D.C. They are expected to compete for three days at the inaugural National High School Invitational starting April 3. If they meet, it would be the third time this season.

Final Five: Five coaches, whose teams are in the ESPN RISE rankings, are finalist for the Naismith Boys' High School Coach of the Year Award. Kevin Boyle of St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.); Kurt Keener of Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.); Gary McKnight of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.); Michael Peck of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); and Steve Smith of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The winner will be announced later this month at a banquet provided by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.

Records are through March 1.

Dropped out: No. 42 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.); and No. 48 Newman Smith (Carrollton, Texas).