Romeo Langford vs. Kris Wilkes as a part of Basketball Day in Indiana
Saturday’s already-enticing matchup between New Albany and North Central at the Forum Credit Union Tip-off Classic at Southport got a little juicier over the weekend.
Then-No. 3 North Central has moved into the No. 2 spot in this week’s IBCA Top 20 by way of a McCutcheon loss, making Saturday’s meeting a bout of top-ranked teams. New Albany received all 22 first-place votes in the latest coaches poll.
The Bulldogs (2-0) and Panthers (2-0) will meet at 2 p.m. as a part of Basketball Day in Indiana, an event put on by FOX Sports Indiana, the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, featuring five televised games, from high school to NBA, over a span of 13 hours.
The Class 4A defending champion Bulldogs of course feature 5-star New Albany native Romeo Langford, who will match up with recent UCLA commit Kris Wilkes of North Central, a leading contender for IndyStar Indiana Mr. Basketball. Wilkes averaged 22.3 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior and led North Central to the regional semifinals a year ago. Langford has notched 24 in wins over Bloomington South and Evansville Harrison to open his junior campaign.
The teams last met in 1995, with New Albany — led by first-year head coach Don Unruh, the Bulldogs’ current athletic director — securing an 84-81 win over the Panthers in overtime. Coach James Shannon is 333-97 in his 19th year at New Albany, and North Central’s Doug Mitchell is 400-156 in his 24th season with the Panthers.
Next up for New Albany, though, is a rivalry matchup at home against Floyd Central (2-0) on Friday. The Highlanders are fresh off a win at then-No. 9 Bloomington South via a game-winning putback from sophomore Cobie Barnes. The Bulldogs went 2-0 against Floyd Central last season — a three-point win on the road and a 22-point drubbing in sectional play.
Boys games to watch
Henryville at Charlestown: The Hornets (2-0) and Pirates (2-1, 2-0 Mid-Southern) are off to solid starts this season and will collide on Tuesday. Charlestown escaped with a four-point win at Henryville last season and has won its past seven meetings against the Hornets. Both teams feature dynamic guards in Jordon Knoebel (Charlestown) and Braxton Robertson (Henryville). Knoebel had 27 last time out, and Robertson had 25 in a season-opening win over Silver Creek.
Rock Creek at Christian Academy: The series between the Lions (2-2) and Warriors (2-1) is tied 8-8 dating back to 2003, and the past three meetings have been decided by an average of 3.7 points. CAI is 2-0 against common foes this season. Rock Creek is 1-1. Stephen Cook poured in 29 points to pace the Warriors to a six-point win over Clarksville on Tuesday, while the Lions dropped a 47-44 season-opening decision to the Generals.
Girls games to watch
Columbus East at Jeffersonville: The Red Devils (6-3, 4-0 Hoosier Hills) and Olympians (4-2, 1-0) will take their unbeaten league records into a matchup Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Jeffersonville topped Columbus East by nine in last season’s meeting. The Red Devils travel to Sacred Heart (Ky.) Thursday ahead of Saturday’s conference game.
New Albany at Scottsburg: The Bulldogs (5-3, 0-1 Hoosier Hills) are looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses to North Harrison and Bedford North Lawrence starting Thursday at Scottsburg (5-3, 3-1 Mid-Southern). New Albany’s Chyna Anthony (Northern Kentucky) will match up with Scottsburg’s Paige Barrett (Murray State) in a battle of in-state college commits.