By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY – An inactive Romeo Langford did not hamper Class 4A No. 1 New Albany one bit Thursday night at The Doghouse.
The Bulldog starting backcourt of Isaac Hibbard and Sean East combined for 53 points to lead New Albany past Hoosier Hills Conference rival Jennings County 84-55. Langford did not play because he dislocated a pinky finger in practice earlier this week. Langford is expected to be out for at least two weeks.
Hibbard scored a game-high 27 points, shooting 10-of-18 from the field and 3-of-7 from 3-point range. The senior guard also went 4-of-4 from the free-throw line along with a team-high four assists and two steals.
East was simply on fire as he compiled 26 points. The junior connected on 10 of his 13 field-goal attempts and was 6-of-8 from 3-point range. East matched Hibbard’s team-high assist total with four.
Junior Blake Murphy stepped up his production because of Langford’s absence. The 6-foot-4 forward had 13 points, a team-high seven rebounds and a team-high two blocked shots.
East, Hibbard and Murphy each recorded their career-high in scoring Thursday night. New Albany sophomore Derrick Stevenson scored eight points and led the Bulldogs in steals with five.
Tyler Vogel paced Jennings County with 19 points, followed by teammate Nick AmRhein with 14. Panther senior Bret Sawyer chipped in 12.
New Albany (16-2, 5-0 HHC) turned this game into a rout in the third quarter. Leading 28-21 at halftime, the Bulldogs outscored the Panthers (12-6, 2-3) 29-13 to go up 57-34.
New Albany extended its home-court winning streak to 25 games and its HHC win streak to 20. The Bulldogs can clinch a share of their fourth consecutive conference title with a win at Columbus East (6-10, 1-2) on Saturday. The game will tip off around 2 p.m.
NEW ALBANY 84, JENNINGS COUNTY 55
Jennings Co. 11 10 13 21-55
New Albany 18 10 29 27-84
Jennings County (12-6, 2-3 Hoosier Hills Conference): Tyler Vogel 19, Nick AmRhein 14, Bret Sawyer 12, Chase Ketcham 7, Travis Wilson 2, Calin Kinney 1, W. Miller 0, Josh Pettit 0, Cody Wilson 0.
New Albany (16-2, 5-0): Isaac Hibbard 27, Sean East 26, Blake Murphy 13, Derrick Stevenson 8, Julien Hunter 6, Savion Southers 4, Kameron Guess 0, Trey Hourigan 0, Peyton Martin 0, Marcus McGee 0, Seth Short 0, Darin Starks 0.
3-point field goals: Jennings County 9 (AmRhein 4, Sawyer 2, Vogel 2, Ketcham 1); New Albany 11 (East 6, Hibbard 3, Murphy 2).