Lunas start MIL slate with win

Lahainaluna defeats inexperienced Baldwin team 75-6, prepares to continue tough nonleague schedule

Susi Namoa of Lahainaluna High School drives to the basket during the Lunas’ 75-6 win over Baldwin in the teams’ Maui Interscholastic League opener on Tuesday night at the Lahaina Civic Center. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — This was not about the final score for either team.

The Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team opened its Maui Interscholastic League season with a 75-6 win over Baldwin at the Lahaina Civic Center on Tuesday night.

It was the 149th straight league win for the Lunas, who went 3-3 against a tough preseason schedule, including losses to the top three teams in the state rankings and a quadruple-overtime win over perennial power Konawaena.

“I kind of got butterflies, I was really excited to start our season,” sophomore guard Ashley Akamine said after scoring a game-high 16 points for the Lunas. “Preseason is a lot of experience — it’s good to see what our new players can bring to us.”

The Lunas will play in the Iolani Classic next week, opening against national power Pinewood, Calif. To that end, senior leader Susi Namoa did not play much on Tuesday night — she was resting a sore heel that she banged up last week.

Lahainaluna’s Ashley Akamine looks to shoot Tuesday.

“With these games we actually try to use a lot of detail,” Namoa said after scoring just one point in 3 minutes played, all in the second quarter. “Focus on the little things because games like this we tend to play down to other teams when we actually want to play up to our level so we can get prepared to play against bigger teams like Kona, Maryknoll, Iolani.

“We just want to focus on the little details that we are going to need, like boxing out and following your shot. We are going to need that in the big state games.”

Namoa hurt her ankle in a loss to Kalani, one day after she scored 41 points in the epic win over Konawaena. She is considered one of the top players in the state.

“I was going full speed and I stopped — it was my heel,” she said. “Right now we’re just trying to getting the girls in, getting myself better, getting better for next week when we play in the Iolani Classic.”

Against Baldwin, the Lunas led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter and 42-0 before Taylor Manangan scored on a layup with 2 minutes left in the first half.

Baldwin’s Taylor Manangan drives up court as the Lunas’ Abby Akamine defends.

While 12 Lunas scored, Manangan and Kyra Cambra each scored three points for the Bears, who have three softball players, three volleyball players, a soccer standout and a cheerleader/track athlete out for the team.

Eight Bears had never played the game of basketball and their season was in doubt when “only four or five” players were out during scheduled tryouts, according to longtime coach Angel Kalehuawehe.

“I’m having fun with this group because they like to learn, they are out there and want to learn,” Kalehuawehe said. “That’s half the battle if you’re coaching.”

The athletes from other sports stepped up to help the Bears field a team, which will help keep the MIL Division I state tournament representation at two teams.

“They want to be out there, but it’s going to be an interesting season,” Kalehuawehe said.

Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard is looking forward to the Iolani Classic with a young team that has four seniors, no juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen. The Lunas have beaten Kona, Hilo and Kamehameha Kapalama, while losing to Iolani, Maryknoll and Kalani.

“I think we can improve off of that (preseason slate),” Todd Rickard said. “In a game like tonight we started like we normally start, you know, full-court pressure, get all the girls going. A lot of it has to do with just us trying to get everybody into the game and give them a lot of experience and try to find what chemistry is going to work for us and take it from there.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

BALDWIN (6)

Jordyn Vierra 0, Kyra Cambra 3, McKenzie Schwindler 0, Tia Caulford 0, Taylor Manangan 3, Precious Rayray 0, Aya Buttaro 0, Shalei Lee Awai 0, Kaia Stefurak 0, Jeziel Pulgados 0, Angel Dela Cruz 0, Makayla Chung 0, Saree-Ann Kekahuna 0, Kealani Pasene-Keahi 0.

LAHAINALUNA (75)

Aira Baguyo 6, Abby Akamine 10, Teani Buenconsejo 1, Ashley Akamine 16, Alea Kimokeo 9, Erin Hookano 7, Kiera Kaniho 2, Piper Pascua 7, Taylor Eldredge 4, Alexia Plaza 0, Teani Rickard 2, Susi Namoa 1, Taioalo Wolf 10.

Baldwin 0 4 1 1– 6

Lahainaluna 20 26 13 16–75

KING KEKAULIKE GIRLS 43, MAUI HIGH 33

KING KEKAULIKE (43)

Cailyn Ukida 11, Charlie Abreu 8, T.C. Pahukoa 0, Namahana Young 10, Anna Lee Peters 0, Heather Pease 10, Kreyajan Pahukoa 2, Kalia Purdy 2.

MAUI HIGH (33)

Honey Let Padasdao 12, Hiilani Arai 2, Kayla Thornton 5, Kealohi Real 0, Kylenna Rieta 7, Leiana Thornton 0, Natea Rosete-Tokunaga 5, Sophia Otsuka 0, Nicole Otsuka 0, Atasha Timbreza 0, Makena Stevenson 0, Ronie Butihi 2, Althea Garduque 0.

King Kekaulike 4 9 15 15–43

Maui High 13 7 9 4–33

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct. GB

King Kekaulike 1 0 1.000 —

Lahainaluna 1 0 1.000 —

Kamehameha Maui 0 0 .000 1⁄2

Baldwin 0 1 .000 1

Maui High 0 1 .000 1

Tuesday’s Results

Lahainaluna 75, Baldwin 6

King Kekaulike 43, Maui High 33

Friday’s Game

Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

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