North’s balance too much for Ledford's boys

North Davidson's Nick Bryan takes a shot against Ledford's Jonathan Turner on Friday night. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

WELCOME | Ledford’s Skylar McGee was practically an unstoppable force Friday night and Brandon Rothrock was an excellent sidekick.

But North Davidson had strength in numbers.

Brandon Easter scored 19 points, Caleb Moore had 18 and Q Cunningham 16 as the streaking Black Knights outgunned Ledford 80-70 before a large, enthusiastic crowd at Pete Jones Gym.

Six different players scored at least six points as the Knights won their sixth consecutive game to improve to 10-5.

“We’ve been balanced the last five or six games, very balanced,” said North coach Sammy Staten. “We shared the ball well. They’re starting to jell a little bit.”

McGee poured in 33 points and Rothrock added 25. Hunter Jones scored 12 points. But that was it. No one else scored for the Panthers, who saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end. Ledford is now 10-6 for the season.

“We played as individuals the whole game,” said Ledford coach Jonathan Leonard. “At the end when we told them to drive and kick out, they kept playing as individuals. We started the game bad, had turnovers. Defensively, we were not there the whole night, let them score 80 points. It was not a good game.”

It sure was for the Knights.

The 6-foot-6 Easter and the 6-foot-3 Moore dominated in the paint. Cunningham drove to the rim and was 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Brandon McCray scored eight points filling in for the injured Cameron Easter at point guard while Josh Thomas and Jordan Santana each had six points.

Ledford only led once at 5-4 on a three-point play by Rothrock, but the Panthers were able to keep it close in what amounted to a halfcourt-type of game. The Panthers used a 7-0 run to pull even at 33-33 midway through the second quarter. But Easter’s short jumper started North’s 11-0 run in reply and the Knights never trailed again.

Thomas hit a floater to give North a 49-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Then the teams played a frenetic, NBA-style pace with each scoring 31 points in the fourth quarter. North’s lead ballooned to 16 points with 2:51 left but the Panthers cut that in half in less than 90 seconds with the help of two 3-pointers by Rothrock.

But the Panthers couldn’t get any closer.

“I was proud of them,” Staten said. “We knew, we knew it was going to be tough trying to guard them. They’re good at what they do. I wouldn’t want to play them again. I’ll tell you that.”