NewBridge Classic: Rothrock powers Ledford to title
Brandon Rothrock had to feel like he was trying to shoot a beach ball through a basketball hoop on Saturday.
Arguably one of the best shooters in Davidson County, the junior had a forgettable night from the field, missing his first nine shots in the NewBridge Christmas Classic championship. A 3-point specialist, he could get absolutely nothing to fall and found himself perched on the bench with his head down to start the fourth quarter. He did not let his struggles get in the way of the job that needed to be done.
Entering the game with his team down six with under five minutes to play against West Davidson, Rothrock strung together a 7-0 run himself, catapulting the Panthers by the Green Dragons 48-36. He was able to finally get his offense going by attacking the basket.
“I just was not shooting good so I decided to start driving,” said Rothrock.
Shortly after Rothrock had checked back in, teammate Skylar McGee posted up and brought the Panthers within four. Next time down the court, Rothrock charged the right side and began to lose the handle of the ball as he went up. He gained possession just before the ball left his fingertips and banked it in for his first field goal.
With a weight lifted off his shoulders, Rothrock took aim one more time from deep. He missed again, but got the ball back and crashed the lane for a 3-point play. He added another runner in the paint to put Ledford up 39-36.
It was the kind of response LHS head coach Jonathan Leonard was looking for out of his sharpshooter that was clearly frustrated during his stay on the bench.
“That is the thing about Brandon. If he is not hitting his outside shot he gets down sometimes. He can get to the rim and finish and that is what he did. He is just a great basketball player and I tell him just to keep going.”
Other than the two points to start the fourth quarter, the Green Dragons had nothing to show for in the final period.
Brock Braddy delivered a dagger with 1:16 to go, knocking down a 3-pointer from the corner that put his team up six. The next four trips for West were a trio of missed 3-pointers and a turnover. Ledford added six free throws for the final tally.
“My birthday was yesterday [Friday] and I had never gotten a tournament win on my birthday,” said Leonard. We broke that jinx and then we win it today. It is nice because it is our home court and you want to please the fans. It feels great and you cannot beat the feeling.”
Rothrock was named MVP finishing with nine points. Hunter Jones tallied 14 points and McGee had 10. Tyler Grooms paced West with 15 points.
Notes: John Sullivan (Ledford), Cody Bowers (East Davidson), Jared Walls (Central Davidson), Grooms and Zach Queen (West Davidson) were named to the all-tournament team … Ledford improves to 7-5 while West dips to 2-8.