Sharks basketball defeat Santa Paula

Ben Rotman takes the ball to the basket against Santa Paula. Photo by Seth Rubinroit

The veteran team prepares for league basketball games.

By Seth Rubinroit / Special to The Malibu Times

The Malibu High boy’s basketball team competed in the four-game Ventura Kiwanis Tournament last week, their last tournament before the Tri-Valley League season begins. After losing their first three games in the tournament, the Sharks (6-8) defeated Santa Paula 60-52 on Dec. 30.

“In the last game, we really learned how to close out a game,” coach Bobby Tenorio said. “Our league is really tough this season, so we need to learn how to end games and quarters on a positive note.”

Chandler Abbott, who had 29 points, led the Sharks against Santa Paula.

“We played a lot of tough teams in a tough tournament, so a win like that boosts our morale overall going into league,” Abbott said. “Beating a team like that shows us that we can compete with better teams.”

The Sharks team is filled with veterans. Besides sophomores Jack Platner and Kyle Sandler, the other 11 members of the team are all seniors. “We have been playing together for a long time, so we know each other’s playing style, which helps us play together well,” senior Sam Rubinroit said.

Abbott, the senior captain, is the unquestioned leader of the team. Abbott is the Sharks’ leading scorer, averaging 19.8 points per game, according to

“Chandler is the heart and soul of this team,” Tenorio said. “He plays hard, and when he plays hard everybody wants to play hard. He is the coach on the court.”

The Sharks also get significant production from Ben Apstein (10.7 points per game), Ben Rotman (11.0) and Sandler (7.6). Max Flores, Sean McAlevey, Platner and Rubinroit provide depth at the wing positions, and Keith LaMasney, Jake Smith, Michael Thomas-Visgar, Victor Tyler and Alex Wilson play the postpositions.

In addition to the Ventura Kiwanis Tournament, the Sharks played in the Viewpoint Tournament in December, winning three games before losing to Crossroads in the Tournament Championship Game, 62-50.

“Last year, Malibu did not have very tough competition in the preseason, and it did not prepare the team for league,” Tenorio said. “The schedule we are playing will make us tougher and better before the league games begin.”

The Sharks’ next game is their league-opener, this Friday at home against Oak Park at

7 p.m.