Boys basketball: Carson’s comeback bid fizzles
By Carlton Hurt
The Lexington Dispatch
WALLBURG — Perhaps Jonathan Leonard paid his sharp-shooting Ledford boys’ basketball team the ultimate compliment following a 71-53 win over Carson in the first round of the 3A state playoffs Friday night.
After having not played in 14 days due to multiple ice and snow storms that struck the area and having a win-or-else scenario starring it in the face in its first game back, Leonard wasn’t the least bit worried.
“It didn’t surprise me with the veteran group we have,” Leonard said. “This group shoots on their own and they know what’s at stake. It surprises me when we miss.”
The Panthers showed little rust from the layoff and proved their coach right by overwhelming the Cougars, particularly in the second quarter, to build a big halftime lead and advance onward intoSaturday’s second round.
Ledford opened the second quarter on an amazing 19-2 spurt, highlighted by a trio of 3-pointers by Brock Braddy and a pair from Hunter Jones. By the time Braddy sank his fourth trey with just less than two minutes to play before intermission, the lead swelled to 40-19.
The Cougars (10-15) were simply in too big of a hole to mount a serious charge in the final two quarters. Carson did show plenty of grit after halftime and had success with finding lanes to penetrate into the teeth of Ledford’s defense. Jamarious Houston’s basket early in the fourth brought Carson within 56-48.
But from there, the Panthers (22-5) went almost exclusively to Skylar McGee, who finished with a game-high 24 points on a variety of moves inside, as well as some baskets from the perimeter.
“They just shoot it so well,” said Carson coach Brian Perry. “We were really focused on 23 (Brandon Rothrock) and 50 (McGee). But then 25 (Braddy) comes in there and drains ’em. Those (3-pointers) knocked us back so bad.
“We ended up getting it to 10 and then eight with about four and half minutes left. We at least had a chance there to make it interesting.”
Marquez McCain led Carson with 18 points and Houston added 14. The Cougars were the fifth seed out of the South Piedmont Conference.
LEDFORD 71, CARSON 53
CARSON (53) — McCain 18, Houston 14, Raper 9, Westbrook 7, Hogue 5, Mills, Collins, Bearden, Whichen, Prugh, Williams.
LEDFORD (71) — McGee 24, Braddy 14, Rothrock 11, Jones 8, Sullivan 6, Gammons 4, O’Toole 2, Ingram 2, Scott.
Carson 13 8 19 13 — 53
Ledford 18 24 14 15 — 71
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