With the best sophomore in Indiana shrugging off physical attention, with six scorers in double figures, the Bulldogs crushed the Red Devils 86-57. All the suspense was erased when New Albany (8-1) went on a 25-4 run that left the Devils gasping in surrender.
But there were highlights that kept the near-capacity crowd in the Doghouse enthralled. Most were courtesy of Romeo Langford, who scored 24 points – including two offensive-rebound slams – and grabbed 13 boards.
He was not the only New Albany star, When six score 10-plus, everyone is doing something right. The Bulldogs did little wrong.
“For 28 minutes, we looked pretty daggone good,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said, almost apologizing. “We played great.
GALLERY | Langford leads the way as Bulldogs roll
“We have a great team, a lot of kids who can play. But when you have Romeo, and I get tired of saying it every week – good golly, Miss Molly. What do you do? I wouldn’t want to be on the other side trying to figure it out.”
Jeffersonville (7-6) certainly did not. The Devils chased the wonderkid, pushed him around, did everything within the legal limits to harass and frustrate Langford. He never frowned, never complained, he just dominated.
“They did all they could do to keep him from scoring points, and he still scored points,” Shannon said. “He just finds ways. He’ll figure it out. He’s smart. I think he has a lot of poise. I don’t know how he does it. He’s not real high strung.”
How did he do it? Count the ways: a step-back trey, a pull-up from 16 feet in transition, a stutter-step swoop to the rim, the highlight dunks off misses, the snatched rebounds, four blocked shots. He was milkshake smooth, fluid, and coated in Teflon. All the Devils bounced off.
And when he wasn’t quietly posing for social media memes, his teammates were doing damage. Michael Maxwell missed only one shot and scored 14 points. Isaac Hibbard drilled jumpers and scored 12. Sean East (11 points) and Rondale Moore (11) split time at point guard and matched each other for productivity.
Maxwell’s performance was the most surprising. He was averaging a modest 4.0 points per game, and he was often left open as the Devils swarmed Langford.
“He was great,” Shannon said. “He was the best 5 on the floor. We were worried about that spot, but we didn’t have anything to worry about.”
New Albany owned a 25-21 lead midway through the second quarter when it exploded. Moore drilled a 3-pointer and streaked the length of the court in 3.9 seconds to beat the halftime buzzer, ending a 15-4 spurt to a 40-25 lead. When the Bulldogs opened the second half with the first 10 points, the rout was obvious.
The Bulldogs bulled to a 30-point lead later in the third quarter. The Bulldogs hit 11 of 14 shots that period and erupted for 29 points.
“We weren’t ready for that,” Jeffersonville coach Joe Luce said after his first taste of the rivalry. “Playing hard is one thing, but playing hard and tough, playing hard and smart, playing hard and confident are three different things. We weren’t ready for that level of competition, and it showed.”
Jeffersonville had one who responded. Bailey Falkenstein scored 24 points.
“He’s just tough enough to play in that atmosphere,” Luce said.
New Albany also took control of the Hoosier Hills Conference race at 3-0 in the league as it chases its third straight conference title.