Hornets sunk by second quarter in Moberly loss

Seated behind the scorer’s table that separated his bench from Tuesday night’s opponent — the Moberly Spartans — Fulton Hornets head coach Marques Baldwin whipped out an Apple iPad and prepared to comment and make sense of the game he had just coached.

After a pause to take heed of what he was about to say, Baldwin let his team’s statistics speak for him.

“When you go 13-for-56 from the field, you’ll lose most nights,” Baldwin said. “We were 5-for-21 from 3-point range, which is 23 percent, 2-of-9 from the free-throw line, which is 22 percent.

“That about sums it up right there.”

That kind of quantitative data tells you all you need to know about the Hornets’ night, which ended in a 62-33 North Central Missouri Conference shellacking by the Spartans at Roger D. Davis Gymnasium.

The loss was the eighth in the last 12 games for Fulton (10-10, 5-6 NCMC) and the second straight in conference play.

The Spartans (15-8. 6-4 NCMC) took the season series against the Hornets, having won previously in Moberly by a much more competitive 58-50 overtime outcome on Jan. 7.

And whatever back-and-forth play that existed between the two teams from their last meeting went south for the rest of the winter as soon as the buzzer sounded with Moberly on top 17-16 after one quarter Tuesday night.

The conference opponents traded baskets in the first 58 seconds of the second quarter, with Hornets senior forward Blake Calvin hitting a layup to pull Fulton within 19-18 with 7 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first half. It was after that basket that the game ceased to be competitive and turned into an exercise in futility for the Hornets.

Moberly scored the last 20 points of the half, rendering Fulton scoreless from the field and hitting 12-of-14 free throws. In the meantime, the Hornets couldn’t even muster an attempt from the stripe.

“We just had a lack of intensity and missed shots,” Baldwin said. “We took a lot of 3-point shots, which we don’t do, and when we got the ball inside we didn’t finish and that’s about it.”

Senior guard Anthony Porter led Fulton with 11 points, while the Spartans countered with five players in double figures — paced by 15 points from junior guard Cory Briggs. Sophomore Rashaun Briggs had 13 points in the paint as Moberly did what it wanted on the inside and outside.

Meanwhile, the Hornets ended the night with just as many turnovers (13) as they did field goals.

“We couldn’t find a touch,” sophomore guard Deon Galbreath said. “Everything seemed to be dropping for them and nothing for us, and it wasn’t our night.”

Moberly got a lot of its work done from the line, where the Spartans attempted 26 free throws to just nine for Fulton. Galbreath and senior guard Jermaine Gray both fouled out, just two of the Hornets who came out on the short end of many calls by the officials.

“I think some of the calls were on the referees, but we can’t blame it on them because we should have picked up our play,” said Galbreath, who finished with just four points.

That’s the stance Baldwin found himself taking — wishing that his players scrapped a little more in hopes of getting the benefit of the doubt from the refs.

“Typically in basketball, the team that is more aggressive and that’s stronger normally gets more calls than the weaker team,” Baldwin added. “We played like the weaker team and it showed in us not getting any calls.”

The Hornets will finish the regular season with two teams from just up Highway 54. They travel to North Callaway at 7:30 tonight in a game that was added to fill out the schedule, and then they’ll end things Friday night hosting the Mexico Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 in Class 4.

“They have to let it go and get it out of their minds,” Baldwin said. “That’s part of playing at this time of the year that’s good that you have a lot of quick turnarounds.”

The Hornets’ junior varsity team downed Moberly Tuesday night 43-26. Fulton (13-2) got 15 points from junior forward Jake Nickelson and 11 from junior guard Austin Moore. They’ll finish up their regular season at home against Mexico at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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