Malvern bounces back with big 2nd half to down Minerva

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The Malvern Hornets rebounded from their Friday night loss to Sandy Valley with a 63-43 victory at Minerva High School on Tuesday.

The Hornets played close with the Lions for the contest’s first 16 minutes, knotted at 25-all at the halftime break.

“Well, in the first half, they did play very well,” Malvern head coach Denny Tucci said about the Lions after the game. “They just killed us on the boards, and they’re undersized at every position, but they were tougher than us. They wanted it more than us – and I hate that term in sports, I hate that term – but it showed in that first half.”

At the game’s end, the sizeable Malvern rebounding core nabbed 31 boards to Minerva’s 26, while the defense forced 26 Lions turnovers.

The Hornets were able to put together more offensive possessions in the second half, led by Michael Minor’s 19 points. Other solid scoring outings included KJ Thomas (11 points) and J’Allen Barrino (10 points), who each totaled 10 points for the victors.

Noah Ball (seven points), Mitchell Minor (five), Dylan Phillips, and Ja’son Barrino (two points each) rounded out the Malvern points.

Tucci added: “In the second half, we kind of dominated in the paint, got the ball where we wanted it, and we actually rebounded on both ends of the floor, and then [we] our pressure got to them a little bit too.”

Minerva’s top scorer for the game was Brayden Costea, who totaled 15 points in the losing effort. Among further Lions scorers were Brandon Davis (eight points), Connor Shingleton (seven), and Dylan Phillips (five).

The Hornets improved to 10-1 for the season, while the Lions dropped to 1-8.