The Fulton Hornets wanted to make a statement.
Did they ever.
The Hornets put a sloppy first quarter behind them to beat Rock Bridge 63-45 on Monday night at Rock Bridge high.
Fulton, which has won 13 of it’s last 15, relied on stifling defense and accurate 3-point shooting from Krystle Peterson.
“Before the game, we knew she was the shooter and we knew we had to stay on her and for some reason we just didn’t,” Rock Bridge coach Bob Plourde said. “If you leave her open, she is going to make you pay.”
Peterson shot 6-of-7 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points.
“I just shot and didn’t think about how many points I was making,” she said. “I was just playing the game for the team.”
While the Hornets offense was clicking, the defense was just as good for it allowed six points in the second and nine in the fourth. The Hornets played a suffocating man-to-man defense and forced the Bruins into an offensive doldrums. Rock Bridge had trouble finding the open player and only took six shots in the second quarter. The Hornets outscored the Bruins 20-6 in the quarter.
“That second quarter was tough,” Plourde said. “I’m more dissapointed in our offensive production because we had the inside people.
Even more impressive was Fulton’s half-court press. Rock Bridge had difficulty inbounding the ball and when it did, had an even more difficult time pushing the ball upcourt. The press caused 11 turnovers and led to several open layups.
“Our full court pressure was the key,” Helsel said. “Sometimes we get it together and sometimes we don’t. It just clicked tonight and they communicated well.”
Plourde agreed and said the problem is because of a Bruins deficiency.
“We’re not a good ball handling club and that is because of our lack of a point guard,” he said.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 9-4 lead thanks to baskets from Ashley Guy, Amanda Hanson, and Melissa White, who led the Bruins with 10 points. Rock Bridge began to fall apart, though, after Guy let the ball slip through her fingers and bounce out of bounds. Fulton responded by scoring seven of the next nine points to cut the lead to 12-11. Rock Bridge’s Rachel Jones stopped the run when she stole the ball and went the length of the court before being fouled with under one second left. She converted one of the two free throws and the Bruins ended the quarter leading 15-11.
This early letdown didn’t surprise Helsel.
“I was a little pessimistic early on just because of the attitude of the girls,” she said. “Records are very deceiving and we were lax. We walked in thinking that we had won a couple more games than they had. Luckily, it didn’t take us more time to get focused.”
Helsel played for Plourde in 1987 and led the Bruins to the state tournament.
“She brings a winning attitude and demands a lot of them,” he said.
The Hornets’ TJ Quick handed out seven assists, scored five points and had two steals.
Plourde knows that the Bruins don’t have much time left to turn their season around.
“We have little to no confidence and we’re just spiraling and can’t seem to stop it,” he said. “Right now our season is a season of pride. It’s been a very long year for (me) and for them as well.”