The Maui News 2017-18 MIL Girls Basketball All-Stars
Second Time’s a Charm: Estabillo, Tuivai again awarded top MIL Girls Basketball honors
Braeanna Estabillo is the latest on a long list of accomplished players from the Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team.
Anaulei Tuivai is helping to build a similar foundation in the Maui Interscholastic League for her Seabury Hall team.
For the second year in a row, the pair of former summertime teammates are the coaches’ choices as The Maui News’ MIL Players of the Year. Estabillo, a 5-foot-5 senior guard, gets the nod in Division I, while Tuivai, a 6-foot sophomore center, is the D-II choice.
Estabillo is part of the seventh straight Lunas’ graduating class to finish their careers 56-0 in MIL play — they have won 148 straight league games. She played in the state final four in all four of her Lahainaluna seasons — the Lunas have made nine of the last 10 state semifinals.
“It’s a privilege to be two-time Player of the Year,” Estabillo said. “Because it is all hard work, you know. Everybody out there is working for it, and it’s a big accomplishment for me. It could be for anybody else, too.”
Estabillo is joined on the D-I first team by teammates Rachael Balagso and Susitina Namoa, and Kamehameha Maui’s Ashley Taylor Peralta and Kimani Fernandez-Roy.
MIL champion coaches Todd Rickard (Lahainaluna) and John Furtado (Seabury Hall) are the MIL Coaches of the Year.
Estabillo and Balagso, who have played basketball together since they were in the 6th grade, are considering continuing their careers at Grayson College in Dennison, Texas. The NAIA Division II school is starting its basketball program next season.
Estabillo is also considering starting her career at Seattle Highline Community College in Washington.
“I clicked with her like nobody else,” Estabillo said of Balagso. “She’s like (my) backbone — I couldn’t rely on anybody else like I rely on her.”
Estabillo will miss her days as a Luna.
“We had a lot of talented players, and we may be small, but we all worked hard together,” Estabillo said. “We had some ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else other than this team.”
Tuivai is joined on the D-II first team by teammate Ameera Waterford, Lanai’s Kayla Garcia and Arriana Maltezo, and Molokai’s Sydney Rawlins.
“It’s kind of a blessing,” Tuivai said of the award. “It’s actually my goal to get it for all four years, but anything could happen. It’s really nice to see all my work pay off.”
Tuivai played with the Lunas’ nucleus for the Town and Country club team two summers ago.
“We actually went to go see her play at states,” Estabillo said. “She held the other team down and everything. She’s amazing. She’s very tall and she improved from last year. She’s more aggressive down low.”
Tuivai now plays for the Upcountry Elite club team, but she remembers her days spent with Estabillo.
“She’s a great leader,” Tuivai said of Estabillo. “She knows how to get the ball to certain players, she has really good court vision, and she’s really encouraging. She works really hard. I just remember her always helping me whenever I had a hard time with the plays — she would explain it really well.”
After losing their two state tournament games by an average of 20 points, Tuivai is working to build Seabury Hall in the image of the Lahainaluna program. For the second straight season, the Spartans had just seven on their roster.
“We’re going to get better,” Tuivai said. “We’re trying to build our program and, you know, we start from scratch. Right now, we have some girls coming from Emmanuel Lutheran and Kalama (Intermediate).”
Fellow sophomore Waterford, a point guard, is a big part of the building blocks for the Spartans.
“Me and Ameera have this joke where she’s the boss and I’m the body guard,” Tuivai said. “She’s in charge of offense and I’m charge of defense, so we both have our roles.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Division I Second Team
Honey Let Padasdao, Maui High, Guard, 5-0, Jr.
Temahh Shaw, King Kekaulike, Forward, 5-10, So.
Maalaea Kaneaiakala, Lahainaluna, Forward, 5-8, Sr.
Namahana Kaeo-Young, King Kekaulike, Guard, 5-4, Fr.
Angel Pauole, KS Maui, Center, 5-11, So.
Division II Second Team
Gina Anton, Lanai, Guard, 5-1, Jr.
Leah Vidad, Lanai, Forward, 5-3, Sr.
Tabitha Medeiros, Lanai, Forward, 5-3, Sr.
Rachel Gilbert, Seabury Hall, Forward, 5-8, Sr.
Camille Ledesma, Molokai, Guard, 5-3, Sr.
DIVISION I–Baldwin: Deja Cala Nakamura; Kamehameha Maui: Kaylee Cambra; King Kekaulike: Cailyn Ukida, Liane Tomita; Lahainaluna: Kayjan Pahukoa, Keiko Aotaki; Maui High: Nikilie Robinson.
DIVISION II–Seabury Hall: Quincee Tanaka; Molokai: Kaitlin DeRouin.