NEW PHILADELPHIA - Toronto's game plan going into its Division IV sectional opener with Malvern Wednesday was geared toward slowing down 6-foot-5 senior Max Kapron.
With the Red Knights focused on double-teaming the Hornet standout, Kapron's teammates took over and made them pay. The result: Malvern jumped out to an early lead and coasted to a 72-37 victory at New Philadelphia High School.
Malvern, now 17-6, advances to Saturday's sectional final. The second-seeded Hornets will tangle with Steubenville Catholic Central. The tip is set for 1 p.m. Toronto drops the curtain at 11-12.
"Our plan was to double 12 (Kapron)," Red Knights coach John Leary said. "We wanted to limit his touches since he is a great player on a great team. When we did that, their other 6-6 kid (sophomore Mitch Loomis) hurt us. Kapron was like a man playing a boys' game."
Kapron did finish with 17 to pace the winners while Loomis added 14. Two other Hornets, Nick Mohr (12) and Trey Tucci (10) also reached double digits.
Coach Dennis Tucci's club jumped out to a 20-4 lead after one and was up 41-14 at the half.
"We really hurt ourselves early on," Leary noted. "We got inpatient, turned the ball over and gave them some run-outs. We just didn't do the little things like rebounding and our shot selection was bad.
"I think 14 of their 41 first- half points came about because we took poor shots. And a bunch more they were able to get off offensive rebounds."
Toronto's Blaze Glenn led all scorers with 19. Tyler Owens chipped in six.
"I'm proud of our effort and proud of our kids Leary added. "They're just great kids. I am really proud of our seniors; they gave this program all they had,"
The Red Knight roster featured five seniors including Joe Chadwick, Brad Melville, Owens, Dillon Gault and Tyler Andrews.
"When I first met with them in May 2011, they committed to the program and they fulfilled their commitments," the Toronto coach continued.
"They accepted me from the start and I love them like they were my own sons.
"We won four games last season and finished this regular season 11-11. We have taken some huge steps forward. With a new school opening and a new gymnasium to play in, we have to continue moving forward."
Toronto originally expected to play Wednesday's tournament opener with just six players due to an incident from last week's Wellsville game. However, the ejections of nine Red Knights were reversed, allowing Leary to dress a full squad.
Malvern 72, Toronto 37
Malvern 20 21 19 12 - 72
Toronto 4 10 8 15 - 37
MALVERN (17-6): Mohr 6 0-0 12; Thomas 2 0-0 4; Kapron 7 1-1 17; Tucci 5 0-0 10; Bower 1 0-0 2; LeBeau 1 0-0 3; Ruegg 0 0-2 0; Thomas 1 1-2 3; Haasz 1 0-0 3; Loomis 6 2-4 14; Graves 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 32 3-9 72. 3-pointers: Kapron, LeBeau, Haasz.
TORONTO (11-12): Glenn 7 5-5 19; Chadwick 2 1-1 5; Owens 3 0-0 6; Melville 0 0-2 0; Stewart 1 0-0 2; Clegg 1 0-0 3; Lawrence 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 14 6-8 37. 3-pointers: Clegg.