Two of Southern Indiana’s top boys basketball teams are set to renew one of the state’s most passionate and long-standing rivalries this weekend.
New Albany and Jeffersonville will share the hardwood for the 158th time on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., as the Red Devils (7-3, 2-0 Hoosier Hills) host the defending 4A state champion Bulldogs (8-2, 1-0) in the latest installment of a community rivalry dating back to 1909.
The all-time series record, although debated, is widely considered 81-76 in favor of New Albany. The Bulldogs have won the past four meetings by an average of 24.8 points and are 13-4 against the Red Devils dating back to 2007. In postseason play, though, Jeffersonville is 31-29.
In his 19th season, New Albany coach Jim Shannon is 18-11 versus Jeffersonville after starting 0-4. Jeffersonville’s Joe Luce, now 22-15 in his second year (292-127 overall), is the seventh Red Devils coach Shannon has faced.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs are fresh off a Hall of Fame Classic championship rout of previously undefeated Logansport following a first-round win over IBCA No. 16 Warsaw. Jeffersonville fell to Indianapolis Cathedral in the semifinals of its inaugural Ted Throckmorton Memorial Tournament at Johnson Arena last week but bounced back to top Class 2A No. 2 Northeastern in the third-place game.
In three career games against the Red Devils, New Albany junior guard Romeo Langford has averaged 22.3 points per game, with senior guard Isaac Hibbard adding 13.7 per outing in that span. Jeffersonville junior guard Bailey Falkenstein has averaged 14.5 in his past two against the Bulldogs.
Pre-sale tickets provided by the Jeffersonville Athletic Department are $5 each, ages 6 and up, and will be sold at Johnson Arena on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m.
Following Friday’s matchup for Jeffersonville is the Red Devils’ Southern Indiana Showcase on Saturday, featuring a seven-game schedule beginning at noon. The Red Devils host Louisville Manual at 6 p.m., and Charlestown (3-6) – the only other area team scheduled to participate – takes on Class 1A No. 5 Indianapolis Tindley (6-4) at 1:30 pm. Berkmar (Ga.) and 2017 Indiana commit Al Durham, a three-star point guard, will go up against Springfield Southeastern (Ill.) at 3 p.m. New Albany next travels to Seymour (2-5, 0-2).
Other area games to watch
North Harrison at Providence, girls: Class 3A No. 1 North Harrison (14-1) is set to meet the Class 2A No. 2 Pioneers (11-4) for the first time since 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Top-ranked North Harrison suffered its first loss of the season last time out. Providence avenged back-to-back losses with a win over Eastern in the Vincennes Rivet Tournament.
North Harrison is a perfect 6-0 against common opponents, while the Pioneers sit at 6-1. Providence dropped a 52-41 decision to Jeffersonville (11-6, 4-0 HHC) on Tuesday.
Silver Creek at Borden: The Class 1A Braves (8-2), ranked No. 14 AP poll, edged the Class 3A Dragons (7-3) by two in overtime last season, which marked Silver Creek’s first loss in its first 12 games. The Dragons are 2-2 in their past four against the Braves, who are 1-2 in their past three after starting this season 7-0. Silver Creek had its seven-game win streak snapped Friday in the championship game of its holiday tournament.
Castle at Floyd Central: The Highlanders (4-3) welcome a tough test at 6:30 p.m. Saturday as they host Class 4A No. 6 Castle (10-1), which suffered its first loss on Dec. 30. The Knights ran away with a 73-52 win last season and own a 2-0 record against the Highlanders in recent years. Castle ranks third in the latest Sagarin ratings, with Floyd Central at 24th.
Floyd Central at New Albany, girls: A pair of area girls rivals meet on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with the Bulldogs (10-5, 1-1 HHC) hosting the Highlanders (11-6, 1-3). New Albany, which topped Floyd Central 48-35 in last season’s bout, has lost back-to-back games against two of the state’s top teams. Floyd Central earned a first-place finish at the Louisville Southern holiday tournament.
Providence vs. Shawe Memorial: The Pioneers (8-1) and Hilltoppers (1-9) are set to meet inside historic Hoosier Gym on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Knightstown. The two will join Henryville and Corydon among area teams to play inside the gym, where the 1986 film “Hoosiers” was filmed, this season.