The Malibu High School boys basketball team continues to roll through the Frontier League.
The Sharks stayed undefeated in league and dismantled the Villanova Prep Wildcats, 71-35, on Friday, Jan. 16, behind an impressive defensive effort.
Senior point guard Jordan Newt led the Sharks in scoring with 20 points, while junior guard Cordell Newton contributed 18 points and sophomore guard Cade McMillin had 10 points.
MHS forced 30 turnovers, which led to easy points in transition off of layups.
Coach Richard Harris said the team’s defensive intensity has been a positive so far this season.
“I think it’s taken a toll on players,” Harris said about Malibu’s defense. “I think they start to fold from so much pressure.”
The Sharks got out of the gate early, scoring the first eight points of the game. Newt gave Malibu a double-digit lead with a fadeaway jumper.
The Malibu defense forced a 10-second violation on Villanova to start the second quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The turnover ignited a 21-6 run, and the Sharks went into halftime leading 37-16. The Sharks never looked back.
“For some reason, we decided to come out with more intensity than we ever did just to show the league and to show all these other teams that we mean business,” Newton said. “We’re not gonna take anyone lightly.”
Harris said he constantly changes defensive looks to keep opposing teams guessing.
“If you let people get comfortable and complacent, they’ll find weaknesses against the defense,” Harris said.
The win puts Malibu at first place in league play with a record of 5-0. Newton credits the team’s stellar play to the MHS coaching staff.
“The coaches tell us what we can do, they tell us what we think we can’t do and they make it happen,” Newton said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our coaches.”
Harris said the team’s success has been due to every player being ready to contribute when they enter the game. He singled out the McMillin brothers, Cade and Nate, as “silent assassins.”
“They are guys who are always in the right place at the right time, they give a lot of defensive intensity, they rebound, they get steals, and they make open and easy shots,” Harris said.
Newt said the team has been struggling to shoot the ball at its home gym in recent games, a point with which Harris agreed.
Harris suggested Malibu would be even more dangerous once it improves its shooting percentage.
“We’re still winning by 40 and 35, and we’re not shooting well,” Harris said. “So once we start shooting well, we’re gonna be able to expand that lead a little bit more.”
Villanova was a team that scared Harris coming in to Friday. He was surprised the Sharks came away with a blowout win.
“I thought it would be tougher,” Harris said.