Lauralton Hall claims holiday tournament title

MADISON — Neither a man-to-man defense, nor a diamond-and-one set could stop her. Even an injured back was no match for Keylantra Langley.

In addition to her court vision and defensive presence, the St. John’s-bound Langley poured in 27 points to lead the Lauralton Hall girls’ basketball team to a 65-42 win Wednesday over Lyman Hall in the Hand Holiday Tournament championship game.

Langley, along with teammate Devon Leahy, earned tournament co-MVP honors for the Crusaders, ranked No. 5 in the Register Top 10 poll. Hand beat Morgan 48-33 in the consolation game.

“She’s a great player,” Lyman Hall coach Tom Lipka said of Langley. “She’s so athletic. She’s so tough to stop. She could finish, penetrate and pull up. She gets her teammates the ball and they could finish.”

Langley injured her back in a win over Lyman Memorial on Dec. 23. She said it’s been lingering since, but it certainly wasn’t noticeable last Wednesday.

“Not bad for a kid that’s hurt,” Lauralton Hall coach Steve Schuler said. “She should play hurt all the time.”

The Trojans (4-2) stayed with the Crusaders (6-0) until midway through the third quarter. That’s when Lauralton Hall struck with an 11-0 run to take a 43-28 advantage. And it was none other than Langley who led the Crusaders during the spurt.

She zipped through the lane for a layup to spark it.

Later, she grabbed a rebound and hit Leahy with an outlet pass for a layup. Langley set up Sam Murphy for a 3-pointer on the left wing moments later, and capped the run with a coast-to-coast layup.

Lindsay Karle ended the run for the Trojans with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. But Langley quickly answered with one of her own from the left corner.

“It just came to me,” said a humble Langley about her performance. “We basically just played team ball.”

Lauralton Hall outscored Lyman Hall 19-8 in the final quarter.

Karle finished with 26 points, including four 3-pointers for Lyman Hall. She tried to keep the Trojans within striking distance, but didn’t get much help.

The Crusaders muffled Lyman Hall’s top post player, Jen Ruys, fronting her and making it nearly impossible for her to catch near the basket. Ruys finished with five points, all coming from the free throw line.

For Lauralton Hall, Leahy and Nicola Matero each added 11 points. But Langley didn’t need much help.

“If she wasn’t able to go, we’d be in trouble,” Schuler said. “That’s what a Division I player does. She’s special.”