This article was written by the late Andy Easton featured in Gillespie Area News in 2002, contributed to TheBenGilPost.com by Steve Joyce at the Gillespie Public Library
Fullerton “Fully” Fulton was an outstanding football and basketball player for the orange and black from 1930-1933. Fulton was the first “big man” to play for Gillespie. As a 6’5” center, Fulton played in an era where you had a center jump after each made basket. This gave Gillespie an advantage due to Fully’s height. During his three years on the varsity, Gillespie posted a record of 70-14.
During the 1930-31 season, we lost the County Championship to Chesterfield 25-24 and then lost to the same Chesterfield team 17-11 in the district tournament.
The 1931-32 team has the distinction of being our first Macoupin County Championship team. Gillespie ended the season with a 23-4 record and three of the losses came at the hands of Carlinville. In the county championship, we got some revenge against Carlinville as we won the championship 28-11. However, they won the home and home series as well as beating us 17-14 in the district tournament.
Fulton led Gillespie to a fourth-place finish in the state tournament during the 1932-33 season. This team is one of the most successful in our school’s history as they posted a 29-4 record. We lost to Carlinville and Virden upset us in the finals of the county tournament 25-20. We came back to defeat both Carlinville and Virden twice during the season. The “31-32” team was our first South Central Conference Championship team.
Gillespie won the district tournament and then captured the Salem Sectional Championship by defeating Greenville 48-34, East St. Louis 18-15, and a hard-fought 29-28 victory over a tough Centralia team. In the championship, Fulton scored 20 of our 29 points.
At the State Tournament, we defeated Decatur Lakeview 25-23 and then lost a heart breaker to Springfield 17-14. The third-place game turned into a blowout as Benton won 36-18. The fourth-place finish is the highest in Gillespie basketball history. In addition to Fully Fulton, other basketball players on the teams of 1930-33 are as follows: Walter Rademacker, Hank Wirball, Sam Bender, Joe Baxter, Ralph Fellin, John Keith, Oren Laughlin, Frank Manning, Sam Peradotti and Bob Tippins.