Lahainaluna improves to 9-1 in nonleague games
LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team is playing a lot.
The Lunas won their fourth game in three days, 52-33 over Mililani, on Saturday night at Lahainaluna gym to claim the title in the Lahainaluna Thanksgiving Tournament.
Two weeks ago, the Lunas played six games in three days, competing in two tournaments on Oahu.
On Saturday, four players scored eight or more points for Lahainaluna, led by sophomore Fiemea Hafoka’s 11, as the team improved to 9-1 on its nonleague slate.
“We are in pretty good shape, but we can do better, though,” Hafoka said. “We can get in more shape.”
The Lunas’ only loss is to defending Division I state champion Kamehameha Kapalama. They own victories over state powers Punahou, Kahuku, Kapolei and Kaiser.
Lahainaluna opens Maui Interscholastic League play Tuesday with a game at Maui High, then goes to the Big Island on Thursday for a tournament that will have Konawaena and Hilo on the docket. After playing the Vikings at 10 a.m. Saturday, the Lunas must be home in time for a Saturday-night MIL game with King Kekaulike at the Lahaina Civic Center.
“We just have to settle down and play our game,” said Lahainaluna junior point guard Lindsey Bates.
“Our confidence is growing, but we just have to take one game at a time.”
Lahainaluna defeated Kalani 68-30 on Thursday morning and beat Honokaa 59-21 that evening, then downed Leilehua 62-34 on Friday to set up the showdown with Mililani, which beat Konawaena earlier in the tournament. The Wildcats – winners of three of the last five D-I state crowns – and Lunas decided not to play each other in the tournament since they are slated to meet in the Big Island event.
Todd Rickard, who has coached Lahainaluna to nine MIL titles and 87 league wins in a row, says this may be his best squad since the 2010 state-championship team, which had Maiki Viela and Milika Taufa, both now on NCAA rosters.
“We have beat a lot of good teams I think we just keep getting better each game,” Rickard said.
Keleah-Aiko Koloi had nine points and 11 rebounds for the Lunas on Saturday, while Aloha Salem pitched in nine points and Loke Basques added eight – 10 of the 13 players on the roster scored.
“I think we are the deepest we have been in years,” Rickard said. “So, basically, no matter who we take out, we are not going to lose that much or drop off significantly – that way we can rest our starters and they come in fresh.”
Trojans coach Patrick Basilio saw enough to be convinced.
“I knew coming into this season they were going to be one of the top dogs,” he said. “I have been voting them No. 2 in the preseason rankings, only because Kamehameha is the defending champions. Kamehameha beat them, but they had played, like, six games straight in three days. (Rickard) was crazy when he loaded that schedule.”
The Lunas used a full-court press throughout the game.
“They are like maniacs on the court. It was good for my girls to see that type of competition,” said Basilio, who said he considers his team, 7-2 in preseason play, to be a contender in the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Rickard said there is one goal for this season.
“I mean, I look at it as going all the way,” he said. “That is what these girls are looking at and they are working towards getting there.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Jerika Dacuycuy 4, Kayla Torres 2, Alex Ancheta 1, Kristen Tamagawa 0, Jamie Yuki 0, Mikaela Limper 2, Zyriana Davies 4, Sabrina Stratton 0, Shantel Appleby 6, Summer Bolibol 6, Jinaya Reese 0, Sarah Liva 8.
Mina Faaumu 0, Fiemea Hafoka 11, Kalena Balingit 0, Taylor Bates 5, Kyla Blando 0, Loke Basques 8, Kelah-Aiko Koloi 9, Lisa Hafoka 0, Lindsey Bates 5, Aloha Salem 9, Folau Hafoka 3, Kalo Uhila 2.