Fulton boys basketball loses at Kirksville

KIRKSVILLE -- The Fulton Hornets dropped the season series to the Kirksville Tigers, falling 71-55 in a North Central Missouri Conference game Friday at Kirksville High School.

Kirksville led 20-9 after one quarter, 43-32 at halftime and 48-44 through three quarters.

Rowdy Gohring was the lone Hornet to score double figures, notching 24 points, while Gabe DeFily and Paul Bruner had nine.

The Tigers' Justin McKim recorded a game-high 34 points, and Gavin Pike had nine.

Fulton dropped to 6-17 overall and 3-4 in the NCMC, and Kirksville improved to 13-7 overall and 6-2 in the NCMC.

"I thought we really played a solid game for the most part," Fulton boys basketball coach Justin Gilmore said. "We struggled a bit early on stopping them defensively, but we really did a nice job defensively in the second half. We cut the lead to 48-47 in the fourth quarter but just couldn't get the stops we needed late. We did a solid job on the glass. Rowdy led us with seven rebounds, but really, the whole team did a nice job boxing out.

"We took care of the ball, we only had 10 turnovers, and shot it well 38 percent from 3 on the night, Rowdy had five 3s, Ethan Milius had two. Ethan and Paul gave us a boost offensively tonight. Thomas Pittman led us in assists and did a great job of finding guys. Miles gave us a defensive boost and added three boards. Gabe was great attacking the rim all night.

"And Justin and Ethan did a great job defending the much bigger post players from Kirksville. It's not the outcome we wanted, but there really was a lot of positives, and I thought we played a pretty good game. We just have to continue working on the defensive end and try to get stops when we need them. Kirksville is a very good team, and we were right there with them in the fourth. Our guys have really made a turn here in the last few weeks, and it's the right time of the year we want to be playing our best."

Fulton ( heads back home for its most significant regular season game left, hosting Highway 54 rival Mexico (21-2, 7-0 NCMC), ranked eighth in Class 4, at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Fulton High School. In their first meeting this season, the Bulldogs beat the Hornets 85-49 on Jan. 2 in Mexico.