LAHAINA - The West Maui Girls Basketball Club is currently competing in the End of Trail Shootout Tournament, one of the most prestigious high school events in the nation, at Oregon City, Oregon.
The tournament features more than 200 teams from across the country competing over the weekend of July 6-9 in front of college scouts and coaches from the top programs in the United States.
This tournament is a prime opportunity for the WMGBC to showcase their ability for the college representatives in attendance.
The club is made up of the Lahainaluna High School team that has won seven straight Maui Interscholastic League championships - 73 games in a row in conference play - and appeared in five straight state final fours, winning the title in 2010.
It is an invitational tournament, and Lahainaluna was given the opportunity to compete there courtesy of the Konawaena girls basketball program, the top team in Hawaii and two-time defending state champions, who relinquished their slot to the Lady Lunas.
Since the opportunity arose about a year ago, the WMGBC has been on a feverish fundraising campaign to send the girls to Oregon for the event, which includes a preliminary competition over the weekend of June 29 to July 1, a basketball camp and tournament on July 5 at the sparkling new University of Oregon arena, the elite event of the End of Trail Shootout July 6-9 and college campus tours throughout the week.
Fundraising chairman Don Rosenthal emphasized the importance of this opportunity for the Lady Lunas to gain exposure to college scouts and to compete against the top teams in the country.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for our girls to be seen by college coaches and a chance for the Lady Lunas to play against top competition," he said.
"It's been a long five months or so to do the fundraising to get the girls there, but we got it done thanks to an outstanding effort by the parents and the never-ending support of the West Side community and Maui in general," added Rosenthal, who was joined by JoAnn and Mike Bates and Aurora Matsuda on the steering committee.
"This group of parents is really special and really put out positive energy to get to the goals of the team. Now it's time for everyone to enjoy the ride."
The traveling team is made up of senior co-captains Amanda Matsuda and Jade Chihara, and classmates Makana Ka'aikala Caban and Moana Hafoka; juniors Loke Basques and Misha Whitehead; sophomores Lindsay Bates, Taylor Bates, Aloha Salem, Folau Hafoka and Mina Faaumu; freshmen Andilyn Alavaso, Keleah Koloi and Fiemea Hafoka; eighth-grader Kalo Uhila; and coach Mike Bates.