Malvern moves to 25-0, heading back to district championship

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Malvern's Eric Swain puts up a shot.
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Winning one game is hard for some, winning 10 games might be the goal for others, but remaining undefeated well into the postseason, well – that’s more of a Cinderella story. A loss for Malvern right now would be like the clock striking midnight.

The Malvern Hornets are sitting at 25-0 on the season as they head back to the district championship game for the fifth straight season, after taking down the Barnesville Shamrocks by a score 66-50.

The game was close to start, with Malvern leading the Shamrocks by a narrow 16-11 margin. But the Hornets kicked it up a few notches in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game at Edison, outscoring Barnesville 20-6 in the second quarter to take a 36-17 lead into halftime.

Both teams scored 16 points in the third quarter, and Barnesville outscored Malvern 17-14 in the fourth quarter of play, but Malvern was ahead by so much, it didn’t make much of a difference.

Malvern’s senior core of J’Allen Barrino, Mitchell Minor and Dylan Phillips were all key in the game for the Hornets.

Barrino scored 21 points while going 4-of-7 from the foul line. Minor recorded 17 points in the winning effort for Malvern while pulling down eight of the team’s 26 rebounds.

Phillips played dominating defense, especially in the first half. The Malvern senior stole the ball at least three times during the first 16 minutes of action. He finished with eight points, including a pair of three-pointers and going 2-of-2 from the foul line.

The Malvern Hornets will play Martins Ferry in the district championship on Friday, March 8 at Claymont. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Martins Ferry narrowly defeated the Union Local Jets on Tuesday by a score of 60-58. Martins Ferry sits at 16-8 on the season. Their postseason journey has been filled with close contest.

In the sectional semifinal game, the Purple Riders beat Fort Frye 59-55. In the sectional championship, Martins Ferry edged out Coshocton by just one point (62-61) before beating Union Local by two points in the district semifinal game.