The most successful season Malibu High Sharks girls basketball history came to an end last week.
Malibu was defeated by St. Monica 43-20 on Feb. 15 in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Girls Division 5A Basketball Championships. The Sharks closed the season with a 17-5 record. St. Monica has advanced to play Oak Park for the division championship on Saturday.
Malibu head coach Andy Meyer said the Sharks’ campaign was memorable.
“Success can be looked at in different ways,” he noted. “Some years, it’s just having a team with a lot of improvements. Some years, it’s improvement and girls having fun. This year was a complete success because the girls got better, the girls had a good time, and we had a great season record-wise.”
Malibu finished in second place the Citrus Coast League and won two games — a 51-38 defeat of Western and a 43-42 nail bitter over Orange — to advance to the quarterfinals of the CIF postseason tournament for the first time in school history.
Malibu’s coach knew his squad was a talented bunch when they began downing teams they struggled with in the past and winning close games. Additionally, the Sharks began the season with 12 consecutive victories.
“I realized this is a special team,” Meyer recalled. “I had girls playing for the team and not for themselves.”
Malibu had only one senior on the team this year — forward Whitney Shanahan. Meyer called her an important player.
“She is a tremendous rebounder and hustles as hard as anybody,” he explained. “She is an inspiration also. She only started playing basketball last year. To become such an important part of the team is a testament to how hard she worked.”
Meyer, who retired from teaching at Malibu last year, said its not uncommon for Shanahan to be seen carrying a basketball down Malibu High’s hallways.
“She’ll go out to the blacktop and shoot some baskets,” the coach said. “Her mom told me that after the last game Whitney went to go shoot 15 minutes on her own. She enjoys the sport so much.”
Shanahan, 17, enjoyed her two seasons on the hoops squad. She noted that her best game of the season was against Orange. Shanahan played good defense and made some key baskets in the Malibu victory.
She said the girls basketball season has been one of the highlights of her last year in high school.
“The other sports I have participated in, I have been doing since I was really young,” recalled Shanahan, also a surfer and cross country runner. “It was fun to work hard and learn a new sport. It was fun to have such a great team and make it so far.”
Meyer believes Malibu will be successful next winter.
“I don’t see this season as the end of anything but as the start,” he said. “If we can be this successful, I don’t know why next year shouldn’t be better if we improve at the pace we improved in this year. It’s not going to be easy, but I don’t see why next year can’t be better.”