Prep Hoops: Panthers light up Blue Comets
Ledford's boys basketball team can be extremely dangerous when the outside shot is falling.
Asheboro found themselves in the red zone all night long against the Panthers, who hit 10 first half 3-pointers en route to a 85-64, Mid-Piedmont Conference win. Brandon Rothrock led the assault with a game-high 29 points – 23 of them coming in a blistering first half that had LHS in command at the half up 48-18.
Head coach Jonathan Leonard had concerns with it being exam week, but his club responded with one of the best first half performances in years for Panther basketball.
“I felt like we were the best prepared this week,” he said. “Exam week you always worry about kids leaving and then coming back, but we had four good practices and a great walk-through today. It is a big win. We have not beaten Asheboro in basketball in a long time. We had them scouted really well and our preparation was great.”
Apparently the Blue Comets did not get the scouting report to guard the perimeter. It was raining 3s in the first half and many of them were flying through the cylinder.
Asheboro scored the first five points, but it was a short-lived lead because the 3-point parade was about to begin with Rothrock as the grand marshal.
He hit both of his first attempts and Brandon Gammons added another, putting LHS out front 9-7. Jake Hall tied it up with a layup, but the Comets went the final 3:43 without another point. Ledford made good use of the time, reeling off the final 13 points to take a 22-9 edge after one quarter.
It got much worse in the second quarter as AHS began to lose focus. Rothrock buried another 3-pointer with 2:30 left that made it 38-18. The Asheboro bench was hit with a technical foul, as Rothrock went to the line to sink the free tosses. Getting the ball back after the free throws, Rothrock connected once again from deep, making it an 8-point trip down the floor for the Panthers. They would lead by 30 at the half.
“Athlete to athlete I felt like they could out athlete us, but when our offense is moving and we are getting open looks, we can knock some shots down,” said Leonard. “Defensively I loved what we did. Our goal is to hold teams to 10 points or below each quarter. First half we did that.”
Ledford moves into a three-way tie for the top spot in the MPC at 4-1 with North Forsyth and Northern Guilford. With the way the Panthers are playing right now, they are serious contenders for the regular season top spot.
“I told them we need to separate ourselves,” said Leonard. “Right now we are in the upper three and we need to separate ourselves from everybody else. As long as they keep working we can stay there.”
Ledford (11-6) got 17 additional points each from Skylar McGee and John Sullivan.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.