By Steve Williams

It’s only January. February Frenzy and March Madness are still a good ways off, but both Fulton senior point guard Markese Sheely and veteran head coach Jody Wright felt their Jan. 17 game against Webb School had a tournament feel to it.

“We had a lot of fun playing in this game tonight,” said Sheely, who made the winning shot in overtime as the Falcons edged visiting Webb School 68-65. “It felt like a big game. It kind of felt like a region semifinal game.”

Coach Wright said the opponents, Ricky Norris’ Spartans, were what made it feel like a tournament game to him.

“Webb is such a well-coached team,” said Wright, who guided Fulton to the Class AA state title last season in Murfreesboro. “They’re athletic and they do so many things well.

“It had a tournament feel to it in that they made you pay for mistakes. That usually happens in the tournament when you’re up against a really good team. If we missed a rotation or had a bad close-out, they made us pay.”

The hard-earned victory lifted Fulton, which is ranked No. 3 in the state, to 12-2. Webb fell to 8-9.

Sheely led the Falcons with 26 points, including four 3-point shots. Post J’Coryan Anderson added 10 points, senior Donovan Filer and Edward Lacy eight each and Trey Davis seven.

Fulton made eight 3-point shots, but Sheely’s game-winner from the left corner took top prize. It erased the one-point lead Webb took with 41 seconds remaining.

“I got a good look at it,” said Sheely.

“Markese had a good night,” added Coach Wright. “He has been shooting the ball well lately. And he is the guy we wanted to let ’er rip there late.”

Webb got 28 points from Chase Ridenour, 25 from Myles Rasnick and nine from Emory Lanier.

The contest featured a big run by each team in regulation play.

Fulton fell behind 14-5 before slicing the deficit to 14-12 at the end of first quarter. Josh Berry’s 3-point corner shot gave the Falcons a 17-14 lead and capped a 12-point run.

Fulton expanded its advantage to 28-17 and was ahead 33-23 when Webb went on a 16-point run that resulted in a 39-33 advantage in the third period.

The Spartans led by one (44-43) after three stops and the game stayed close the rest of the way.

Rasnick sank two clutch free throws with 15.9 seconds left to tie game at 56-all and Sheely missed a shot at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

With three seconds to go, Webb had the ball side front court, but Ridenour missed a potential-tying 3-point shot.

Wright felt the key to the win was “our ability to get stops in the last couple of minutes.”

Two senior post players for Fulton – Cumecus Cates and Chaton Mobley – have been sidelined with injuries, but Cates may be returning to action this week and Mobley, who had knee surgery after being injured late in the football season, may be able to begin practice.

“Right now we’ve got to get some guys back healthy,” said Wright. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that we’re playing.

“There’s a lot out there left for this bunch in terms of improvement and learning how to compete every day in practice. I don’t think this team has even come close to reaching its potential. I think they have a chance to be good if they get some things figured out.”

Fulton notched its 13th win by defeating West 66-53 Thursday. The Falcons’ two losses came against Cleveland in a doubleheader at Johnson City in mid-Decemeber and at Maryville in the finals of its holiday tournament.