Prep Hoops: Ledford boys fall off pace
Ledford’s boys competed with Mid-Piedmont Conference opponent Northeast Guilford for a half and some change. The Rams flexed some serious muscle after that.
Up by only four two minutes into the second half, the Rams exploded for a 35-11 run that easily put away the Panthers, 66-38 Monday at Ledford. The 11-1 Rams took off on the deciding run with Mohammed Tijani leading the way. He scored 10 straight points for Northeast in the third quarter on his way to a game-high 24. Jeremy Harris tossed in 12 points with four of them coming on two dunks — one of them bending the rim down. Brandon Rothrock paced Ledford with 12 points.
In the opener Monday, the Lady Panthers surged out to a 26-7 lead after one quarter and eased home with a 68-35 victory in its first MPC game of the year. Emmalee Thomas scored 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the 3-point line for LHS. Courtney Callicutt made seven shots from the field for 17 points.
Ledford was hanging tough with the taller Rams and had dodged one bullet in the first half. Northeast started slow and trailed 7-2 in the first quarter. When Tijani entered in the second quarter, Northeast started to flow on the offensive end and went up by 13 with a minute to go in the half. With the game about to slip away, the Panthers dug in and scored the final four points on Erik McSwain’s turnaround in the lane and Rothrock’s runner at the horn.
“We hung in there,” said LHS coach Jonathan Leonard. “They got a double-digit lead there in the second quarter so we switched our defense. We cut it down to nine and I felt pretty good going into the second half.”
Northeast scored the first bucket of the second half but the Panthers sprang a 7-0 spurt on them to tighten the contest. Rothrock converted two drives to the basket and Kevin Pressley knocked down a 3 from the top of the key to leave LHS back two baskets at 31-27.
They would stumble mightily to game’s end.
After the teams traded baskets, Tijani erupted on a 10-0 run by himself as the Rams went up 48-31 at the end of the third quarter and kept adding to the advantage the final eight minutes.
“They adjusted with their pressure,” said Leonard. “They are so long and we did not make smart decisions. It just snowballs and you cannot do that against good teams. I still think we are learning with as young as we are. There are some nights where we play really good and then there are other nights where we really struggle. Tonight that had a lot to do with the team we were playing.”
Ledford (7-7) will have three days off to regroup before its second conference game of the season Friday at Southern Guilford. The Storm are struggling at 4-8 and Leonard sees it as a game his team needs to win.
“We are just going to have to go back and work and hopefully next time we will have a different outcome,” he said. “We have Southern Guilford Friday and that is a game I think we can win. I believe we will be ready for them.”
Winless coming into the game with the Ledford girls, Northeast found themselves down a ton early. Thomas sizzled in the first quarter hitting her first three treys attempted. Callicutt and Leigh Ann Midkiff completed a 15-2 spurt with baskets that had the Rams tired and confused on the offensive end.
Dinah Neal played her heart out with 17 points in an attempt to keep the Rams close, but a wave of Ledford players kept coming at them and the lead continued to expand. Ledford’s offensive output slowed a bit in the second quarter as they scored only 10 points, but still managed to increase the lead by one. The first 13 points of the second half went to the Lady Panthers who opened up a 49-16 lead.
Ledford is now 11-3.