CALIFORNIA — Fulton senior forward John Adams finished with 15 points and the fifth-seeded Hornets outlasted the No. 4 Warrensburg Tigers in a 50-48 first-round win at the 86th-annual California Tournament on Tuesday night.
Fulton (5-5) owned an 8-6 advantage after one quarter and took an 18-16 edge into halftime. The Hornets outscored Warrensburg 14-10 in the third quarter to push their lead to 32-26 and were able to hold off the Tigers down the stretch.
Freshman forward Josh Reams added nine points for Fulton and senior forward Tyler Sayler contributed eight.
"The guys continue to win ugly and keep grinding and grinding and grinding," Hornets head coach Justin Gilmore said. "Warrensburg has some big, strong kids and we continued to go out there and battle.
"Defensively, we shut down the middle and made everything come from deep. Nothing came easy for them, but nothing came easy for us. Possessions were super-long."
Brooks Baldwin topped the Tigers with a game-high 16 points and Eli Nappe followed with 14.
Fulton advances to a rematch against the top-seeded Southern Boone Eagles in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday. Southern Boone buried No. 8 seed Eldon 62-29 in first-round play Tuesday.
The Hornets will be seeking to avenge a 63-44 home loss to the Eagles on Jan. 8.
"The guys are up for it — they wanted them when they saw them on our side of the bracket," Gilmore said. "Defensively, we gave up the middle too much last time. They're guard-oriented and they're all quick.
"We can't give up the middle and we have to handle their pressure."