LAHAINA - The highlight in a wild, wet and windy winter here in Lahaina takes place this Saturday, March 9, as the 30th annual West Maui Youth Basketball League All-Star Games and Awards Ceremony tip off at the Lahaina Civic Center.
The hoops dreams for Tiny Mites (ages 5-7), Peewees (8-11) and Midgets (12-14) begin to unfold at 9:30 a.m. on the polished LCC courts that just four months ago were charged up by some of the top collegiate basketball talent in the nation in the EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament.
After the Tiny Mite contest, more of the cream of the crop of the 475 girls and boys that made up the rosters of the 20 teams in the three divisions of the WMYBL will take to the floor for the Peewee All-Star Game at 11 a.m., followed by the feature matchup of the day: the Midget Division showcase of the outstanding middle school age players.
West Maui Youth Basketball League Commissioner Don Rosenthal gets players ready to tip-off. PHOTO BY DENTON JOHNSON.
At halftime of each game, the Outstanding Coach and Sportsmanship Awards will be presented for each division.
League Commissioner Don Rosenthal sent out his gratitude to all of the sponsors of the program, with particular praise to Leilani's on the Beach and General Manager Jason Donez for TS Restaurants' continuing sponsorship of All-Star Saturday.
"We truly appreciate all the support Leilani's and Jason have provided for the kids here in West Maui," said Rosenthal.
"Thanks to Leilani's and all of the sponsors - many of them for over 20 years - we are able to continue to build sportsmanship and character through basketball in the youth of the West Side."
The top teams of the Tiny Mite Division will be well-represented on the all-star rosters with three players from the Lakers coached by Chad Viela, the Hawks' Donez leading the East squad and the Bulls' Arthur Jacinto heading up the West team.
The East lineup will include Matthew Iverson and Chelsea Ramos of the Knicks; Zach Devane of the Blazers; Tyrone Concepcion and Joshua Dagulo of the Clippers; Cash Palma, Malika Viela and Kaulana Tihada from the Lakers; Kade Cunningham and Lola Donez representing the Hawks; and Shyla Rodrigues and John Balisco from the Magic.
The West team will be made up of Chris Mueller of the Rebels; Kaedin Hanohano from the Rainbows; Kana'au Castro, Emerson Flores, Jeremy Lived and Travis Koyama representing the Bulls; Matai Howard of the Pistons; Faiva Fonohema, Ensen Hurdman and Lee A. Yap representing the Celtics; and Ian Cabanilla and Moses Flores of the Timberwolves.
The Lakers coached by Edgar Brands, the Magic coached by Mike Bates, and the Timberwolves led by Una Taukeiaho were the top teams in the Peewee Division.
Taukeiaho will head up the West squad that includes Joseph Heintz and A.J. Bianco representing the Rainbows; Tre Rickard and Sione Tuakoi from the Magic; Neil Agbayani and Matai Mata'afa of the Pistons; Jett Taueetia, Leroy Taukeiaho and Kai Payne representing the Timberwolves; Maika Barroga from the Rebels; and Kamaka Ko and Daelisa Westbrooks of the Knicks.
Longtime WMYBL coach Karyn Murphy leads the East team comprised of Liam Chadli representing the Blazers; Joshua Tihada from the Hawks; Taai Galoia and Malino Jacinto of the Celtics; Zaeden Luis, Matthew Flabino and Juztin Gaoiran representing the Rockets; Stevie Savou and Ikaika Galarita from the Bulls; and Cash McCall, Dylan Lewis and Aaron Ensminger representing the Lakers.
The Midget Division contest is always the barn burner of the day, with the young teenage all-stars heating up the LCC floor.
The top teams in the regular season were the Magic coached by the venerable Al Dasugo and the Celtics led by Ron "Kyani" Miranda, also a veteran contributor to the WMYBL.
Coach Al will lead the West team that will be made up of Carver Locke, Gunner Locke and Coleman Kingwell from the Nets; Zach Luis, Shawn Rabino and Shane Ramos representing the Lakers; Sione Lauese, Susi Namoa and Ty Bates of the Magic; and Jonah Bluh, Kenneth Padua and Nick Gayagoy from the Pistons.
Ray Lasco of the Hawks, another veteran coach of the WMYBL, will lead the East squad with a player roster of Fransver Castro and Jayden Manegdeg representing the Timberwolves; Izaak Domingo, Koa Robinson, Etuati Storer and Taylor Salmon from the Hawks; Siale Hafoka, Antonio Savou, Iverson Turno and Haneleli Pahulu of the Celtics; and Adam Quandt and Arjay Campo representing the Knicks.
Rosenthal, who has guided the league over its entire 30 years to the lofty status as one of the top youth athletic programs in the state, once again invited the West Side community to come to the Lahaina Civic Center for an exciting hoops extravaganza.
He said, "Everybody, please come out and enjoy the fun!"