My flight had just landed in Cincinnati. Getting up from my seat I scrambled looking for my phone to see if the game was still on. I was able to access my iPhone to catch the second half of the New Albany Bulldogs vs La Lumiere Lakers in a High School Showcase basketball game on ESPN via my U-Verse app, 2017’esque.
The Bulldogs (Ind.) were overmatched as a team by the #1 Nationally Ranked Lakers (Ind.), but Romeo Langford, 6’4, was clearly the best player on the court. Watching him hit a step-back to the right 3-pointer from NBA range, and how it seemed so naturally effortless. However, this is not an easy maneuver to be done by a right-handed player. He also, caught the ball on the right wing and proceeded to the basket to emphatically dunk over the 6’11 defender. Langford ended the game with 40 of the Bulldogs 63 points as they lost by 22 to the Lakers; who have multiple D1 players on their roster. This was an unfortunate loss for the Bulldogs that had both Rick Pitino and Bill Self in attendance (Louisville and Kansas coaches respectfully). The Bulldogs would have chances to bounce back with their home games against state ranked #2 Carmel and #20 Evansville Bosse.
Pulling up to the game it brought back old memories. As you’re entering the gym you can hear the band and the crowd like an eargasm explosion. It was music to my ears. When the game started the #4 Bulldogs came out slow against #2 Carmel, and it seemed like Carmel was hitting every shot taken in front of the sellout Doghouse crowd. The Bulldogs would fight back from down 9 points to start the second half with great team effort plays. They stood tied at 50-50 with 2:18 left in the game when the Bulldogs held the ball for one shot. Coach Jim Shannon called timeout with 34 seconds remaining to draw up a play that ended up with Langford missing a long 3-pointer sending the game into overtime. Down by 2 with under 2:00 to go Langford turned it on and got an and-1 giving the Bulldogs a 1-point lead. They ended with a defensive stop and Langford made the final 2 from the line for the end score 55-52.
Langford’s 28 points helped him become the All-Time Leading Scorer in the history of New Albany (1,474 points in 60 career games). When asked about the record by the Courier-Journal Langford said, ‘I thought about it going into the game.., but once the game started, I totally forgot about it – I just tried to get the win.’ He took time signing autographs and posing for photos with those who waited. Even my two kiddos got their game tickets signed by Yeah-Yeah, as they call him.
The game against #20 Evansville Bosse started with the ceremony for Coach Shannon’s 500th Victory Milestone and Langford’s passing of Chad Hunter to become the All Time Leading Scorer. I’m sure this had something to do with the fury that Bosse played with. The teams were all knocked up at 31-31 at halftime. However, the Bosse attempts were stymied by Langford who scored 22 of his 34 in the second half. Langford caught fire with 15 points shooting 5 of 7 from the field with 4 of 5 3-pointers in the third quarter. It was another team win with help from players on both ends to help get the NA Bulldogs over the Evansville Bosse Bulldogs 72-63.
After returning to Austin I found out that there was more Ro Show for consumption. The Bulldogs were playing in the Hall of Fame Tourney, and it could be live streamed on 1450thesportsbuzz.com. While at work I listened to them pull out the victory in the first game over Warsaw. I was home by the time the Championship game came on. I recall the radio commentator wondering if Romeo was sick or something due to him having an off game, and then he chuckled stating they’d been spoiled with his consistent talent.
The Championship game vs #3 Logansport was one that the Bulldogs ran away with. They outscored them 15-0 in the third quarter on their way to a 58-33 win. Langford led all players with 20 points 11 rebounds and 2 blocks on his way to being named MVP. “Coach said in the locker room, ‘The team that’s going to win is going to be the one with mental toughness. It’s the second game of the day, everybody’s tired.’ That’s what we did, especially on defense’ said Langford to indystar.com. The team player that Yeah-Yeah is he said his teammate should have been named MVP since he played extra minutes and guarded the best players during this tourney.
This was a very merry December being able to catch 5 games of Romeo Langford from the 15th – 30th. I got the experience from National TV (on my phone), 2 live games and 2 games streamed over the internet. Romeo is a very down to earth young man which could easily be different with all of the notoriety and exposure. He keeps a level head and can rarely see his facial expression change. His abilities are at a high level. He can improve his footwork on defense and get stronger, but there isn’t much that he is unable to do or willing to strive for. It’s all about winning with this guy and he embraces the challenge on a nightly basis with the attitude that no one can stop him. After watching his performance I would agree.
The Bulldogs are going to continue in defense of their 4A Indiana State Title, and have been improving as a team with taking the best from their opponent every game. It’s a different feeling when you’re on the hunt than when you’re being hunted. Yeah-Yeah is up for the task. Only time will tell if they’ll be cutting down the nets again to celebrate a repeat.