By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY – Bulldog Nation took a huge collective sigh of relief Saturday night at The Doghouse.
Class 4A No. 3 New Albany rallied from a 12-point deficit to defeat Indianapolis Manual in overtime 76-72 to keep its long homecourt winning streak alive. It was the Bulldogs’ 29th consecutive win at the friendly confines of The Doghouse.
Five-star player Romeo Langford had another sensational performance. The New Albany junior swingman scored a game-high 40 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Langford shot 10-of-18 from the field, 4-of-9 from 3-point range and 16-of-21 from the free-throw line. It was the third time this season Langford has scored at least 40 points.
Bulldog senior guard Isaac Hibbard tallied 16 points and teammate Sean East ended up with 13. East scored all of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Manual (14-6) took a 48-36 lead with 51.3 seconds left in the third period when senior guard Courvoisier McCauley converted a three-point play.
With the Redskins holding a 55-46 with more than six minutes remaining in regulation, East made a rare five-point play to pull the Bulldogs (20-3) within four points. East nailed a 3-pointer at 5:56 mark, then drew a foul shortly thereafter that put him at the line. The junior guard hit both free throws to cut the Manual lead to 55-51.
East gave New Albany a 57-56 lead with 3:23 remaining by swishing a free throw. The Redskins responded with four straight free throws to go up 60-57 with 1:15 left. But at the 59-second mark, Langford knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 60. McCauley missed a desperation 3 at the buzzer to force overtime.
Langford took control of the game in the extra session. He scored the first five points of the overtime to give New Albany a 65-60 advantage. He began overtime with a baseline jumper, followed by a three-point play that included a dunk. Langford made a layup with less than two minutes left to put New Albany up 71-63.
Manual, though, did not go away quietly. Reserve guard Wilanta Hankston hit a 3 in the corner with seven seconds remaining to pull the Redskins within two at 74-72. But East sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 5.9 ticks left.
McCauley, who entered the game averaging about 27 points per game, wound up with 32 points and eight rebounds.
New Albany will host Bloomington North (12-8) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It will be the Bulldogs’ Senior Night.
Check Southern Indiana Preps later this weekend for a breakdown of New Albany’s overtime win over Indianapolis Manual on Saturday night.
NEW ALBANY 76, INDIANAPOLIS MANUAL 72, OT
Manual 12 19 20 9 12-72
New Albany 14 12 15 19 16-76
Manual (14-6): Courvoisier McCauley 32, Nathan Merriweather 11, Jaron Glenn 9, Cameron Sembly 9, Amari Evans 4, Jalen Johnson 4, Wilanta Hankston 3, Montez McNair 0, T.J. Waldon 0, Coadie Barnett 0.
New Albany (20-3): Romeo Langford 40, Isaac Hibbard 16, Sean East 13, Julien Hunter 3, Trey Hourigan 2, Derrick Stevenson 2, Marcus McGee 0, Savion Southers 0.
3-point field goals: Manual 7 (Merriweather 3, McCauley 2, Hankston 1, Sembly 1); New Albany 7 (Langford 4, Hibbard 2, East 1).
Rebounds: Manual 28 (McCauley 8); New Albany 29 (Langford 10).
Turnovers: Manual 15, New Albany 12.
Total fouls: Manual 28, New Albany 17.
Fouled out: Glenn, Johnson, McCauley, Merriweather; Hunter.
Junior varsity score: New Albany 69, Manual 26.