The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 28, 2013

Late free throws lift Fulton

Steamers improve to 10-2

By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor

LANARK, Ill. — Once Zach Barber's teammates got in the act, the Fulton Steamers got the advantage on Warren.

At the end, though, Barber came through again and provided the winning points.

Barber, who scored Fulton's first 17 points, scored his 25th and 26th points from the free-throw line with 2.1 seconds remaining Friday afternoon, giving the Steamers a 58-56 victory against the Warriors at the Eastland Holiday Tournament in boys basketball.

"Those are the types of situations I like," Barber, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, said. "I like to shoot in the clutch with the game on the line."

Barber was fouled as he drove the left side coming out of a timeout with 12 seconds remaining.

"We were setting up a screen-and-roll to see what we could do off that," Barber said.

What they did was won their 10th game in 12 outings. But, it was anything but easy.

Early, Barber was the only one who could score for either team. He made a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes, but his six points matched the turnover total for the two teams. Then, Warren heated up and built a 23-12 lead over Barber (aka Fulton) after one quarter. Well into the second quarter it was Warren 25, Barber 17, before another Fulton player finally scored.

"It was nice that he was hitting shots, but it would be nice if others were hitting, too," first-year Fulton coach RJ Coffey said. "To Warren's credit, they played hard, and it took us a while to adjust."

Warren didn't score again before the half, and Jake Willging made a pair of free throws and Matt Dail made two field goals — one a 3-pointer — as the Steamers pulled within 25-24 at the half.

"Dail started stepping up, and Jake hit the and-one, and got us back on track," Barber said.

"We felt good because we didn't play a good half of ball," Barber said.

"That's huge," Dail, a 6-5 senior forward, said. "We were down seven or eight, and cutting it down to one takes their momentum away."

Dail was just heating up. He buried three 3-pointers in the third quarter, helping Fulton build a 43-40 lead.

"After the first two I hit, then I was a lot more comfortable I was going to get open," said Dail, who finished with 22 points, matching Barber with six 3-pointers for the game. "My teammates get credit for that — they were getting me open looks."

Dail buried another 3-pointer and a 15-footer from the right side, and Barber hit one from the top of the key, pushing Fulton's lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter.

Warren eventually pulled within 53-48, but another 3-pointer from Dail gave Fulton a 56-48 lead with 2:49 left.

But, the Steamers had trouble closing out the win.

Kullin Harris, who led Warren with 25 points, stuck in back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the gap to two, then Jason Heller tied the game at 56 with two free throws with 1:03 left.

Fulton decided to play for a final shot, running the clock down to 12 seconds and taking a timeout. Then the Steamers put the ball in Barber's hands.

"We got the ball to Z, our playmaker, and he made the play," Coffey said.

"It's awesome," Dail said of the win. "We already have four more wins than last year. Especially for the seniors it means a lot."

Fulton finished 2-1 for second place in Pool B. The Steamers will take on Pool A champion Eastland at 2:30 p.m. today in the tournament semifinals.

Cougars top Prophets

LANARK, Ill. — Prophetstown crept back and got within 32-27 but was unable to get any closer as host Eastland defeated the Prophets 45-33 on Friday night.

Dalton Shaner scored Eastland's first 11 points, helping the Cougars to a 13-9 lead after one quarter. Eastland pushed its advantage to 25-13 at halftime. Shaner led all scorers with 27 points.

Ethan Howard scored 13 to lead the Prophets.

In Friday's other games, Amboy defeated Annawan 53-50 and Polo defeated Pearl City 74-61.

FULTON 58, WARREN 56

WARREN — Devin Pax 2 2-2 6, Kullin Harris 10 2-3 25, Kendall Cox 3 2-2 10, Colton Janssen 2 2-2 6, Jason Heller 2 2-2 8, Ryen Crum 0 0-0 0, Keegan Kent 0 0-0 0, Gavin Leverton 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 10-11 56.

FULTON (10-2) — Matt Dail 8 0-0 22, Kody Crosthwaite 0 0-0 0, Seth Sanderson 1 0-0 2, Jason Osborn 0 0-0 0, Zach Barber 8 4-4 26, Kyle Huebner 1 2-2 4, Paul Velasco 1 0-0 2, Jake Willging 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 8-8 58.

Warren     23     2     15     16     —     56

Fulton     12     12     19     15     —     58

3-point goals — Warren 8 (Harris 4, Cox 2, Heller 2); Fulton 12 (Barber 6. Dail 6). Total fouls — Warren 10, Fulton 12. Fouled out — None.

EASTLAND 45, PROPHETSTOWN 33

EASTLAND — Dalton Shaner 9 5-6 27, Devin Hartman 0 0-0 0, Marshall Fink 0 0-0 0, Skylar Paulson 0 2-4 2, Blake Janssen 1 2-5 4, Eric Schaney 3 0-0 6, Valdet Seferi 0 0-0 0, Tyler McLain 0 0-0 0, Josh Hayag 0 0-0 0, Jacob Reuscher 0 0-0 0, Brighton Haverland 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 9-14 45.

PROPHETSTOWN — Austin Meadows 1 0-0 2, Ethan Howard 5 2-2 13, Seth Cady 3 0-0 7, Daniel Shirley 0 0-0 0, Chris Bauer 2 1-2 5, Josh Paul 0 2-2 2, Tyler VanDeWostine 0 0-0 0, Matt Jones 0 0-0 0, Justin Stees 0 0-0 0, Austin Gerlach 0 1-1 1, Josh Sigel 1 1-2 3. Totals 12 7-9 33.

Eastland     13     12     7     13     —     45

Prophetstown     9     4     12     8     —     33

3-point goals — Eastland 4 (Shaner 4), Prophetstown 2 (Howard, Cady). Total fouls — Eastland 13, Prophetstown 16. Fouled out — Janssen.