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48 Hours: This isn't a CBS crime show, it's the Norm Stewart Classic

The California Pintos will play Mexico at 4:00 Sunday morning at the Norm Stewart Classic. (Tony Mullen/KRCG13)

CALIFORNIA, Mo. --- Coaches and athletes are creatures of habit, they crave routine.

Workout times. Practice times. Game times. Lucky socks.

The normal high school games start around 7 or 7:30 p.m., so when a game is scheduled for 4 o'clock, the routine is thrown out of whack.

Especially when it's 4 o'clock ... A.M.

"This is a first for me," said first-year California Pintos head coach Ron Lebel, whose team will play the Mexico Bulldogs in the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College,

And they'll do it in the always-glamorous 4 a.m. Sunday time slot, Game 18 of 24 of this gaudy 48 straight hours of basketball that starts at 6 p.m. Friday and concludes at 6 p.m. Sunday.

"I've never even played anything in the a.m.," Lebel continued. "My wife said to me: 'Midnight wouldn't be too bad, because some people are up at midnight. Or maybe even 6 or 7 o'clock, because some people are up then. But nobody's up at 4 a.m.'"

Lebel, 47, has been a high school basketball coach for 22 years, the previous four at Montgomery County where he led the Wildcats to a splendid 27-3 campaign and a trip to the Class 3 quarterfinals last season.

His teams have played in plenty of tournaments, where games can start at 4 p.m. or 10 p.m. But nothing like this.

"I've been asking a lot of people how we even go about it," Lebel said. "Do we go to bed at 7 or 8 Saturday night, or do we literally try to stay up all night? Everyone's different, I don't really know the best way to go about it."

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