New-look Panthers aim high

Nov. 18, 2012 @ 08:23 PM


Attitude is everything for the new-look Ledford High School boys basketball team.
Head coach Jonathan Leonard is preaching that to his players.
After losing a handful of players to graduation, his Panthers are young and lack size, but that isn’t stopping Leonard from having a positive outlook on the 2012-2013 season.
“If we do the right things and keep a good attitude, good things will happen,” Leonard said.
Last season Ledford finished 7-18 overall, and was eliminated from the second round of the Mid-Piedmont conference tournament. This season the Panthers hope to reach double-digit wins while being competitive in the conference.
“We will sometimes be outsized but our guys work extremely hard and can make up for the size disadvantage.” Leonard said.
One of those players is senior forward Anthony Hughes. Though he stands short of six feet, Hughes is a multi-dimensional player who can score from many areas of the floor. The Panthers will rely on him to pick up the slack due to the team’s lack of size.
“He’s the biggest little man I’ve ever seen play. He’s one of those ‘trash guys’ who can hit the floor and get you a loose ball. No one will work harder than Anthony and I hope the rest of the team can latch on to his work ethic.” Leonard said.
The Panthers have a large sophomore class (five) and all expected to see significant playing time – one being Brandon Rothrock.
“Brandon is a good perimeter player who can score the ball many different ways,” Leonard said.
Other key returners include Erik McSwain, Kevin Presley, and Skylar McGee. McGee, a 6-foot-3 sophomore will assume the role as the starting post player.
The Panthers feel its team has improved with the addition of new players such as Matt Walker, Dylan Jones, and Dillon Pence. The team scrimmaged on November 13 playing well in certain areas.
“You always hear the term, defense wins championships. Well we are working very hard on defense right now in practice. We want to get this program to be a successful program,” Leonard said, who is coaching in his third year at Ledford.
The Panthers kick off their season at North Davidson on November 27 and will begin conference play on January 11.