The turnaround to Fullerton’s season continued at the expense of Heartland Lutheran.

After starting out 2-10, the Warriors won for the fifth time in their last seven games, notching a 75-61 road victory over the Red Hornets on Saturday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Fullerton, which has only lost to undefeated Humphrey St. Francis and Class C-2 Centura since Jan. 9.

“Fullerton is definitely an improving team,” Heartland Lutheran coach Rick Rath said. “You could see that on film and we saw it again here tonight.”

Coach Richard Plumbtree said revising some roles and playing more aggressively has helped the Warriors (7-12) play at a higher level. The 75 points marked Fullerton’s second-best scoring output of the season.

“We started out the beginning of the year looking slow and we weren’t nearly as aggressive,” Plumbtree said. “We’re peaking really well right now. We’ve played a tough schedule … and we’ve played with about everybody.

“We were hoping that it was just a matter of time before we’d come around and play like we are now.”

Four players scored in double figures for the Warriors, led by Jeremiah Syslo’s 20 and Tyson Hellbusch’s 18. Senior post player Trevor Conway finished with a double-double (14 points and 14 rebounds), while fellow post Brent Wetovick had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Fullerton enjoyed a 44-29 rebounding advantage, including a 20-13 edge on the offensive glass. The Warriors converted eight of those offensive boards into putback scores.

“The kids are just doing a great job of getting position,” Plumbtree said. “They’re working hard to get on the inside and go straight up. We’re also doing a really good job of reading where the ball is coming from off the rim.

“I think we’re frustrating people with our offensive rebounding.”

Rath agreed, saying that Fullerton’s work on the offensive boards and Heartland Lutheran’s struggles at the free-throw line were the keys to the game. The Red Hornets suffered through an 8-of-23 performance at the line, including going 2 of 13 in the final 6:40.

“You can’t win ballgames shooting free throws like that, especially if you’re trying to come back,” Rath said. “If we just make some of those, we could’ve made it a three- or four-point ballgame with three or four minutes left and then we’ve got a chance.”

Jacob Simonson scored a game-high 22 points for Heartland Lutheran (13-7), including going 4 of 10 from 3-point range.

Devin Hueftle finished with 15 points and eight rebounds and Isaiah Zapata had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Hornets, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

Fullerton shot 51.7 percent (31 of 60) from the field on its way to scoring the most points Heartland Lutheran has allowed this season. The Red Hornets had held opponents to 47 points or fewer in eight of their last 10 games. A 64-30 loss to Riverside on Jan. 5 was the previous high for the most points Rath’s team had allowed.

“I’m happy with our 61,” Rath said. “It’s the 75 that I didn’t see coming. They just really kind of handed it to us tonight.”

The recent schedule and last week’s winter storm didn’t do Heartland Lutheran’s routine any favors. After playing six games in a 10-day span ending on Jan. 28, the Red Hornets had just one full practice in the eight days leading up to the Fullerton game.

“That could’ve been some part of it,” Rath said. “It wasn’t an ideal situation, but we’ve got to just move past this game and be ready for Palmer on Monday.”

Fullerton .................................. 12 23 15 25—75

Heartland Lutheran .................. 16 14 13 18—61

FULLERTON (7-12): Dubas 3-14 0-1 6, Hellbusch 7-12 4-7 18, Syslo 8-15 2-3 20, Wetovick 6-10 1-1 13, Conway 6-8 2-7 14, Robinson 1-1 1-3 4, Foland 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-60 10-22 75.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (13-7): Simonson 9-18 0-1 22, Warneke 2-5 5-7 9, Zapata 5-10 0-6 10, Staehr 1-4 0-2 2, D.Hueftle 6-10 3-5 15, Splattstoesser 0-2 0-0 0, B.Hueftle 0-2 0-0 0, Probasco 1-3 0-2 3. Totals 24-54 8-23 61.

3-point goals—Fullerton 3-10 (Robinson 1-1, Dubas 0-3, Hellbusch 0-1, Syslo 2-5), HL 5-17 (Simonson 4-10, B.Hueftle 0-1, Staehr 0-3, Probasco 1-3). Fouled out—Dubas, Simonson. Rebounds—Fullerton 44 (Conway 14), HL 29 (Zapata 11). Assists—Fullerton 17 (Hellbusch 6), HL 10 (Staehr 4). Turnovers—Fullerton 17, HL 16. Total fouls—Fullerton 20, HL 19. Technicals—None. A—NA.

Girls: Fullerton 67, Heartland Lutheran 31

Class D-1 No. 3-rated Fullerton didn’t show any signs of having a letdown in Saturday afternoon’s 67-31 road victory over Heartland Lutheran.

Even after beating the Red Hornets 70-35 back on Jan. 18 in Goldenrod Conference Tournament play, the Warriors maintained their intensity throughout against the Red Hornets.

Fullerton extended its lead to 60-20 with 6:58 to play, triggering a running clock for the remainder of the game due to a 40-point mercy rule.

“That was our challenge to our girls, especially in the second half, to make sure we came out with intensity,” Fullerton coach Stacy Kramer said. “When you go into subdistricts, you want to make sure that you can play four intense quarters, so that was our challenge in the second half.

“We challenged them to get to the running clock to motivate them. That was our goal.”

Macy Peregrine (17 points and 10 rebounds), Ashley Frenzen (17 points and four assists) and 6-foot-3 junior post player Halle Plumbtree (14 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots) led Fullerton (20-1). The Warriors outrebounded Heartland Lutheran 43-26 and passed well, finishing with 20 assists, led by Cheyenne Ostrander’s five.

“We have a very unselfish team,” Kramer said. “With these girls, probably the No. 1 thing they have is that we have great chemistry and they’re unselfish. They don’t care who the leading scorer is as long as they get the win.”

Emily Wiegert scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Red Hornets (11-9). Heartland Lutheran shot 23.1 percent (12 of 52) from the floor, including going 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from 3-point range.

Fullerton .................................. 19 15 22 11—67

Heartland Lutheran .................. 4 8 6 13—31

FULLERTON (20-1): Ostrander 3-7 1-3 7, Peregrine 7-13 3-4 17, Frenzen 6-14 3-4 17, Plumbtree 5-10 4-4 14, Herman 2-3 0-0 4, Cunningham 1-4 1-2 3, Swertzic 1-1 0-0 2, Voichahoske 1-2 1-1 3, Warner 0-0 0-0 0, Nathan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-54 13-18 67.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (11-9): Schmitt 0-9 0-0 0, Bader 4-9 0-0 8, E.Wiegert 5-18 0-0 12, Zehendner 1-9 0-0 3, S.Niemeier 0-1 0-0 0, K.Wiegert 2-4 0-0 6, E.Niemeier 0-2 0-0 0, Bluschke 0-0 0-0 0, Bockmann 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 12-52 2-2 31.

3-point goals—Fullerton 2-8 (Ostrander 0-3, Frenzen 2-5), HL 5-24 (K.Wiegert 2-4, Schmitt 0-6, Bader 0-1, E.Wiegert 2-7, Zehendner 1-6). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Fullerton 43 (Peregrine 10), HL 26 (E.Wiegert 6, Zehendner 6). Assists—Fullerton 20 (Ostrander 5), HL 7 (Schmitt 4). Turnovers—Fullerton 13, HL 18. Total fouls—Fullerton 4, HL 15. Technicals—None. A—NA.

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