The Hannibal boys’ basketball team earned a much-needed win Friday night when the Pirates beat North Central Missouri Conference foe Fulton 49-34 on the road.
Hannibal coach Matt Pugh was pleased with how his team’s defense performed in the game.

“We played very well defensively by holding them to only 34 points,” Pugh said.

Hannibal took early control of the game by outscoring the Hornets 18-8 in the opening eight minutes of play. Hannibal hit three treys during the first eight minutes with Mitch Nichols knocking down two of them while Eric Hugenberg hit the other.

“The first quarter set a great tone for us,” Pugh said. “We really did a tremendous job on the defensive glass limiting them to just one shot. I thought the defensive glass and us limiting our turnovers down the stretch were huge.”

Fulton battled back in the second quarter and almost matched the Pirates point for point. But, in the end, it was Hannibal outscoring the Hornets 12-11 extend its lead.

The Pirates went into the break leading 30-19.

When play picked back up in the third quarter, both teams were locked in a scoring rut as Fulton matched Hannibal with an identical 7 points each. That enabled the Pirates to maintain their 11 point lead over Fulton heading into the final quarter of play.

During the final eight minutes, Hannibal again was able to get out ahead of Fulton as the Pirates outscored the Hornets 12-8.

Hugenberg tied for the game-high and led the Pirates with 17 points. Dylan Powell also turned in double figures, scoring 11 points for the Pirates.

“(Hugenberg) shot the ball well,” Pugh said. “He had a pretty quiet 17 points. The team played really well as a whole.”

Lijan Harrison chipped in 8 points for Hannibal, all of them coming in the second half.

With the win, Hannibal improves to 7-17 on the season. The Pirates will play their regualr season finale on Tuesday when Hannibal travels to Mexico to face another NCMC opponent.

“(Hopefully) this gives us a burst of confidence that we desperately need,” Pugh said.