The Fulton Hornets owned the paint in a pair of weekend games and it paid dividends in the win column.
Senior forwards Jake Nickelson and Nick Seelinger scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, in vaulting Fulton to a 72-48 decimation of the Bowling Green Bobcats at Roger D. Davis Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Nickelson's point total was a season-high for the 6-foot-4 post player. Seelinger, a double-digit scorer in seven straight games, pulled down 11 rebounds to record his third double-double of the season.
The Hornets won their third straight due in large part to a concerted effort to get back to the post game.
"A lot of the work we did in practice this week was getting the ball to our big guys inside," Fulton head coach Marques Baldwin said. "We worked on it a lot and they did a good job of taking what they did in practice and applying it to the game."
Senior point guard Austin Moore also had a double-double Saturday, scoring 12 points to go along with 10 assists.
Moore was one of four Fulton players in double figures in the Hornets' 59-50 North Central Missouri Conference road win against Kirksville on Friday night.
"(He) is really starting to understand being a good point guard," Baldwin said of Moore. "When it's time to go and when it's time to pull back and run our offense a little and having him understand that is really helping us develop as a team."
Seelinger led Fulton with 20 points Friday night and Nickelson had 11 as the Hornets resisted a second-half rally by the Tigers. Senior guard Burke Echelmeier scored three of his 14 points at the end of the third quarter with a shot from beyond the arc to push the Fulton lead to 39-29.
"It was a really big shot by a senior who was willing to step up and hit one for us," Baldwin said.
The Hornets (5-2) travel to Eldon for a district tournament preview against the Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Hornets wrestlers sweep
way through Spartan Duals
MOBERLY - Fulton wrestling coach Eric Hudson was much more content.
Hudson was not exactly thrilled after Fulton was forced to rally for a 36-34 North Central Missouri Conference dual victory at Marshall last Wednesday night.
However, the Hornets responded with sharp performances Friday and Saturday at the Spartan Duals, securing wins in all seven of their duals. Fulton also had four wrestlers go unbeaten during the two days of competition.
"We had a much better effort than last Wednesday night," Hudson said. "We looked crisp; we were a lot more decisive and did things with more of a purpose. We had a plan."
The Hornets opened competition Friday with dual wins over Affton (48-22), Owensville (40-39), St. James (40-39), and John Burroughs (60-24). Fulton followed up by sweeping its three duals on Saturday, defeating Chillicothe (42-21), Winfield (48-29), and Warrenton (45-20).
Posting 7-0 marks for the Hornets were junior Cody Pae at 126 pounds, senior Zack McClure at 145, junior Kelcey Nunley at 152 and sophomore Paul Books at 195. Sophomore John Kingsley also went 6-1 at 182 pounds, while sophomore Derick Coffelt was 5-2 at 285.
Going 4-3 for Fulton were sophomore Jared Keiser at 113 pounds, junior Brian Dennison at 160, and freshmen Noah Braun and Austin Anderson at 138 and 170, respectively.
"I was pleased with the kids' efforts and results," Hudson said. "I saw some of the things that we worked on in practice Thursday."
The Hornets return to action at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, when they host NCMC foe Hannibal at Roger D. Davis Gymnasium.
North Callaway basketball (V/B)...36
ELDON - The Thunderbirds were unable to rally from a 39-17 halftime deficit in Friday night's loss to the Mustangs.
Senior forward Jared Graves finished with a team-high eight points for North Callaway (3-4), which dropped its third game in a row. Senior guard Zach Lavy added seven points and led the Thunderbirds with seven rebounds.
"We made some good moves on offense and got some good shots, but we just didn't finish," North Callaway head coach Tim Turlington said.
Zack Shreve tallied a game-high 19 points - including five 3-pointers - to guide three players in double figures for Eldon (6-1). Ryan Kliethermes supplied 14 points and Brad Dinwittie had 10.
The Thunderbirds' junior varsity suffered its first loss of the season, bowing to the Mustangs 49-43. Sophomore guard Chance Kee led North Callaway (3-1) with 13 points and sophomore forward Brett Metcalf chipped in with 10.
North Callaway travels to Van-Far for a girls-boys' varsity doubleheader at 6 p.m. Monday.
South Callaway basketball (V/G)...29
HARRISBURG - South Callaway was overwhelmed by top-ranked Harrisburg's harassing defensive pressure in Friday night's MMC matchup between Lady Bulldogs.
Harrisburg jumped out to a 12-2 lead after one quarter and had pushed its advantage to 34-7 by halftime. Harrisburg is ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 2 state poll by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and MOsports.
"We're not mature enough at this time to handle defensive pressure against a really good team such as Harrisburg," South Callaway head coach Jim Donnelly said. "They play tremendous defense.
"They took us out of our offense and pushed us back near the halfcourt line."
Sophomore guard Taylor Howard was a bright spot for South Callaway, producing a game-high 18 points.
"Taylor really battled out there for us," Donnelly said. "She kept grinding away."
Friday night's loss was the third straight for South Callaway, which slipped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Mid-Missouri Conference.
"Harrisburg kind of put it to us, but we'll learn from it," Donnelly said. "We'll continue to plug away."
Chelsey Krose topped Harrisburg with 15 points, followed by Haley Heuer with 11.
South Callaway played at Calvary Lutheran on Saturday. Results were not available at press time.
Heck, Evansville to play
at Mizzou on Monday night
Samantha Heck will soon be back on a mid-Missouri basketball court.
Heck - a 2009 North Callaway graduate - and the University of Evansville Lady Aces visit the University of Missouri on Monday night. Tipoff is at 7 at Mizzou Arena.
A 6-foot-2 junior forward, Heck leads Evansville in scoring this season at 11.6 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding with a 6.0 average.
The Lady Aces are 4-7 on the season after a 78-69 loss Friday night at the University of Tennessee-Martin, in which Heck scored a career-high 20 points.
Missouri is 9-1 overall, coming off a 69-52 win over North Dakota on Dec. 10 at Mizzou Arena.
Heck was a four-time all-state selection at North Callaway, including a first-team pick three times. She scored more than 2,000 points with the Ladybirds, collected 1,200 rebounds and handed out almost 500 assists.