Photos: Malvern holds off East Canton in overtime to remain unbeaten

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The state-ranked Malvern Hornets remained undefeated with a nailbiting win over rival East Canton.

Malvern’s been playing all season with a target on their back. Not because they are one of the best teams in the area, or their conference. But one of the best teams in the state of Ohio.

The Hornets are ranked No. 3 in Division III boys basketball and every team that takes the court against them is going to give it their all, and the East Canton Hornets nearly pulled one out Tuesday night.

For the first time this season, the Malvern Hornets trailed at halftime, 19-18. The game remained close throughout the second half. It included Malvern going on an 8-0 run at one point, but East Canton quickly erased that lead. Before you knew it, the game was heading to overtime knotted at 49-49.

East Canton took the lead 50-49 on a Caleb Shilling free-throw., but Malvern went down the court and scored to go up 51-50. From that point on it was a game of chess.

Malvern junior Drake Hutchison was the hero late, just by earning his way to the free throw line in overtime.

With the gym packed, Hutchison drew three fouls late in OT as East Canton tried to stop the clock. Hutchison made two of his first four attempts, splitting two pairs, to give Malvern a 53-51 lead.

As East Canton drove the ball down the court, Malvern’s Jared Witherow got physical and stole the ball. While on the ground, he had the wherewithal to call a time out before East Canton could force a jump ball situation.

Coming out of the time out, the ball ended up right back in Hutchison‘s hands. This time when he was fouled, he made both attempts at the free-throw line count. Sinking both of them with 10 seconds remaining in the game.

Malvern improved to 17-0 on the season with the 55-50 win over visiting East Canton.