Malvern knocks off Barnesville, will face Martins Ferry in district title game Friday

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Drake Hutchison scores a layup during the district semifinal against Barnesville.

The Malvern Hornets earned a spot in the Division III East District boys district championship game with a 66-50 win over Barnesville March 5 at Edison High School.

Malvern will face the No. 3 seed, Martins Ferry, Friday (March 8) at 7 p.m.

Malvern conceded the first five points of the game to the Shamrocks. After knotting the score at 5-5 midway through the period, Malvern gave up the lead once more at 11-10 on a 3-pointer by Asa Geilinger at the 3:02 mark of the period.

The Hornets then found the mojo that has been their secret ingredient all season and pulled away for the win.

Coach Dennis Tucci’s team found success inside with seniors Mitch Minor and J’Allen Barrino to build a 16-11 lead after the first period. Barrino scored a game-high 21 points with Minor adding 17, most of which came from the inside. Both players sank one 3-point shot. Barrino reached the 1,000-point benchmark of his high school career during the contest. Teammate Dylan Phillips, connected on two 3-pointers.

Malvern, the home team on the scoreboard, held the Shamrocks to just six points during a 14-2 run early in the second period that led to a 36-17 lead at intermission.

Both teams scored 16 points in the third period and Barnesville edged to within 15 points at the final buzzer by winning the fourth period 17-14.

Malvern shot 56 percent from the field (27-48) and 62 percent from the foul line (8-13) while Barnesville connected on 22 of 47 shots from the field (47percent) and sank one of four foul shots.

The winners held a 26-20 edge on the boards, led by Minor with eight rebounds and forced 18 turnovers while committing nine themselves.

Two Shamrocks reached double figures, Duker Costello with 17 points (three 3-pointers) and Geilinger 13.   

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