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Hornets impressive in wins
over IVC South co-champions
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The Malvern Hornets, the Inter-Valley Conference North Champions, knocked off both the co-champions of the IVC last week.
The Hornets found themselves in a situation they are not familiar with Feb. 7 when the team traveled to Sugarcreek to take on the co-champion of the South Division, the Garaway Pirates: battling through overtime for a 61-58 win.
Feb. 11, the Hornets faced the other half of the IVC South champions – the Sandy Valley Cardinals – in the IVC showcase at Claymont High School, earning a 64-51 victory.
Against Garaway, the once-beaten Hornets couldn’t shake off the Pirates, who stayed within striking distance and then rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 48-48 and force overtime.
Malvern won the overtime period 13-10 and the IVC contest 61-58. Garaway and Sandy Valley share the IVC South title.
The hosts led 15-9 after the first period and Malvern led 27-26 at halftime. Malvern pulled ahead 39-34 at the end of the third quarter only to have Garaway come back to tie the game at the final buzzer.
“It was a great night for the boys last night,” commented Malvern Coach Dennis Tucci. “They played with so much spirit and competitive fire. Our crowd was also a big factor in us getting that big win on the road!”
Mitch Minor was on target from beyond the 3-point arc, connecting on five shots and led the winners with 19 points. He also grabbed six rebounds. J’Allen Barrino added 17 points and Rodney Smith 13. Malvern shot 57 percent from the field (21-37) and 61 percent from the foul line (14-23).
Alexander Roden led a trio of Pirates in double figures with 15 points. Logan Yoder added 14 and Jenson Garger added 12. The hosts shot 50 percent from the field (23-46) and 63 percent from the charity stripe (7-11). The team also won the battle for rebounds 24-21.
The Hornets trailed 16-15 after the first quarter in the IVC showcase but pulled ahead 34-26. Both teams put 16 points on the board in the third quarter. Malvern outscored the Cardinals 14-9 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Three Hornets scored in double figures: J’Allen Barrino 18, Minor 15 and Dylan Phillips 14.
The winners shot 60 percent from the field (21-35) and sank 15 of 21 charity tosses for 71 percent.
Jordan Wigfield led Sandy Valley with 17. Dantae Faiello added 15 and Nick Petro 12 for the Cards, who shot 59 percent from the field (20-34) and 46 percent 6-13) from the foul line.
Malvern held a 21-17 advantage on the boards with Minor grabbing seven. Petro pulled down six for Sandy Valley. The winners committed six turnovers, half of the 12 committed by the Cards.
“It was a fantastic week for the Hornets!” Tucci said. “I am truly so proud of my guys. They have answered every challenge put in front of them. Their passion and desire has been on full display all year, but they actually turned it up to another level this week. We beat two very good teams.”
Malvern improved to 20-1 with the win. The team’s only loss came at the hands of Maysville, the No. 1 seed in the Division II East 2 sectional/district tournament.
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