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Malvern upsets Hiland in district final

By Bob Evans
Sports Editor

Malvern boys basketballl
Steubenville Catholic Central had no answer for Malvern’s Mitch Loomis (32) as the Hornet player recorded a triple double in the district semifinal game. Trey Tucci (at left) led Malvern in scoring with 18 and went over 1,000 points for his career during the game.

It only took one play to change the momentum of the Malvern and Steubenville Catholic Central Division IV district semifinal last Wednesday night at Meadowbrook High School.

The Hornets’ 6-foot-7 center, Mitch Loomis, blocked a Central shot, which was picked up by senior teammate Trey Tucci near halfcourt. Tucci gave it a mighty heave and banked it in just as the buzzer was going off to end the third quarter, bringing the large Malvern crowd to their feet.

That was all the Hornets needed as they went on to defeat the Crusaders 56-43.

The Crusaders had no answer for Loomis in the middle. Loomis recorded a triple double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocked shots – seven in the second half. He also caused many Crusader shots to be altered.

Tucci led the Hornets with 18 points. Earlier in the game Tucci hit another long range three-pointer that put him over the 1,000-point mark for his high school career.

Senior Mitch Haasz added 10 points, freshman Jaret Majestic finished with eight points and junior Collen Thomas six points – four coming in the first quarter when the Hornets were struggling to find their shooting range.

Malvern was 23-of-52 from the field and 8-of-13 from the line.

The Hornets led 11-8 after the opening quarter, 26-24 at halftime and 47-42 going into the final frame.

For the Crusaders, senior Ryan Fletcher scored a game-high 19 points, including five three-pointers. He kept the Crusaders in the game in the first half as he scored 16 points, but the Hornet defense limited him to just three second-half points.

Seniors Michael Manfresca and Brenton Colabella each added seven points.

Central hit 17-of-54 action shots and was 3-of-6 from the charity stripe.

Last Saturday afternoon, the Hornets went up against Inter-Valley Conference archrival Hiland in the district final.

The Hawks had defeated the Hornets in their two previous meetings during the regular season by over 20 points each time and were riding a 14-game winning streak against the Hornets, including five district championship games.

But, you know what they say, “it’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season.”

How true. The Hornets jumped out to a quick lead - by as many as 17 at one point - then held off a furious comeback by the Hawks for a 62-59 win and the district championship.

Malvern was to play Richmond Heights Tuesday night in the regional semifinal at the Canton Field House.

The win improved the Hornets season record to 20-6.

Malvern led 21-8 after the first quarter, 34-19 at the break and 49-38 going into exciting final eight minute of play.

Hiland outscored the Hornets 21-13 in the fourth quarter in which every player left it all on the floor.

Loomis led the Hornets with a huge 25 points and 10 boards, while Tucci added 13, 11 in the first half.

Majestic may have been the key in the wild fourth quarter. The freshman point guard broke the Hiland press, grabbed many loose balls and hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute. He finished with 13 points for the Hornets.

Malvern was 19-of-46 from the field and 20-of-27 from the line. They grabbed 28 rebounds and turned the ball over 14 times.

The Hawks, who were ranked at No. 3 in the final Associated Press Poll, end their season at 20-3.

Senior Todd Ropp recorded a double-double for Hiland with 22 points and 11 boards, while Collin Blochlinger added 13 points and Brennan Coil nine.

Shooting, Hiland hit 20-of-64 action shots and 15-of-17 free throws. They had 28 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

Malvern led 21-8 after the first quarter and 34-19 at the intermission.

In the third quarter, the Hawks found their range from the floor and the line, scoring 19 points. The also went 10-of-10 from the line to cut the Malvern lead to 49-38 going into the final frame.

In the fourth, the Hawks closed the deficit to 52-51 at one point, but the Hornets didn’t fold as Mitch Haasz hit a big bucket and later a foul shot and Majestic finished the game by hitting 3-of-4 foul shots that gave the Hornets a 62-57 edge with 12 seconds left in the game.

Ropp was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 62-59 with 1.6 seconds left.

Coil inbounded the ball with a full court throw that was intercepted by the Hornets, ending the Hawks’ season.

Malvern 56, Steubenville Central Catholic 43
Meadowbrook Division IV
District Semifinal
CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Ryan Fletcher 6 2-4 19, Michael Manfresca 3 1-2 7, Brenton Colabella 3 0-0 7, Matt Martello 3 0-0 6, John Paul Dombrowski 1 0-0 2, Tony Barber 1 0-0 2, Michael Barber 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 3-6 43.
MALVERN: Trey Tucci 7 2-4 18, Mitch Loomis 6 2-5 14, Mitch Haasz 5 0-0 10, Jaret Majestic 2 4-4 8, Collen Thomas 3 0-0 6, Jalen Graves 0 0-0 0, Cameron Glick 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23 8-13 56.

STEUBENVILLE:    8   13  16    6 – 43
MALVERN:            11   15  16  14 – 56
Three-point goals –  Trey Tucci 2, Ryan Fletcher 5, Brenton Colabella. Fouls – Steubenville – 14-9. Rebounds – Steubenville 24 (Brenton Colabella 7), Malvern 37 (Mitch Loomis 13). Records – Central 18-7, Malvern 19-6.

Malvern 62, Hiland 59
Meadowbrook Division IV 
District final
MALVERN:  Cameron Glick 1 0-0 2, Jaret Majestic 2 7-8 13, Brevin Thomas 1 0-0 2, Trey Tucci 4 4-4 13, Mitch Haasz 2 1-1 6, Collen Thomas 0 1-2 1, Mitch Loomis 9 7-12 25. Totals 19 20-27 62.
HILAND: Collin Blochlinger 4 3-3 13, Eric Miller 2 2-2 6, Lucas Mast 0 2-2 2, Todd Ropp 9 3-3 22, Bruce Troyer 2 3-3 7, Brennan Coil 3 2-4 9. Totals 20 15-17 59.

MALVERN:    21  13  15  13  - 62
HILAND:         8   11  19  21  - 59
Three-point goals – Jaret Majestic 2, Collin Blochlinger 2, Trey Tucci, Mitch Haasz, Todd Ropp, Brennan - Coil. Fouls – Hiland 28-14. Fouled out – none. Rebounds—Malvern 33 (Mitch Loomis 10), Hiland 30 (Todd Ropp 11). Records: Malvern 20-6, Hiland 23-3.

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