March 26, 2016
New Albany Holds on for Second State Championship
Held to 16 points through three quarters, New Albany standout sophomore Romeo Langford wouldn’t be denied. And neither would the Bulldogs.
Langford – ranked in the top five in the nation among shooting guards in the Class of 2018 – scored 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, leading Class 4A’s top-ranked team to a 62-59 win over No. 4 McCutcheon (28-4) in the state championship game. It was New Albany’s second state title and came 43 years after the first one.
Langford, who game into the night averaging 30.3 points per game, punctuated the win with a slam dunk off teammate Isaac Hibbard’s steal with 17 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a six-point cushion.
After falling behind 8-4 in the first quarter, McCutcheon ran off 15 of the next 17 points to take a 19-10 lead with 6:35 left in the half. Gavin Dunbar hit two 3-pointers during the run, while teammate Robert Phinisee scored six points and assisted on both of Dunbar’s treys.
New Albany responded with its own flurry, outscoring the Mavericks 16-7 to tie the game at 26. Lankford scored nine points during the run, including a layup with 1:39 left in the half. But McCutcheon scored seven of the final nine points of the half to go back on top 33-28 at the break.
New Albany opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run to take a six-point lead. McCutcheon rallied back to retake the lead, but a 3-pointer from Sean East gave the Bulldogs the lead for good with 1:32 left in the third quarter. McCutcheon would close within a point multiple times in the fourth before New Albany closed the game out, hitting 6-8 free throws in the final 49 seconds.
The Bulldogs, who finished 27-1 under Coach Jim Shannon, got 17 points from Hibbard and 10 points from East. McCutcheon’s Haden Deaton and Eddy Collins each scored 14 points for Coach Rick Peckinpaugh, while Phinisee added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Class 4A State Finals Records
Most Combined 3 Point Field Goals Made: 17 by McCutcheon (9) and New Albany (8)
Most Combined 3 Point Field Goals Attempted: 44 by McCutcheon (19) and New Albany (25)
Listen: Post-Game Comments from McCutcheon / New Albany Coaches
McCutcheon’s Charles Phinisee named Trester Mental Attitude Award Recipient
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Charles Phinisee of McCutcheon High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 4A Boys Basketball.
The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is nominated by his principal and coach.
Phinisee has been a standout athlete at McCutcheon, having been a member of the basketball, football, and track teams. Charles has overcome adversity multiple times in his career, having torn his ACL in football in consecutive years as a freshman and sophomore. Not only is Charles an exceptional student and athlete, he is also a member of the McCutcheon Athletic Council, Project Lead the Way, and represented his school at the IHSAA Student Leadership Conference last summer.
Phinisee is the son of Tanika Phinisee of Lafayette. He has not yet selected his college but plans to study Engineering.
The 4A, 3A and 2A awards are named in honor of the late Arthur L. Trester who served as first commissioner of the Association from 1929 to 1944. Trester helped Indiana high school sports and the IHSAA emerge from the Great Depression in a position of preeminence unmatched by perhaps any other state in the nation.
The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, the presenting sponsor of the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to McCutcheon High School in the name of Charles Phinisee. Since 1989, more than $840,000 in college scholarships have been presented to deserving high school athletes in Indiana.