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Big lead gets away as Ledford falls

Ledford’s Brandon Rothrock drives in for a layup against Asheboro on Thursday night in Wallburg. (Photo by Mike Duprez/The Dispatch)

WALLBURG | Asheboro freshman Emmanuel Jones has had to adjust to playing on the perimeter after spending most of his middle school days in the post.

He got to return to his comfort zone Thursday night, and that was bad news for Ledford.

Jones proved to be a mismatch in the paint in the second half, and the Blue Comets stepped up their defensive pressure to rally for a 60-53 Mid-Piedmont Conference win in Wallburg. Jones finished with 18 points, most of which came from inside the lane, as the Comets erased a 24-7 deficit by slowly chipping away.

Ledford coach Jonathan Leonard was disappointed to see his team give away that lead, in a game he felt like the Panthers should have won. “They were getting easy layups, and we went through what we have been going through — droughts,” Leonard said. “We’ve just got to find that person who will step up and make a shot.

“And we’ve got to feed the ball down low as well.”

The Panthers were dominant early, and everything seemed to be going right. Asheboro couldn’t buy a bucket, and the Panthers used backdoor cuts and sharp outside shooting to build a big lead. Erik McSwain scored inside after Jonathan Turned tipped a rebound his way, giving the Panthers a 16-6 cushion early in the second quarter. Kevin Pressley then found Tyler Scott cutting backdoor for an easy layup, then Scott buried a 3-pointer from the corner. McSwain converted a three-point play with a drive to the bucket, and Ledford had a 24-7 margin.

From there, it was all Asheboro. Ben Robertson fed Devin Barrett in the lane for an easy basket, and that ignited a run that helped Asheboro get within 30-21 at the half.

The Comets kept attacking inside to start the second half, as Jones powered his way in for the first score of the third quarter. Christian Trogdon nailed a trey from the top of the key moments later, and Jones’ post move tied things up at 38-all with 1:00 left in the third. He then hit two free throws to give the Comets their first lead of the night, and the Panthers never recovered.

Asheboro kept Ledford at arm’s length throughout the final eight minutes, hitting just enough free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Dillon Pierce led the Panthers, who dipped to 0-4 in the MPC, 7-10 overall, with 13 points. Robertson and Quinn Foscue added 10 points apiece for the Comets, who improved to 3-2, 8-10.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or