A young and improving Malibu High girls varsity basketball team opens its home season Jan. 15 against Thatcher High, the start of a busy schedule that features eight home games during the season.
Tuesday’s game takes place at the Malibu High School gymnasium at 6:30 p.m.
Coach Andy Meyer and the Sharks are in the midst of a major rebuilding year, which has been challenging in the early stages but points toward a bright future. The varsity roster features six freshmen, including a starting guard and center. Nearly all of the newcomers have substantial youth basketball experience, which is critical for success because there is not a middle school girls’ basketball team at MHS.
“We will probably struggle this year due to how young we are,” said coach Meyer. “It’s not an excuse, because I still think we should be able to get some wins, but we are very inexperienced. One of our goals is to show a lot of improvement throughout the year. I see a very bright future for this team.”
Guard Nelly Alavez, the only senior on the team, leads the Sharks along with junior forwards Agaly DeJesus and Glenis Leslie. One starting guard is 5’10” freshman Nina Hungerland; 5’10” Kendall Jordan and 5’11” Sara Joshi, both freshmen, have shared the starting duties at center.
“Nelly and Agaly are the captains this year and I’m depending on them to provide leadership to the younger girls,” said Meyer.
Karen Sanchez, 5’5” sophomore forward, also brings experience to the team after playing as a varsity player last year.
Other top players include 5’3” freshman guard Gianna Chaisson and 5’7” freshman guard-forward Alana Baer. Freshman Ari Ross rounds out the roster, but is recovering from a knee injury and has not yet seen action.
Alavez, 5’3” point guard, is the leading scorer on the team during pre-league play.
De Jesus, 5’7”, has had an outstanding pre-league season, which includes being named to the all-tournament team for the Viewpoint High Tournament and the Catalina Avalon High Tournament.
Leslie, averaging six rebounds a game, has also been strong in pre-league play.
Varsity girls basketball home schedule:
Tues., Jan. 15 vs. Thacher, 6:30 p.m. (JV game at 5 p.m.)
Wed., Jan. 16 vs. New Roads, 5 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 24 vs. Bishop Diego*, 7 p.m. (JV game at 5:30)
Sat., Jan. 26 vs. La Reina*, 7 p.m. (JV game at 5:30)
Tues., Jan. 29 vs. Fillmore*, 7 p.m. (JV game at 5:30)
Sat., Feb. 2 vs. Grace Brethren* 1 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 5 vs. Carpenteria*, 7 p.m. (JV game at 5:30)
Thurs. Feb. 7 vs. Santa Paula*, 7 p.m. (JV game at 5:30)
*Frontier League games