Malibu High hoops betting success starts in summer

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Malibu’s Anthony Kodomichalos goes in for a layup in the Sharks’ victory against Hueneme. 

It is a basketball truism that individuals are made during the summer, while teams are built during the winter. While individual skill improvement is important in the offseason, the Malibu High School boys basketball team is betting that the value of coming together as a unit for the first time during June and July will be key when they take floor in mid-November. 

Two years ago, the Sharks won a league title with an overall record of 18-8 and 10-0 in the Frontier League. After promotion to the rough-and-tumble Tri-Valley League, the Sharks struggled to maintain the momentum against an array of power programs, finishing with a record of 7-20 overall and 1-9 in conference. 

Following the disappointing finish, coach Bobby Tenorio immediately went back to the chalkboard to evaluate the season and his program. After a thorough review, Tenorio determined that one of his key focuses this summer would be the development of his perimeter players to surround his talented senior center, Justin Holmes. In addition, Tenorio has scheduled a gauntlet of tough summer games to help prepare the team for the challenging 2013-14 season. 

Phase 1 of the blueprint began June 16th and 17th, with the 4th Annual Malibu Sharks Summer Shootout, held at Malibu High School. 

With Holmes out of town in Boston visiting prospective colleges, the two-day, 16-team tournament allowed the rest of the Sharks players to stake claims to new roles in the absence of one of their most experienced players. The tournament offered a good glimpse of what coach Tenorio has to work with, as the Sharks went 1-3 on the weekend, but more importantly, started to learn about their team and their roles. 

Malibu opened up against Hueneme and quickly fell behind 18-12 at halftime. But kick-started by a 9-0 run to begin the second half, the Sharks submitted a strong final 20 minutes of action to claim a 47-38 come-from-behind victory. 

MHS outscored Hueneme 35-20 in the second half thanks in large part to sophomores Cordell Newton and Frankie McGovern and seniors Anthony Kodomichalos and Jonathan Baldwin. 

Newton, who transferred over from Grant High School in Van Nuys, scored 16 points and displayed active hands defensively with multiple steals and deflections. 

Kodomichalos provided the steady influence throughout the contest, contributing in all facets of the game. The savvy senior scored eight points, while McGovern added 11 including three three-pointers. Baldwin ran the point guard position efficiently. 

The first day of competition concluded with the Sharks dropping a close 40-37 contest to Valley Academy, as the team works to create chemistry and forge a strong bond in the coming months. For senior Kodomichalos, the key phrases were “development” and “learning process.” 

“It’s a learning process. Today’s results were helpful to the learning process. Even though we lost, I think everyone took something out of [the Valley] game,” Kodomichalos said. “And even in our win everyone took something out of that game as well. There is a lot of room for improvement and I think we will get better and be ready for the season.” 

Tenorio lauded his senior for displaying leadership, and passed out compliments to younger players for their scoring output. 

“Anthony is my leader. He’s always going to be a leader because he is vocal. Scoring-wise we need Frankie and Cordell to step up when Justin is gone,” Tenorio said. “We got to make sure we know how to finish on fast breaks and communicate on defensive rotations. We want to push the ball. With Justin not here, we need to get it and go since we are small and quick.” 

Without Holmes, the Sharks’ first-team all-league center, Malibu lost its final two games to Camarillo and Pacifica. 

“We played hard for the most part. It’s a new group of kids who play hard and want to win,” Tenorio said. 

In addition to Cordell, newcomers to the squad include forward Landon Recht and guards Marsalis Adrianno and Dane Marshall. 

Developing chemistry among the returning and new players will also be an emphasis throughout the summer. Holmes will be gone a majority of the time playing for his club team against high-profile competition. 

Malibu will take part in the San Diego State team camp this Friday through Sunday. Despite Holmes being absent frequently, Kodomichalos feels the team will adapt well together, beginning this weekend in San Diego. 

“It’s really important we do get the chemistry. Last year I felt there was distance between the players and we weren’t all on the same page. This year I feel we can definitely be one team like we were two years ago and achieve the ultimate goal of winning league,” he said. “It’s just a chemistry thing that we have to build over the summer. 

“Justin is a key part to our team. Even when he’s not here, we already have a bond with him because he’s been around a lot lately to our practices. He’s an easy person to fit into place in our offense.” 

In July the Sharks will compete in the Pacifica Triton Tournament as well as the Carpinteria Tournament. They will also play two games every Wednesday at Pacifica High School. 

“We want to learn how to play together. Getting to know each other, being able to run everything and understanding everything that we need to do,” said Tenorio. “We are going to battle this summer and it’s going to be good. I’m pretty excited.”