BOZICH | Is Damon Bailey's scoring record out of Romeo Langford's reach? Stay tuned
New Albany's all-American Romeo Langford has averaged nearly 46 points his last four games, positioning himself for a push for Damon Bailey's Indiana high scoring record.
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – Calculators are not optional at New Albany High School basketball games the remainder of this basketball season. Romeo Langford’s pursuit of Damon Bailey and the all-time Indiana High School scoring record will crackle into March.
Langford sits 438 points behind Bailey, who finished his remarkable career at Bedford North Lawrence 28 years ago.
With a maximum of 10, or possibly 11, games remaining on the New Albany schedule (if the Bulldogs advance to the Class 4A final), you can argue that Langford is destined to pass No. 3 DeShaun Thomas and No. 2 Marion Pierce and place himself directly behind Bailey, who finished with 3,134.
I get it. That’s a massive amount of points for Langford to get in less than two months.
But I also watched Langford assault the basket Saturday afternoon against Columbus East. Drives. Three-point plays. Three-point shots. Floaters. Step-back jumpers. Lean-in jumpers. Reverse layups.
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Credit Langford with a thunderous 44 on a day when he made 14 of his 16 two-point field goal attempts and also grabbed a dozen rebounds. The three-pointers did not fall the way they usually do – just 2 of 11.
On most days if Langford takes 11 shots from distance, he’ll make at least four. Maybe five, six or seven. Remember: Langford has scored 183 (45.8) in New Albany’s last four games.
That’s why coaches from Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt, Langford’s final three, hyperventilate any time somebody Tweets news about Langford. It’s why Langford was presented a ball to recognize his selection as a McDonald’s all-American. It's why he's Secretariat in the race for Mr. Basketball in Indiana this season.
But with a sellout crowd of more than 4,000 roaring its appreciation as Langford went to the bench after making two free throws with 3:55 to play, New Albany improved to 17-1 by defeating the Olympians, 89-60, Saturday.
Langford has been consistent. He said – again – that he is not concerned with the scoring record. He simply wants another Class 4A title to go with the one that New Albany won two years ago – as well as the three area championships that Langford won at Scribner Junior High School from fifth-through-eighth grades when his father, Tim, said those teams won 75 of 78 games.
The first evidence that Langford could score on anybody?
“I think the first time his picture was in the (New Albany Tribune), he scored 28 points,” Tim Langford said.
That was as a fourth-grader at Mt. Tabor Elementary School. That would be 28 points in 24 minutes – at an age when many kids are ecstatic to bounce in a layup or two.
Now, after Saturday, Langford is parked at 2,696 points. He is likely to finish his New Albany career with more than double the number of points any Bulldog player has scored – and New Albany has developed a string of Division I and II players over the last 25 years. Like Braydon Hobbs, who excelled at Bellarmine and continues to play overseas. Like Lamont Roland, who started at LSU. Like LaDrell Whitehead, who scored like crazy for Wyoming. Like Donnie Hale, who earned a scholarship at Purdue.
“I haven’t really thought about the record,” Langford said.
New Albany coach Jim Shannon said that with or without the record Langford has already assured his place as one of the greatest players in the history of Indiana High School basketball – and this is a state that produced Oscar Robertson, George McGinnis, Rick Mount, Larry Bird, Glenn Robinson, Calbert Cheaney and other names that resonate beyond Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Indianapolis.
“It’s a long way away,” Shannon said. “It would take a lot of points to get there. We don’t want to put so much focus on that that we’re not putting it on our team.
“Ro’s not that way at all. If it’s there to get, he’ll get it. But that’s not his ultimate goal.”
All that is left for Langford in the regular season are three road games (Providence, Madison and Bloomington North) and Langford’s Senior Night Farewell against Bedford Feb. 16. (Yes, it’s sold out. Every New Albany home game has been sold out this season.) Bailey will be there that night. He helps coach BNL.
“Damon and Romeo met at Indiana (during Hoosier Hysteria),” Shannon said. “Damon wished him the best and just told him to enjoy his last year of high school because it’s something he’ll never forget.”
“I’ve tried to enjoy all four years,” Langford said.
Providence (6-11), Madison (6-11) and Bloomington North (5-10) are all struggling. New Albany is ranked first in the state in Jeff Sagarin's computer formula. Plenty of good shots will be available.
Two days after Langford dropped 63 on Jennings County, he started as if he intended to hang 63 on Columbus East in the first half.
Langford scored New Albany’s first 16 points in the first three minutes – and none of his field goal attempts were forced.
“He was on a tear,” Shannon said. “His taking guys off the dribble moves were really good tonight.”
“The shots were just falling,” Langford said “I was just feeling it.”
Langford felt his way to 16 in the first quarter, 11 in the second, nine in the third and eight during his partial appearance in the fourth quarter.
He could have scored more. He could always score more. But Romeo Langford has already scored more than all but three guys who have played high school basketball in Indiana – and he is not finished.
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