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Late Push Propels Ladue over St. Charles: Advances to first ever Championship

Jeremy Loftin came up big again for the Rams as he hit a 3 pointer to put Ladue up by 6 points with 3 minutes to go in a game where neither team could pull away from each other. Ladue will now play in their first ever championship game at the MICDS Holiday Tournament.

The Rams started well early by scoring on the first possession of the game and getting out to a quick 6-2 lead. Then came St. Charles with Chase Morfeld, Casey Teson, and Luke Joslin getting in on the act. The Pirates leveled the score and then took the lead at the buzzer thanks to a Joslin put back to take a 12-11 lead.

The 2nd quarter was even, while no team could get too far ahead, actually both could barley stay front of each other. The Rams and Pirates biggest leads were equally at 3 and just when you thought one would finally push forward, the other would respond on the next possession. 

Ladue for the most part slightly outplayed St. Charles during that span. The Rams played good defense yet again getting 9 steals and causing 15 turnovers. On offense however, they committed 13 turnovers which is a season high for the Rams. They made 4 of 17 3 point attempts (23%). Ladue created a lot of good looks for the shooters. On defense the Rams made St. Charles work for good looks all night. The Pirates shot blanks from behind arc by missing all 8 of their attempts.

The third quarter was more of the same as neither team could budge in front. Both teams did good jobs of getting the ball inside to their big men. Off and on the shooting would start to show then fade away.

The Ladue guards were not as accurate and crisp in the past two games, but they did drive St. Charles crazy with their speed. Johnston and Connor Spirtas usually blew by their defenders to set up a scoring opportunity.

Casey Teson, who was coming off of an ankle injury was not 100% and had difficulty making jump shots all night with a defender in his face. Still he got 11 points on the night. The main threat for the Pirates was guard, Chase Morfeld. He gave Ladue problems in the 2nd half driving into the lane by dishing the ball to a forward or pulled up and shot the ball.

The Rams had a little edge going into the 4th quarter with a 38-35 lead. The game was still back and forth until Jeremy Loftin hit yet another clutch shot. Ladue had a long possession that went on for almost a minute until Johnston found Loftin wide open in the corner. He did not think twice about not shooting it, even though he was 0 for 2 up to that point in the game. Loftin buried his shot to put the Rams up by 6, which was the largest lead of the game.

As soon as Lofting hit the shot, the Ladue defense felt a huge breath of fresh air. The whole game they had to hold off the Pirates from either tying the game, taking the lead, or expanding it. Now they had a 2 possession lead.

The lead would hold out the rest of the way when Cornell Johnston got the ball on the next possession. He not only took a bunch of time off the clock, he put on a show while doing it.

St. Charles had to come up with a steal so they had to double team who ever had the ball. Whenever Johnston had possession he would allow himself to be trapped, then look around to see if anybody was wide open, if not then he easily broke the trap by effortlessly dribbling through a thin window of space away from the defenders. Johnston was on his horse for over a minute with 2 or 3 Pirates right on his tail. Whenever he passed the ball he would get it back in a couple of seconds.

After what seemed like a whole quarter, the St. Charles forwards had to way in on the pressure, but as soon as they did, Johnston broke free of another trap and dished the ball off to a wide open Andrew Maddock down low for an easy 2 points.

Despite the many lead changes and ties, Ladue eased through the last 2 minutes of the game to a 57-50 victory and claimed the schools first ever championship game birth in their history in the MICDS Holiday Tournament.

Andrew Maddock led the Rams in scoring again with 17 points. He also had a season high of 15 rebounds on the night. The other big men Jon Collins and Nahom Assefa had quiet nights with 2 points each. Collins had 3 rebounds while Assefa had 2.

Cornell Johnston finished with 10 points and 6 assists. So far he is a perfect 16-16 from the foul line in the tournament. He also finished with the most dribbles individually.

Jeremy Loftin has certainly stepped up his game the last couple of times out. He had 9 points with 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Jerrid Cosby has gotten more opportunities to express his game lately and he has taken advantage of that. He finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal.

And finally Connor Spirtas picked up 6 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. He has picked up a habit of almost fouling out of games because he plays tight on ball defense. He is one of the better glue players in the area thus far.

The vaunted Duchesne Pioneers is what stands in the way of Ladue's first ever MICDS Holiday Tournament Championship. It will be a classic 1 vs 2 matchup as the Pioneers are the #1 seed. They are undefeated at 5-0 and are led the by point guard Sam Briscoe with the dynamic duo of 6'6" Drew Moore and 6'7" Ryan Tune. They also have an arsenal of role players that can produce double figures in points.

Win or lose it will be a turning point for the Rams. They will have a good idea of where they stand for better or worse.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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