Lahainaluna earns trip to state tourney
WAILUKU – The Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team knows the numbers – coach Todd Rickard makes sure of that.
The Lunas clinched a state tournament berth on Saturday night with a methodical 60-19 win over Baldwin at the Bears’ gym.
The victory ran Lahainaluna’s all-sport Maui Interscholastic League record winning streak to 83 games. The eight-time defending MIL Division I champions are 10-0 this season and have sewn up the regular-season title and top seed in the league tournament, scheduled for Jan. 23-25 at Maui High.
“Coach told us in the locker room that if we win, we clinch a state berth,” said Fiemea Hafoka, a freshman guard who led the Lunas with 11 points. “We were just trying to run the plays and do everything our best.”
The Lunas’ best is up there with anyone’s, according to Baldwin assistant coach Lorie Yanuaria.
“They are tough, they play as a team,” said Yanuaria, who was filling in while head coach Angel Kalehuawehe attended a wedding. “Their defense is one of the best in the state.”
The Lunas led 24-4 at the end of the first quarter, when they were 15-of-21 from the free-throw line, and 40-10 at halftime – after the Bears (1-9) scored the final five points of the second quarter.
“We don’t want to let up, we have secured one of the spots, but we want to get some momentum going into the last two games,” Rickard said.
Baldwin, which got 12 points from Kalehuawehe, one of only two seniors on the roster, managed to turn off the mercy-rule running clock twice in the third quarter.
Hafoka may be new to the red-and-black program, but is aware of the legacy.
“We know about it,” she said with a sly smile. “We want to keep it going and see how far we can go.”
Rickard said the streak can be a two-edged sword.
“They have it in the back of their head,” he said.
“We don’t want that to be the focus of our season. The streak is going to come to an end eventually, but these girls know that they don’t want to be the ones to contribute to it.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Fiemea Hafoka 11, Jade Chihara 4, Taylor Bates 10, Loke Basques 0, Keleah-Aiko Koloi 8, Lindsey Bates 5, Aloha Salem 10, Petiola Tuakoi 6, Kayla Blando 2, Andilyn Alavazo 4, Makana Kaaikala Cabon 0.
Dayna Calubaquib 2, Kristina Egdamin 2, Alissa Nakamura 0, Karissa Kalehuawehe 3, Shevone Shimabuku 0, Shayla Guzman 0, Kaci Shimabuku 0, Kiana Kalehuawehe 12, Torye Cugal 0, Honi Kaaea 0, Leni Nuila 0.