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Girls basketball: Sharks battle back to 40-34 league win
It was only a regular season Frontier League matchup, but one glance at Malibu coach Andy Meyer following the game showed it meant so much more.
The Sharks entered the Saturday, Jan. 28 contest having lost all but one of their games in league play and were facing a Nordhoff team that was also looking to get things back on track following a two-game losing streak of their own.
Nordhoff jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage following two three-point baskets by Mikyla McGhee. However, Malibu coach Andy Meyer emphasized to his team to not look at the scoreboard and instead used the early deficit as a teaching moment.
“I keep telling them it doesn’t matter what the score is until the end of the game,” he said. “In fact, I say never look the score. We play our same, hopefully hard, tough basketball throughout the game and the score shouldn’t matter.”
Heeding the advice from their head coach, the Sharks stuck to the game plan and fought their way back en route to a one point halftime advantage, and in doing so set up a third quarter that could very well be a foreshadow of things to come.
Senior Sophie Beauvoir — the only upperclassman on the roster — would go on to record six points with sophomore Amelia Goudzwaard adding in four of her own in a quarter that saw the Sharks outscore the Nordhoff Rangers 12-6. That offensive efficiency would continue in the fourth quarter as the Sharks would score another 12 points, leaving Nordhoff to no choice, but to employ the foul game late, setting up the 40-34 Malibu victory.
For Beauvoir, the win also gave her an opportunity to pass along valuable knowledge to her younger teammates.
“If you get the ball, just stay calm,” she said. “I think when you’re young it’s really easy to lose your composure when it’s a tight game. I understand our team is really young, so it’s going to take time. But, they’re all working really hard so it’s really enjoyable playing with them.”
While it is only Malibu’s second win in Frontier League play, it represented the symbolic next step in the young team’s growth process.
“I thought it was probably our best game of the year,” Meyer said. “We were aggressive, which we sometimes aren’t. We played good defense. Our turnovers were limited, so it was overall one of our better games.”
“We haven’t had many close games at the end like that, especially when we’re up, so it was nice to see how they reacted. They did make some free throws at the end, Sophie [Beauvoir] did. Pretty good under pressure, again these girls never had to deal with that before,” he said.
With a team rich in freshmen and sophomores, coach Meyer knows every win is important if he seeks to make it back to the playoffs.
“You have to learn how to win,” Meyer said. “I think a game like this, being down, coming back, having to put pressure at the end is just one more step in that process of learning how to win, so hopefully we’re closer to making it a habit.
The Sharks will now look to build upon this win as they were to travel to Ojai to take on Villanova Prep Tuesday, Jan. 31, before returning home to host Fillmore High School on Thursday, Feb. 2.