KIRKWOOD — Dawson Algee was a one-man wrecking crew in the paint Thursday night.
The O'Fallon sophomore battered and bruised anything that flew in his general direction down low and controlled the pace of play at the rim and on the boards.
Algee played bigger than his listed height to help O'Fallon beat University City 71-61 in the semifinal round of the Denver Miller Tournament at Kirkwood High School.
"The last few games, he's just upped his game a lot and his intensity is really awesome," O'Fallon coach Brian Muniz said of Algee. "He controlled the boards tonight."
O'Fallon (14-3) will play Ladue (9-5) for the title at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. It's the first time the Panthers have played for the title since winning it in 2017.
Ladue defeated Eureka (10-4) 50-49 on a last-minute shot in the second semifinal.
All four placing games were originally scheduled for Friday but were moved due to the threat of inclement weather.
Algee made his presence felt early on. The 6-foot-3 power forward ripped down eight rebounds, five offensive boards in the first half alone.
"It's huge because people don't give us the recognition that we feel that we deserve," Algee said.
University City (6-6), which will meet the Wildcats in the third-place game at 1 p.m. Saturday, didn't have an answer for Algee on the boards.
"They were the more aggressive team. They were more aggressive on the rebounding end," University City coach Kelvin Lee said. "On the offensive end, they kept getting put backs. I kept seeing No. 30 (Algee). He was killing us on the glass."
Algee finished with a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
O'Fallon sophomore Caleb Burton keyed the offensive outburst with a game-high 17 points.
"The last few games, he's looking to score more because he's threat teams have to account for," Muniz said of Burton. "We don't have one big scorer who scores a bunch of points."
Burton emphasized that aggressive mindset as he slashed into the lane throughout the contest and finished with five assists to go along with his points.
"We were spreading them out and attack them," the sophomore said.
University City, meanwhile, shot 50 percent from the field (21-for-42) and were outrebounded 10-to-3 on the offensive glass.
"That was the tale of the tape," Lee said.
University City's Cameron Smith finished with 16 points.
The Panthers started sluggish, missing their first 11 shots and were held without a field goal for four minutes after staking an 8-0 lead in the first.
"We were doing the right things. We just had to stay with it and finish," Muniz said.
Through the final three quarters, O'Fallon made 20 of 36 field goals — including 5-for-12 from long range. An 11-2 run to open up the third quarter helped the Panthers extend the advantage and keep the Lions from getting within five points the rest of the way.