CALIFORNIA — The No. 6 seed Hornets outscored the No. 7 Pintos 27-21 in the third quarter and held on for a wild win in the consolation semifinals of the 85th-annual California Tournament on Thursday night.
Fulton (7-5) stopping a two-game losing streak — trailed 23-15 after one quarter, but outscored California 20-15 in the second quarter to close the gap to 38-35 at halftime. The Hornets then rode their strong third quarter to go in front of the Pintos 62-59.
Fulton turned away California by edging the Pintos 30-28 in an entertaining fourth quarter.
"This game was an up-and-down track meet from the start," Hornets head coach Justin Gilmore said. "California pressed us all game long and our guys buckled down and did a good job of handling their pressure.
"This is the first time we've faced a team that pushes the tempo like California does and our guys really answered their energy and got the job done."
Senior guard Anthony Paine — who made 8-of-14 shots and 9-of-11 free throws — connected for 25 points to direct four players in double figures for Fulton, which shot 64 percent (37-of-58) from the field.
Junior forward Tyler Sayler (10-of-11) also delivered 22 points for the Hornets, senior guard AJ Reid (8-of-13) tallied 18 and senior guard Taeon Logan (6-of-7) supplied 16.
Sayler pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, Paine grabbed eight and Reid collected seven. Paine also passed out nine assists.
"Anthony Paine had a big game for us — he was dominant in almost all facets of the game, but we couldn't have done it without contributions from all of our guys," Gilmore said. "Our scoring was pretty much spread evenly and we had several guys with a bunch of rebounds.
"They really focused in on the task of winning in a game we really needed."
Trystan Hees answered with a game-high 34 points to pace three players in double figures for California. Isaac Ash added 29 points and Jordan Geiser finished with 17.
Fulton was scheduled to play No. 5 seed St. Elizabeth for fifth place Friday night, but it was postponed because of the snowstorm. A makeup date has not been announced.
St. Elizabeth advanced with a 62-44 victory over No. 8 seed Eldon in the other consolation semifinal Thursday night.
Fulton is scheduled to travel to Eldon for a nonconference tripleheader at 5 p.m. Monday.