By Jim Powers
After not being able to play due to COVID-19 protocols last year, the MICDS Holiday Invitational returns with a new name and a field that features many of the top teams in the St. Louis metro area. The classic starts Thursday with eight games on the opening day schedule.
The new name of the tournament is the Don Maurer Invitational. Maurer started the holiday tournament many years ago when he was the school’s athletic director. After leaving MICDS, Maurer was hired as an Assistant Executive Director at the Missouri High School Activities Association for three years before retiring this past June.
All proceeds from the tournament go to Special Olympics with the highlight of the classic being the kids from the West County Special Olympics teams playing an exhibition game between the two semifinal games on Dec. 29 at 7:15 p.m.
For the first time in tournament history, the host school grabbed the top seed in the classic. The Rams enter play with a 5-1 record that includes wins over St. Mary’s and Ft. Zumwalt South. Brandon Mitchell-Day paces MICDS by averaging 17 points per game while averaging nine rebounds per contest. Marcus Coleman is another player to watch as he is averaging 12 points a game and a pair of steals in each game this season.
Whitfield enters the holiday classic as the second seed with a 6-2 mark with their only two losses coming to Westminster and state ranked Cardinal Ritter. Travis Green III leads a balanced offensive attack with 12 points a game while Nolan Simon checks in with 11.8 points a game.
GAC power Francis Howell is the third seed with a 4-3 record in the early season. Gabe James is the leader of the Vikings scoring 15.6 points a game and has added 18 triples on the year. Booker Simmons is adding 11.7 points per contest while grabbing nearly five boards a game.
Ladue comes into the classic as the No. 4 seed with a 5-1 mark as the Rams are coming off a victory over Ft. Zumwalt West last week in the GAC/Suburban Shootout. Jack Steinbach paces the Vikings with a 16 point- per-game average while dishing out nearly seven assists per game. Jackson Freeman adds 11 points per game and has hit 16 threes on the young season.
Kirkwood enters the classic as the fifth seed with Ft. Zumwalt North checked in as the sixth seed. St. Mary’s and Liberty round out the top eight seeds in the tournament that wraps up with the championship being held December 30 at 7:30 p.m.