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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, April 01, 2017 7:40 pm

McLaughlin leads Indiana all-state basketball teams

JIM JOHNSON | Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — New Albany's Romeo Langford couldn't bring his school a second straight state championship, but he's still widely considered the best high school basketball player in Indiana.

For the second consecutive year, the star junior earned the most votes on this year's Associated Press All-State boys' team. Homestead's Karissa McLaughlin earned the top honor on the girls' all-state team. The selections were released Saturday.

"That doesn't really surprise me at all," New Albany coach Jim Shannon said. "The kid's incredible."

It seems everybody knows it.

The 6-foot-5 Langford was named a Naismith Trophy third-team All-American in early March.

Despite being slowed by a dislocated pinky finger on his shooting hand, he still led New Albany to a 25-4 record by averaging 28.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 blocks. His team was eliminated from the state tournament by Castle in the Class 4A regionals.

After finishing last season with 2,014 career points, Langford needs 1,021 to break Damon Bailey's state scoring record (3,134 points) that has stood since 1990. The only players in state history to score that many points in one season are Carmel's Dave Shepherd (1,079 in 1969-70) and New Castle's Steve Alford (1,078 in 1982-83).

And, of course, everybody wants to know which college Langford will choose.

But none of it has taken away from a second straight first-team selection.

"He had a great year," Shannon said. "The numbers were similar to his numbers the previous year, but I do feel like he has improved. He's definitely put on some weight and he was much stronger. And I think that's only going to continue."

The all-state teams were chosen by a combination of reporters and observers throughout the state.

Langford was joined on the first team by Kris Wilkes of Indianapolis North Central, a UCLA recruit and one of the front-runners for The Indianapolis Star's Mr. Basketball Award; Jack Nunge of Castle, an Iowa recruit; Fort Wayne North senior Jaylen Butz and McCutcheon junior Robert Phinisee.

Wilkes and Phinisee made the second team last season.

Malik Williams of Snider, Cooper Neese of Cloverdale, Hamilton Southeastern of Zach Gunn, Ben Davis junior Aaron Henry, and Keion Brooks, Jr., a sophomore from North Side, were second-team selections. Neese will play at Butler next season.

Kyle Mangas of Warsaw, Mekhi Lairy of Evansville Bosse, Sasha Stefanovic of Crown Point, Mack Smith of Warren Central and Eric Hunter of Tindley made the third team.

McLaughlin jumped from the third team last season to the top vote-getter this season by scoring 25.8 points and dishing out 5.6 assists. She finished with 29 points and six assists in Homestead's 61-54 Class 4A state title game win over Pike.

And it could put her in the running for the Miss Basketball Award, too.

"She's a great competitor and that's probably one of her greatest assets," Homestead coach Rod Parker said. "She'll do whatever it takes to win and winning is her ultimate goal."

McLaughlin also has some terrific talent joining her on the first team: Dana Evans of Gary West, Madison Wise of Greenfield-Central, Nicole Konieczny of South Bend St. Joseph and Katlyn Gilbert of Heritage Christian.

Rachel McLimore of Zionsville, Ajanae' Thomas of Indianapolis North Central, Maliah Howard-Bass of Columbus North and Macee Williams of Fountain Central — all seniors — made the girls' second team. Kayana Traylor of Martinsville was the only junior on the second team.

Seniors also took four of the five spots on the third team — Destiny Perkins of Lawrence North, Madisen Parker of Homestead, Brooke James of Princeton and Bre Lloyd of Hamilton Southeastern. Carmel's Amy Dilk, a junior, also was a third-team selection.