Starting early hasn't bothered the Ladue boys basketball team one bit at the 2012 MICDS Holiday Invitational Tournament.
The Rams have played the opening game on both days at the MICDS, and both times have delivered superb performances to advance to the tourney semifinals.
On Wednesday, it was senior Austin DaGue who led the way for Ladue, with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocked shots in a 54-38 win over St. Charles.
The Rams were playing without junior forward Andrew Maddock, who suffered a knee injury at a team practice on Sunday.
Head coach Chad Anderson said he wasn't sure how bad the injury was, but that he thought it was safer to hold Maddock out of Wednesday's game until the 6'7 forward could be examined by a doctor.
After the game, Maddock was overheard telling friends he his knee "wasn't that bad", and that he hoped to be able to play in Ladue's next game, which is set for 6:15 p.m. on Friday, when the Rams will face Duchesne High, for the right to advance to the MICDS Tournament championship game on Saturday.
And even though Maddock is a key member of Ladue's lineup that averages 10 points and eight rebounds a game, the Rams didn't need him against St. Charles, mostly because DaGue controlled all the space near the basket.
He was especially huge in the second half, scoring 10 of his game-high 17 points, including a thunderous two-handed jam on a break set up by a steal by teammate Cornell Johnston.
The Ladue point guard, who continues to rank near the area's best in assists, had 10 more dimes on Wednesday, along with 13 points and five steals, as the Rams pulled away from the Pirates in the final three quarters.
For St. Charles, sophomore scoring whiz Casey Teson led the way with 16 points.
The Pirates will play Lutheran North in the consolation semifinals on Friday afternoon.
Score by Quarters ........... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final Score
St. Charles ...................... 8 .. 10 . 12 .. 8 -- 38
Ladue ............................. 13 . 15 . 15 . 11 -- 54
St. Charles -- Casey Teson 16, Chase Morfeld 9, Steve Howard 5, Luke Joslin 5, Corey Whiteside 3.
Ladue -- Austin DaGue 17, Cornell Johnston 13, Jeremy Loftin 9, Jordan Cosby 7, Adehkeem Brown 6, Jon Collins 2.