Malvern loaded and ready for run at Division IV state tournament

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Malvern Basketball
The Malvern Hornets (20-4) are loaded for a run at the Division IV
State Tournament. Head Coach Dennis Tucci’s team is coming off a
district finals appearance where they were beat by state tournament
participant Hiland on a half-court buzzer beater, 66-63. For the Hornets, it all starts with the three-headed monster of junior Tyler Tucci and seniors Trevor Halter and Zak Kapron.


The Malvern Hornets (20-4) are loaded for a run at the Division IV State Tournament. Head Coach Dennis Tucci’s team is coming off a district finals appearance where they were beat by state tournament participant Hiland on a half-court buzzer beater, 66-63.

For the Hornets, it all starts with the three-headed monster of junior Tyler Tucci and seniors Trevor Halter and Zak Kapron.

Tucci, who is the son of the head coach, is a returning 1st Team All-Ohio performer. The outstanding point guard averaged 19.9 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, and 8.8 assists as a sophomore. Tucci has amassed 821 points thus far in his career.

At 6-foot-2, Tucci is a very good rebounder for a guard. The Hornets floor general has a way of getting everyone else involved, and seems to just know how to win.

Trevor Halter, who was 3rd Team All-District as a junior, may be the best all around offensive player on the Hornets talented roster. The 6-foot-5 combo guard can fill it up from distance, take defenders off the bounce and hit the pull up, and play with his back to the basket. Halter is very versatile on offense with his excellent length he can shoot over smaller perimeter defenders, and take bigger ones out on the arch. Halter has excellent bounce, and is an excellent defender by getting in passing lanes with his long wing span. As a junior, he was good for 16.9 points per game and 4.5 caroms. Halter has 753 career tallies.

Kapron, who is a returning 3rd Team All-Ohio player, is one of the best board guys in the district. At 6-foot-6, the Hornet big man poses a lot of problems in Division IV and the Inter-Valley Conference. Kapron averaged 16.8 lightings a contest and 11 boards. He has a strong body, which really makes it difficult for the opposition. Kapron has 680 career markers.

Also returning is 5-foot-9 senior Jamar Stephens, who is an excellent defender and can score in transition. Stephens, who is an outstanding running back, will be required to lock up the opposing team’s best guard.

Sophomore Adam Wackerly (5’10) returns as well. The youngster saw quite a bit of playing as a freshman, and will be counted on to do more this year.

Senior Murice Lamar (6’0) will round out the top six for coach Tucci’s bunch.

Coach Tucci is hoping to have some depth this season.

“We were 20-4 last year and lost in the district final, but we are hoping that our bench will be a little stronger this year,” Tucci relayed. “Our top six are set, but we should have some depth with Jesse Byrd (6’1, Sr.), and three sophomores Doug Wood (5’10), Nolan Champer (6’2), and Nick Palleschi (6’2).”

The Hornets play a 16-game conference schedule, which features a home and home with Garaway and Hiland. The non-conference schedule begins this Friday against East Canton. The other three games are with Minerva, United, and a tough test versus Campbell Memorial in the North Canton Hoover Holiday Classic.

The Green and White are front runners for the Eastern District crown along with Shadyside, but the regional will be cut-throat with the addition of Bedford Channel along with regulars Windham and Cleveland Heights Lutheran East.

The only graduation loss was Stewart Brahler, who was a lock down defender for the Hornets.

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