On Saturday. February 18, the Milken girls varsity basketball team (19-6) lost to St. Monica (51-43), ending the Wildcats’ CIF playoff run in the quarterfinal round. However, the quarterfinals marks the farthest the Wildcats have advanced in the playoffs since the 2009 season.
The loss closed out a very successful season for the Wildcats and coach Barbara Iversen. The team captured their fifth straight Heritage league title with a 5-1 division record, routinely blowing out their competition. The Wildcats were led by league co-MVP Sorelle Cohen’13, as well as all-league selections Shaynee Rosen ’14 and Nicky Shemian ’13.
The emergence of Shemian and Rosen helped offset the loss of three all-league players from last year’s squad. Instead of rebuilding, the Wildcats reloaded, notching signature victories over Beverly Hills High School and Archer.
Shemian established herself as a capable floor general after being thrust into action in the first game of the season when incumbent starter Carly Ghodsian ’13 suffered a season ending injury. She excelled on both offense and defense, setting a Milken record with ten assists in a game as well as consistently hounding opposing point guards with tenacious defense.
Rosen proved to be a solid off guard throughout the year and averaged just over ten points per game. She provided clutch play in a CIF contest against Orcutt Academy, shooting 67% from the field and scoring 20 points to lead Milken to a 51-25 blowout victory.
Cohen had a breakout junior year, leading the team in points, rebounds and steals. She notched six games with at least 20 points and broke the record for most rebounds in a season with 209. Cohen also averaged just under five steals per game, proving her versatility as a center.
The future looks bright for the Wildcats, as they only lose three seniors from this year’s squad. In addition to the three all-league selections returning, freshman Avia Cohen ’15 is poised to make a major contribution to the team next year. She came on strong in the second half of the season, transitioning to a starting role by the end of the year.
Next season will also bring something new for Milken, as they transition from the Heritage League, where they were perennial powerhouses, to the Alpha Division of the Gold Coast league. The Wildcats will face much stiffer competition, as they will find themselves matched up against the likes of Windward (ranked #4 in the country) and Campbell Hall (ranked #1 in Division 4A). However, Coach Iversen feels her team is up to the challenge.
“It should be our strongest all around team next year,” Iversen said. “If we can get everyone to work on their games during the offseason, we could make a run in the 4A playoffs next year.”