Down by as many as six points late in the fourth quarter, Fultondale mounted a frenetic 13-0 run in the last two minutes of the game as they defeated host Corner 59-50 in the first round of the JefCoEd Small Schools Basketball Tournament on Tuesday.
The lead seesawed back and forth for most of the first three quarters, but the Yellow Jackets started to find their shooting stroke in the final period, and were up 44-38 on a Dillon McCaleb basket with six minutes to play.
That's when Wildcats coach David Reed implored his squad to turn up the defensive pressure, and they did — with positive results.
Derrick Houston's bucket at the two-minute mark started the Cats run, putting them ahead by one point and forcing the Jackets to foul to get the ball back.
Fultondale took advantage of those fouls, going 8-of-8 at the free throw line in the final minute. The Wildcats also took advantage of steals and Corner turnovers near mid-court, converting most into points.
"When we decide to play defense, we're pretty good," Reed said. "When we reach and miss and give them lay-ups, we're not good. That's what we did last time against them."
(Corner beat Fultondale by two points the week before.)
Houston finished with 16 points to lead the visitors, with 10 of those scored in the last four minutes of the game. He was a perfect 8-of-8 at the foul line, with six of those in the Cats' late run.
Brandon Mahan and Asa Williams added 14 points each. Williams also had five steals, three of them during the final run.
Chase Best led the Jackets with 11 points. McCaleb scored nine and grabbed nine rebounds. Robby Harpman also added nine points.
Corner (8-12) will face Mortimer Jordan in the third-place game Friday at 5 p.m., while Fultondale (13-3) goes for the championship against Oak Grove at 8.