LAHAINA — With seven consecutive Maui Interscholastic League titles, a state championship two years ago and a fourth place finish last season for the girls team, along with two straight MIL crowns for the boys, there is no question that Lahainaluna High School basketball is on a roll.
That drive to the top moves on by way of continuing off-season training and participation in events like the Maui Summer Classic tournament that tips off next week Monday, July 11-17.
“This tournament is definitely a good test for us with the Mainland teams coming over to participate, and a great opportunity for our girls to get a feel for how our team is developing,” said veteran Lady Lunas coach Todd Rickard, who also serves as a member of the tournament steering team.
“We are really thankful to (tournament director) Michael Bradley for keeping this event going in the face of the tough economic times that all are facing.”
Things are tough indeed, but Bradley keeps the faith and carries on with the seventh running of the event.
“Yeah, it’s getting harder and harder to get the teams over there due to the higher costs of everything,” he explained last week.
“There are teams from Idaho, Washington, Arizona and California, as well as teams from Hilo and Honolulu, to compete with 19 teams from Maui in the tournament field. It’s a good tournament, and we’re fortunate to have enough teams to make it work out the way it has.”
“We’re really grateful to people like Jeff Anderson from the Maui County Parks and Recreation, Bob Straub from the Mayor’s Office and Todd Rickard, our onsite director, for their help in keeping the tournament going. We wouldn’t have been able to keep the tournament going without their help.”
This year’s Maui Summer Classic will begin with opening ceremonies at the Royal Lahaina Resort Luau with some 1,000 attendees taking part in the festivities.
The hoops action will begin on Monday in several divisions at several sites from Central Maui to Lahaina Civic Center.
Levels of play are set up for boys and girls in seventh and eighth grade in youth divisions; a high school junior varsity bracket for age 14 and under; and the elite high school varsity category.
The tournament includes club teams and AAU groups participating and welcomes graduating seniors to play for college recruitment purposes.
“We want the teams to come over and vacation and have some fun playing hoops,” added Bradley.
Games will take place at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku, the Maui High gym in Kahului, the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium on the Lahainaluna campus and at the main venue at Lahaina Civic Center, where the finals in all divisions will take place, as well as the closing ceremonies and awards presentations.
First place teams will receive a bronze signature ball and tournament hoodies, second place finishers will be presented a unique picture box and sweatshirts, and inspirational individual awards will also be given out.
The tournament is put on by Bradley’s On The Ball Youth Basketball organization and Maui County. Tournament sponsors include the County of Hawaii, State of Hawaii, Ultra Hawaii, USSSA.com, The Coca Cola Company, and TIS.
For more information on the tournament, call 661-4685.