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Hornets use fast start to reach California semifinals

An outburst at the outset helped put the Fulton Hornets back on track.

No. 2 seed Fulton outscored No. 7 Knob Noster 21-7 in the first quarter Wednesday night, stopping a three-game losing streak in the process with a 55-41 first-round win at the 77th-annual California Tournament.

Playing at California Middle School, the Hornets (7-4) extended their lead to 33-16 at halftime and were up 45-28 going into the fourth quarter.

Senior guard Anthony Porter provided 16 points to pace Fulton, which lost to Knob Noster by a point in double-overtime in last year’s championship at California. Senior guard Jermaine Gray also contributed 11 points Wednesday night.

“Our defensive intensity and transition basketball was where we wanted it to be,” assistant coach Tom Arms said of the Hornets’ fast start.

Chase O’Brien delivered 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to guide Knob Noster.

Fulton will face either No. 3 Southern Boone or No. 6 Eldon in the semifinals at 9 tonight. The game will be played at California High School.

Eldon............................................52

Fulton basketball (VG).................40

CALIFORNIA — The No. 5 seed Lady Hornets were outscored by the No. 4 Lady Mustangs 21-12 in the first half of Wednesday night’s first-round loss at the 17th-annual California Tournament.

Eldon owned a narrow 10-8 lead after one quarter at California Middle School, but then outscored Fulton 11-4 in the second quarter. The Lady Hornets trailed 34-27 to start the fourth quarter.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Fulton head coach Jenny Preiss said. “We weren’t aggressive and didn’t attack their zone (defense); we let them dictate what we did.

“We need to put four quarters together and stop having those lapses.”

Senior forward Meghan Davis was 6-of-8 from the field and finished with 14 points to direct the Lady Hornets (5-6), who also bowed to Eldon 49-42 on Dec. 21 at Fulton. Sophomore guard Bailey Mitchell added nine points Wednesday night and junior guard Corri Hamilton scored eight before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Three players reached double figures for the Lady Mustangs.

The Lady Hornets will meet either top-seeded Moberly — ranked No. 2 in Class 4 — or No. 7 seed Kansas City Central in the consolation semifinals at 4:30 this afternoon at California Middle School.

South Callaway Tournament

to finally get started today

MOKANE — After yet another weather postponement Wednesday night, the South Callaway Tournament will finally get underway today with all girls’ and boys’ first-round games.

The girls’ bracket will open the tournament, starting with a pair of contests at 4:30 p.m. Top-seeded Harrisburg — ranked No. 2 in Class 2 — clashes with No. 8 South Callaway at the high school and No. 2 Hermann faces No. 7 Montgomery County at the middle school.

Then at 6, No. 3 Russellville goes up against No. 6 North Callaway at the middle school and No. 4 New Haven and No. 5 New Bloomfield meet at the high school.

The boys’ bracket then kicks off with two games at 7:30. No. 1 New Haven — ranked No. 8 in Class 2 — plays No. 8 Montgomery County at the high school and No. 3 Harrisburg faces No. 6 North Callaway at the middle school.

The tournament’s first night then concludes with two matchups at 9. No. 2 Hermann meets No. 7 Russellville at the middle school while No. 4 New Bloomfield battles No. 5 South Callaway at the high school.

All winner’s-bracket and consolation semifinals will be played Friday, followed by the championship, third-, fifth- and seventh-place games Saturday.

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