Senior Night ceremonies are usually momentous occasions for all outgoing prep basketball players. Zach Ledbetter of Bowdon High School delivered an even more special showing — for a variety of reasons.
Suiting up for the final home game of his career versus rival Mount Zion last Friday, Ledbetter crossed the 1,000-point career milestone while delivering a 38-point performance to lift his team to an 81-78 victory.
"Scoring 1,000 points was always one of my main goals in high school," Ledbetter said on Twitter after the game. "Thank you to all my teammates, coaches and trainers for helping me get there and the fans for the endless support!"
The combination of the scoring achievement and three-point victory to close the regular season was a much-needed boost for the senior guard and his teammates after a brutal run through the month of January.
The Red Devils got mired in an 11-game losing streak during that stretch of the season, most games seeing them coming up just short in the fourth quarter against quality opponents.
Reflecting on Senior Night before practice on Monday, Ledbetter was more happy to help get his team back into the win column than he was at notching the individual accomplishment.
"It was a really great night and I'm really glad that we won," Ledbetter said. "I'd trade the 1,000 points for more wins throughout the season so we could make it to the playoffs, but it was still a great night."
Ledbetter's senior campaign had the potential of not even happening after he was life-flighted to Atlanta after a head injury suffered in the team's Dec. 1 game versus Rockmart that left him unconscious. But after receiving staples in his head and fully recovering from a concussion, the Red Devil guard was back out on the court ready to go.
"I'm extremely proud of him. Of course, having missed a couple of games when he got hurt earlier in the year put the 1,000 points into question, but he finished the season strong," Bowdon head coach David Bramble said. "I don't think I've ever had a kid that works so hard. Whether it's the offseason or in the season, he's always working on his game and always in the gym. He really deserves it."
And that hard work has led to the guard becoming an even more polished player for his senior campaign and a first-team all-region performer in 6-A this season, which includes a slew of Division I recruits from the private school sector.
With his player being described as a "skilled lead guard who can impact the game in a variety of ways" by Chad Hixon of the PRO Movement Basketball recruiting service, Bramble can attest to the skills that has made Ledbetter such a threat on the court.
"His leadership, ball-handling skills and being able to adapt to defenses has improved a lot this year," Bramble said. "In previous years, he was always a second or third scoring option whereas this year, most of the defenses have been focused directly on him because they know what he can do. I'd say what he's picked up the most on is knowing how to get everybody where they're supposed to be."
Ledbetter cites patience on the court as being the one of the attributes that he's improved upon this season, as well as his leadership on the court. Leading the charge for the Red and Black is an experience that he will never forget.
"It's been a really fun and a great experience helping lead this team for my senior year and I wouldn't trade it for anything else," Ledbetter said.