MHS Girls Hoops Focused on Growth as League Competition Starts

The Malibu Sharks girls basketball team 

One thing for sure is Malibu’s Amelia “Pip” Goudzwaard can score buckets in the paint. The basketball player scored 72 total points in last week’s Avalon Basketball Classic en route to being named to showcase’s all-tournament team.

The Sharks’ sophomore center scored 15 points in two of the Catalina-based tournament’s contests and finished with 22 and 20 points in another two. Goudzwaard said that is the best four-game stretch she has ever played. 

“I don’t know what happened in this tournament, but everything just clicked and made sense to me,” the 15-year-old said. “As soon as I got the ball I knew what to do.”

One highlight of the tournament for the 5-foot-10 Goudzwaard was Malibu’s Jan. 5 loss to Vaughn. Defenders constantly fouled the 10th grader resulting in her attempting 12 foul shots.

“They just kept fouling me and fouling me,” said Goudzwaard, who scored 20 points that game. “I’m still bruised. I still have battle scars all over me.”

Goudzwaard’s success playing in the post for the Sharks comes after a 2015-16 campaign, in which she barely got any playtime due to Malibu having a roster led by experienced and talented seniors. 

Goudzwaard said she has made a lot of progress from year one to year two in a Malibu jersey. She said her improvement is due to practice and getting more playing time.

“Last year, I was on the bench and would get two minutes of experience, then I would be back on the bench,” Goudzwaard said. “I just practiced, knowing I need to make these shots, need to rebound and need to learn to get open for shots.” 

Malibu head coach Andy Meyer said Goudzwaard has improved in all facets of the game.

“I knew she would improve,” the coach said. “I just didn’t know she would improve that much that quickly. She is a good athlete; she is smart and she works hard.”

Gaining experience and improving is a key for Malibu. The Sharks only have one upperclassman — senior Sophie Beauvoir — on a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores. As of presstime, Malibu had a 3-9 record, but wins and losses aren’t what Meyer has his hoops eye trained on. The coach said the 2016-17 season has gone almost as he expected it. 

“If you are talking success on how much we have improved, grown as a team, I would say the season has been a success so far,” Meyer said. “I wish the record was better of course, but I am happy with our progress.”

Malibu’s starting line-up includes Beauvoir, Goudzwaard and sometimes three ninth-graders. Meyer said his squad is young, but gaining hardwood knowledge.

“Every game, every practice, they are getting better,” he said. 

Beauvoir, a frontcourt player, is the only Shark that received significant playing time on last season’s 14-11 team, which advanced to the CIF playoffs. The 12th grader said it is a strange, but fun experience going from a seasoned bunch to a young group.

“We are getting a lot better really quickly,” she said. “It is really cool.” 

Goodzwaard said she and her teammates are focused on exceling at the things that help a team garner Ws, such as running offensive plays correctly.

“Everyone cares about winning and not losing every game, but we need to work on getting the plays right, working together as a team and playing well,” Goodzwaard said, “instead of making silly mistakes like throwing the ball away. If we can fix those mistakes as much as possible, then I think we will have a pretty good season.” 

Malibu has two victories over Pilgrim and one over Pacific Hills. The Sharks’ losses have come to Viewpoint, La Reina, Sherman Oaks CES, Brentwood School, Grace Brethren, Crean Lutheran and Rolling Hills Prep. The bunch also has been defeated by Vaughn twice. 

Malibu had its Frontier League-opening game against Villanova Prep on Jan. 10.  Meyer said he wants the Sharks to keep improving during the 14-game conference schedule. He said earlier in the season if a player made a mistake on the court he would have to call to the sideline and explain to the hooper what she did wrong. Now he doesn’t have to. 

“They look over and say, ‘I know,’” Meyer said. “They are recognizing mistakes and that is the first step in becoming a better player.” 

Beauvoir said the Sharks’ strengths include Goudzwaard’s play in the post, freshman point guard Erin Muldoon’s skills and the team’s ability to play fast. She said Malibu can be successful in the league. 

“We can beat these teams,” Beauvoir said. “I know we can. In practice we play like it. We just need to in games.” 

The team captain added that Malibu could make the playoffs.

“We just need to play like it,” she said.