As the season began in December we found our team, led by seniors Carver Locke, Tavake Faleta and Jeremi Santos and under the direction of Jason Justus’ coaching staff, steamrolling through the MIL. With respect for the opposing teams, while concentrating on our defense, our average margin of victory was 34 points per game. The Lunas won their 3rd straight MIL championship yet kept their sights set on the State Tournament. We played Leilehua High School from Oahu, a team we played only 1 of 2 solid halves in a preseason tournament, and fought extremely hard against a strong team, to get past the first round in over 50 years. With our next game against defending state champions Punahou, we knew it was going to be a battle. Oh, it was such a good game, and we were right there. The boys realized they deserved to play with championship teams and although the end result was a loss, they secured a place in Lahainaluna history with the best finish in the state. Getting to play under the big lights in the big gym and taking on the big Red Raiders of Iolani, they finished with a victory and 3rd place in the state. These two teams have had our numbers in the past years, but this tournament we proved ourselves and showed we now belong in the upper echelon of the D1 Hawaii State Boys Basketball Big Dogs.
With the 2016-2017 season behind us, we had our end of season banquet at one of our favorite restaurants, Cool Cats in Lahaina and honored the coaches, managers, parents and supporters for all their hard work over the previous 3 months. You can see our end of season highlight here https://youtu.be/-hmVdPQnPXI. Our next endeavor was the Charity walk, where our fundraising goal was $100,000. This was a tremendous leap from 4 years ago where, as an organization, we were excited to raise $28,000. With the support of our donors, the investment of our kids heading to Reno, NV, parents and coaches, we raised $109,000. This money was exponentially increased to over $125,000 thanks to businesses of the Maui Hotel and Lodging association and The Charity Walk . This has been and will continue to be the most beneficial fundraiser for us, as it brings our community together, focuses on non-profits here on Maui, and teaches the kids to invest sweat equity into their futures.
We sent 13 young men over to Reno, NV in the summer to train with Coach Tom Maurer, under the guidance of Dan Williams and Jason Justus and hosted by loving Carson City families. They worked extremely hard over the summer for 7 weeks, putting in over 200 hours on the court working on moves, offensive principles, ball handling and fundamentals, and over 100 hours in the weight room gaining stability and strength. We believe the commitment these boys put into these hours is the difference maker. (insert picture of boys at practice and/or weight room). Every Friday they pile into a van and drive to Sacramento, the Bay area, Fresno or Northern Nevada to put their practice into game situations. They played more than 50 games over 7 weeks to test their skills, learn from the losses, show grace in the victories and compete against the best players in California and northern Nevada.
At the same time these young men were heading back from the mainland, graduating seniors heading off to college were leaving their home to start a new adventure. Marvin Sidon, the farthest away, begins his Junior year at Penn State Fayette, and is preparing for his 3rd year as a collegiate athlete while working on his Business Major. Ryan Madera, also of 2015 graduating class is battling injury, yet staying vigilant at DeAnza College up in the Bay Area, also entering his Junior year and studying Business Management.
Kalalani Kaaikala is studying Pre-Nursing at UH Hilo, on the neighboring island of Hawaii, and still an incredible supporter of our program. Our newest college student athletes are Carver Locke (Barstow Community College), Jeremi Santos and Tavake Faleta (Cypress College). Not only are they working hard to practice and put time on the court, they are putting time into their studies. It is a tremendous adjustment, and one that often times causes kids to come home, but we are confident that these young men will stay the course.
We were blessed by James Michael McAdoo (UNC Tarheels, Oakland Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers) and David Nurse (NBA Shooting Consultant and Coach) for a camp at the Civic Center. Westside Hoops and Basketball Maui came together to host this camp, which had over 80 kids who were led by these two awesome men of God. What an testimony for these kids and a memory they will have forever.
Westside Hoops has given scholarships to these young men and believe that they are bound for great things. This isn’t a one-time event however. As you may know, college is expensive and without our support, they won’t be able to continue their journeys.
We truly appreciate what you have already done and pray for you as a friend of the program. We pray for your families, businesses, churches and with all the crazy awful events that have transpired this year, we can find comfort that God is in control, and there is hope. This next generation is the key to the future. We must continue to support these kids knowing they will make the difference.