The crazed Ladue student cheering section knew “it” was coming. They counted “it” down like the launch of a space ship at the Cape in Florida.
The “it” was junior point guard Cornell Johnson getting his 1,000 point in a Rams basketball suit.
The “it” came with 6:00 left in the game when Johnson drove the middle and tossed in a little floater from 15 feet out. The crowd roared with approval. Coach Chad Anderson called time out and hugged his top scoring performer.
But Johnston and Anderson will be glad to tell you Ladue basketball is a team game. “We were glad to get this over. We’re really happy he could get that 1,000th point at home,” said his coach.
Actually, Ladue has had 5 or 6 players reached that hallowed 1,000 career point mark.
The Rams stuffed visiting Affton on Chili Supper night 80-58, raising the lofty record to 18-4. The visiting Cougars did not go down without a fight. They lead early and held a scant 17-13 lead in the first quarter. But by half, the Rams struggled back for a 36-28 intermission lead.
Even though Johnston poured through 20 points, and rugged forward Andrew Maddock had 18 points and 16 rebounds, Anderson clearly says there’s room for improvement. “Our guys have to continue to trust each other and play off each other and continue focusing on the process not the outcome,” said Anderson.
Good for Ladue, different guys step up and contribute on different nights. “We’ve had that all year. Jeremy Loftin came off the bench and added 8 points. Adehkeem Brown and John Collins got into the scoring act, and fiery guard Connor Spirtas had 12 big points.
On this night, Anderson had special praise for Johnston.
“Ever since he’s come to Ladue, he’s had a huge impact on our program. He’s a leader and a competitor and very unselfish and makes the team and the program better and he makes the program go.”
Maddock was OK with his own performance, but felt “overall, our team could have played a lot better.”
“There was a little hype surrounding the game and we thought we would win pretty handily. We struggled through the first three quarters, but showed in the fourth quarter what a good team we are,” said Maddock.
Affton coach Mike Fitzgerald had some frustrating moments. He was slapped with a technical in the waning minutes of the game. His junior twin guards Reid and Kohl Siebert shot well from the field. Reid had 18 points and Kohl 11.
Halid Abera had 13 for the Cougars who dropped to 13-9.