By Rob Tetro
The Fulton boys’ varsity basketball team saw a first-quarter lead turn into a deficit headed into halftime of its Jan. 14 game against county foe Mexico.
At halftime, Fulton coach Matt Kimpland issued a challenge to his team. He wanted the players take its defensive play up a notch or two while bringing the tempo of the game to a level at which they could succeed.
Challenge met. The Red Raiders played their best defense of the season during the third quarter, keeping Mexico off the scoreboard en route to a 61-49 win.
Fulton got off to a decent start, jumping out to a 5-point lead in the first quarter. Mexico stormed in the second, outscoring the Red Raiders by 12 points to take a 36-29 lead into halftime.
But after the pep talk from Kimpland, the second half belonged to Fulton. Led by its stifling full court press, the Red Raiders shut out Mexico, 11-0 during the third quarter to take a 4-point lead. Fulton put the game out of reach during the fourth quarter, outscoring Mexico by 8 points to come away with the 12-point win.
Leading the way for Mexico was Colin Warrington with 15 points, followed by Justin Marsden and Jacob Cleveland with 10 points each. Jake DeLosh chipped in 8 points and Caleb Wallis and Dan Martinez-Pascual added 3 points each for The Tigers.
Fulton was led by Chris Jones with 21. Jones notched his fourth straight double-double and was 4 blocks shy of a triple-double.
Following Jones was Cody Green with 17 points. Josh Hudson played his best game of the season, Kimpland said, with 4 rebounds, only 1 turnover and 10 points.
Mark Pollock added 4 points. Jeremy Langdon and Dallas Bradley chipped in 3 points each.
Kimpland credits team member Joe Cummins with managing the game and keeping the offense moving. Kimpland also credits Brian Hudson for his effort against Mexico. He said his team’s recent success appears to be a result of accountability and execution.
“All 10 guys are beginning to take ownership of their roles and doing their jobs to help the team win.”, Kimpland said.
Kimpland said his team’s effort against Mexico was a telling one. He points out the officials called a very tight game, which resulted in a little foul trouble for the Red Raiders during the first half. By halftime, Fulton had 5 players with at least 2 fouls.
Despite the first-half foul trouble, Fulton was able to get productive minutes from five other players.
“All 10 guys that were dressed played in the first half,” he said, “which shows that there is some good depth on this team.”