Kristian Fulton is usually making clutch plays for Rummel on the football field.
But on Thursday night, Fulton — who had 10 interceptions last season for the Raiders football team — made several key plays down the stretch to help Rummel (18-7, 5-2 District 9-5A) secure a 36-32 win at Holy Cross in a Catholic League matchup on Thursday night.
“Tonight, we came out and played really hard,” Fulton said. “We just had to come out and make plays, and I just knew I had to make plays to help the team.”
Holy Cross (9-15, 1-4) fought back from a double-digit deficit at halftime and had the ball with a little over a minute left and a 30-28 lead. Rummel guard Caleb Burks stole the ball and missed a layup, but Fulton came flying in to rebound the miss and turned it into a three-point play that gave Rummel a 31-30 lead.
Two possessions later, Holy Cross had an opportunity to inbound the ball with a two-point deficit, but Fulton showed off some of those cornerback skills, intercepting the inbounds pass and getting fouled. He made one of his two free throws to extend the Rummel lead to 35-32.
Holy Cross guard Xavian McKay had a chance to tie the game on a last-second 3-point attempt but came up short.
Fulton finished with 10 points and five rebounds, while Burks added 10 points and seven rebounds.
“Our kids have been steady all year,” Rummel coach Troy Holley said. “They’re a steady group, they’re an intelligent group, and they are one of the (most fun) groups I’ve ever got to coach.”
In the third quarter, Holy Cross started to get more defensive stops and fought their way back. After Adam Karrigan put in a hook shot on the first possession of to open the half, the Raiders didn’t make another field goal the rest of the quarter.
With the Raiders struggling to put points on the board, Holy Cross slowly crept back in with a quarter-ending 8-2 run that cut their deficit to 25-19 and gave the Tigers confidence that they could get back in the game.
McKay led the Tigers with 10 points but struggled with his shot, going 5-of-15 from the field.
“They made some good adjustments at halftime, and we just came out flat,” Fulton said. “We know we can’t do that, because when we play good teams they are going to come back if we have the lead. We just have to keep our intensity up.”
Holley said he was especially proud of his team’s effort, considering they were only two days removed from a 73-41 loss at the hands of Brother Martin on Tuesday night.
“We were very disappointed after that game,” Holley said. “Obviously, we didn’t play our best, but they played an outstanding game that night. We didn’t play as tough as we wanted to, and they showed that tonight. They could’ve given in, but we really fought back, and I’m really proud of our effort.”
In a low scoring first half, the Tigers struggled to find any kind of offensive rhythm. They only made 4 of 19 shots from the field and didn’t make it to double digits until forward Larenz James’ putback layup with under two minutes left in the second quarter.
Rummel entered halftime with a 21-11 lead.