Rallying around each other and refusing to give up, the 2012-13 Malibu High School girls basketball team has been committed to making the best out of its situation despite a lack of experience. With only one senior and three upperclassmen total on the roster, the Sharks have struggled this year to the tune of only one win. No worries. This team knows how to find the positives out of the negatives.
“They are very inexperienced, but they work so hard and their attitude is so good that it makes a season where we don’t win many games palatable,” said sixth-year head coach Andy Meyer, who added the girls “are learning every game. If they are having fun and not trying, that’s not good. If they are trying and not having fun, that isn’t good either. But the fact that they are trying and working hard and having fun is wonderful.”
One look at this group of ten girls and you see teamwork, happiness, camaraderie and trust. The team’s youth is rarely mentioned. Rather, they accept the challenges and use each practice and game as an opportunity to get better.
With the six freshmen on the team making up more than half the roster, Nelly Alavez understands that wins may be few and far between. But she looks forward to concluding her senior season this week with pride, knowing she gave her best effort for two years.
No regrets for the senior captain. Just satisfaction.
“My senior season has been great. I love all the girls on the team,” Alavez said. “It’s kind of lonely being the only senior on the team and it can get frustrating with the losses, but it’s OK because I know they are going to get better and I can’t wait to see them in three years when they are seniors.”
How young is the varsity? Consider the fact that the average age for the Sharks is 14.8 years, while the junior varsity is 15.2.
Positive attitudes like Alavez’ have kept the team strong and together. The importance of her steadying influence and leadership is much more significant now than winning games. Alavez is assisting in the maturation of the team right before her own very eyes. The results will come in due time.
“I give a lot of confidence and support to my teammates. I want them to know that it’s OK if they did something wrong because they will get better at it,” Alavez explained. “We just look for each other for support. We know we are a young team but we can improve and get better.”
“Nelly gives everyone confidence,” Junior Agaly DeJesus said. “If you are ever lost you can just look to her and she will tell you what to do. She keeps the whole team together.”
Following a recent loss to Fillmore, the Sharks regrouped in the locker room afterwards to review the game and learn where the improvements needed to be made. It’s all a part of the growing pains and development of a young team.
Meyer credits the team’s character and love for each other as major reasons why they have overcome the tough losses.
“People think coaching girls you have drama. Not at all with these girls,” Meyer said. “They are friends on and off the court. They really care for each other. It’s one of the nicest groups of girls I ever have had.”
Leading the freshmen is the talented trio of Nina Hungerland, Kendall Jordan and Sara Joshi to compliment Alavez, DeJesus and junior Glennis Leslie.
Despite some of the huge deficits they have faced at times throughout the season, Malibu continues to play the game with passion and purpose. The Sharks compete as if they own one loss rather than just one win.
“It’s hard when we lose but we know that most of our team is freshmen,” Hungerland added. “But we work together really well. Nelly and Agaly have kept us together because they know what’s going on.”
They’ve taken their lumps this season, but Meyer sees a promising program on the rise.
“If these players stick with it and work hard in the off-season, I think the future is real bright. People are going to have to look out for us in league the next couple years,” Meyer said.
Onward and upward for the Malibu girls basketball program. They wouldn’t have it any other way.