Malibu High rode a wave of emotion to come back from a 12 point deficit in the first half to beat the visiting Bishop Diego Cardinals 51-45 on Friday night at the Shark Tank.
The night started on a stirring note with senior members of the Malibu Choir singing the national anthem. It seemed appropriate tonight that seniors, forward Will Rosenthal (12 points, 3 assists, 2 charges) and guard, Andrew Yazdani (7 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 charge) led the Sharks from the front.
In what has become a tradition on Malibu High Senior Night, Coach Tenorio, had seniors start regardless of the regular rotation. The Sharks opened with Nick Carlson, Alex Eddy, Vinnie van Patten accompanying regular starters Yazdani and Rosenthal.
The seniors did a good job, holding the Bishop Diego offense scoreless in the first four minutes of the game. Soon after, Tenorio went to his bench and brought in the team's sixth senior, Luke Humphreys along with freshman guard, Frankie McGovern and juniors, forward, Justin Holmes and guard, Anthony Kodomichalos. The teams then traded basket with the visiting Cardinals taking a slim lead 7-6 by the end of the quarter.
The second quarter opened up as the teams started to sort each other out. The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-7 lead with 3 minutes left in the half. Coach Tenorio continued to rotate his players with junior guard, Bryan Salcedo providing good minutes off the bench.
The Sharks were not going to lie down, the crowd was still behind Malibu and the team closed the half on a 14-2 run to enter the halftime break all square 21-21. The Sharks were smelling blood in the water, the raucous crowd was raising the roof, standing and cheering. There was even a Patrick Fontenette (Class of 2012 and now attending UCLA) sighting, who continued to whip up the crowd to frenzy level during the break!
The Sharks came out in the second half on the same note as at the of the first. With good ball movement, Kodomichalos found Rosenthal for six straight points. Bishop Diego went small and the Sharks made the Cardinals pay by pounding the ball inside where Holmes took over from Rosenthal in the scoring department. While the Sharks only shot 5-13 in the quarter, they were able to take a two point lead into the final quarter.
The crowd was on its feet, yelling, stamping, cheering and supporting Sharks anyway they could. Could they, would they hold out the final Cardinal onslaught?
The fourth quarter opened with Malibu riding a wave, Yazdani was everywhere, diving for loose balls, pouncing on loose passes and coming up with rebounds (both defensive and offensive). Suddenly, the Sharks found endless energy and Bishop Diego could not find the basket.
Malibu pushed the lead to four, the Cardinals fought back via the free throw line. Emotions were running high! The Sharks were up 3 with 40 seconds to go and Kodomichalos fouled out on a sacrifice foul stopping a lay up. The Cardinals hit only one of the two free throws but the Sharks turn the ball over on the inbounds play; Bishop Diego ball; the ball came in and Yazdani takes the charge; turnover Cardinals. On the inbounds play, Rosenthal is fouled and hit two clutch free throws that pushed the lead to 4.
With the crowd ready to storm the court, Boogie Baldwin and Justin Holmes caused enough confusion for Baldwin to steal the ball and lay it up to seal the game as the buzzer sounded. The players were mobbed by fellow students storming the court, pandemonium broke out.
Holmes capped off a workman-like game with 17 points and 15 rebounds (5 ORs); Kodomichalos had a quiet night, with 2 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 block; van Patten chipped in with 5 points and 3 rebounds; McGovern had 6 points and 4 rebounds; and Baldwin had the steal and 2 points that iced the game. Of course as mentioned above, Rosenthal had 12 points and Yazdani 7 points.
We wish the senior players, cheerleaders and dance team members all the best wherever their future may take them and hope that they remember a special send off in February at Malibu High's last home game of the 2013 season.
The Sharks close out the season next Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Oak Park High School.