NEW ALBANY, Ind. –– Behind a combined 53 points from the incoming Indiana freshman trio of Romeo Langford, Rob Phinisee, and Damezi Anderson, the Indiana Senior All-Stars overcame an early deficit to topple the Indiana Junior All-Stars, 111-101 on Wednesday night.
Langford was sensational on the floor he called home for his high school career, ending the night with 26 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and four steals in 29 minutes. Indiana’s 2018 Mr. Basketball forced his way through the lane and drew a number of fouls, leading to an 11-of-12 effort from the free throw line. When he was subbed out in the final minutes, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Phinisee recorded 11 points and finished with a game-high five assists while adding two steals and a block in 24 minutes, while Anderson put up 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 20 minutes.
The Juniors led by as much as 11 in the first half and went into the break with a 56-49 advantage. Cathedral’s Armaan Franklin was the catalyst for the Juniors in the opening frame, posting 14 of his 20 points while also dishing two assists. On the defensive side, the Juniors held the Seniors to 37.5 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes, forced eight turnovers and blocked three shots.
During the halftime break, Anderson said Langford was perturbed that the Seniors were losing, and made it his mission to prevent them from being upset in Langford’s final game in New Albany before heading to Bloomington.
“It was a fire in his eyes. I (saw) it on his face,” Anderson said. “He was locked in. We could feel it. He was about to go to work. He’s about to be focused. We’ve just got to jump on his back and have him lead us.”
The Seniors went on an 18-1 run in the opening stages of the second half to take the lead for good. Defensively, the Seniors took the game over, recording 12 steals in the second half alone, including a combined six from Langford, Phinisee and Anderson.
“We really just tried to get in the passing lanes and pick up on guys defensively,” Phinisee said. “Just play together more as a team.”
This was the first of three games for the Indiana Senior All-Stars, who head to Bellarmine University in Louisville on Friday to take on the Kentucky Seniors. The two teams will meet again the next day at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
All 12 of the Seniors logged at least nine minutes in the win. That likely won’t be the case over the weekend with more on the line.
“It was kind of more equal playing time than it will be versus Kentucky. Really we just tried to play as hard as we can and get a feel for each other,” Phinisee said.
Five-star juniors Trayce Jackson-Davis and Keion Brooks were not at the game. Both were in Colorado Springs for Team USA U18 basketball tryouts. Jackson-Davis made the final 12 man team and will be suiting up for the red, white and blue in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada next week.