Lunas open with victory
LAHAINA — There are a few things that work like clockwork in the Maui Interscholastic League, but none can be counted on more than the Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team.
The Lunas opened league play Tuesday night at the Lahaina Civic Center with their 135th MIL win in a row — a streak that dates back to 2008 — with a workmanlike 58-18 win over Kamehameha Maui, a state quarterfinalist a year ago.
“It took some time, but you’ve got to give credit to them,” Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard said of a slow start that saw his team lead by one point four minutes into the game. “They’re big and if your shots aren’t falling, missing layups and golden opportunities, I mean, you get one chance.”
The Lunas led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter.
“As a team we weren’t there yet, our heads were out of the place,” said Lahainaluna senior guard Braeanna Estabillo, who finished with 11 points. “We just needed to get everybody’s mindset all together and gel as a team — in the second half, it showed.”
Kealia Sjostrand hit a baseline jumper to bring the Warriors within 16-13 with 6 minutes, 40 seconds left in the second quarter. The Lunas finished the half on a 7-1 run and then allowed just two baskets the rest of the way.
“They’re missing pieces and then the new pieces come in,” Kamehameha Maui coach Victor Aguirre said. “And then their 3-point shooting is actually what did us wrong. They’re solid.”
The Lunas hit nine 3-pointers in the game, five of them in the second half. Kayjan Pahukoa, who had 11 points, and Estabillo each had three treys.
Both teams were missing injured starters.
The Warriors expect Ashley Peralta back soon from a sprained ankle that she suffered in their only nonleague game so far, a three-point loss to Mililani last week. The Lunas, who have advanced to at least the state semifinals eight of the past nine years, were without Susi Namoa, who is battling a sore knee, and Keiko Aotaki, who was in a walking boot on her left foot.
Kimani Fernandez-Roy and Mikiala Sniffen each had seven points to lead the Warriors.
“That’s when it’s fun, when they have all their guys and we have all our guys,” Aguirre said. “I think next game we see them we’ll be at full strength.”
Said Rickard: “Susi is already practicing with us and Keiko’s not too far off.”
Rickard said the streak is never too far away from his team’s collective psyches.
“It’s still the first game, so we’ve got a lot to work on,” Rickard said. “They know about the streak, and I hate to say, but sometimes I wish we weren’t in this position. Sometimes they just focus on that and they don’t want to be the ones to lose it, but we try and tell them, ‘Hey, just go out there and play.’ “
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
KAMEHAMEHA MAUI (18)
Siena Poepoe 0, Kealia Sjostrand 2, Jamielee Felipe 0, Chasey Koomoa-Sidney 0, Brylee Carillo 0, Shaylisse Gregory 0, Tatiana Soon 0, Kayla Yamashita 0, Logan Spencer 0, Kimani Fernandez-Roy 7, Mikiala Sniffen 7, Kaylee Cambra 0, Angel Pauole 4, Tatiana Martinez 0.
Tiani Buenconsejo 5, Rachael Balagso 7, Braeanna Estabillo 11, Kayjan Pahukoa 11, Maalaea Kaneaiakala 4, Erin Hookano 7, Kreyajan Pahukoa 6, Abigail Akamine 0, Tcleen Pahukoa 3, Tori Tihada 0, Sheilaika Agbayani 0, Teani Rickard 2, Ashley Akamine 2.
KS Maui 9 5 2 2–18
Lahainaluna 13 10 16 19–58
W L Pct. GB
King Kekaulike 1 0 1.000 —
Lahainaluna 1 0 1.000 —
Maui High 0 0 .000 1⁄2
Baldwin 0 1 .000 1
Kamehameha Maui 0 1 .000 1
King Kekaulike 65, Baldwin 30
Lahainaluna 58, Kamehameha Maui 18
Wednesday, Dec. 6
King Kekaulike at Maui High, 7 p.m.
Lahainaluna at Baldwin, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9
Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna at Lahaina Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.