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Westside Hoops looking to build comprehensive basketball program for Lahainaluna

By Staff | Oct 29, 2009

Dan Williams (left) and Scott Soldwisch are working to strengthen Lahainaluna High School’s basketball program. Photo by Walter Chihara.

LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch and basketball booster Dan Williams are both big men with big hoop dreams for the West Side.

In a conference in his office on campus last week, Soldwisch presented the format for the Lunas’ basketball program for the 2009-10 season that he and Williams hope will bring building blocks of success to the community.

“We want to build partnerships and organize a comprehensive basketball program for Lahainaluna,” Soldwisch explained.

“We’ve started by moving (girls basketball coach) Todd Rickard into a head coaching position of both the boys and girls teams with associate coaches Casey Brummel and Ian Aotaki. We want to mirror the girls program that Todd has had so much success with.”

The Lady Lunas have won five consecutive Maui Interscholastic League championships and finished in third place at the state tournament last year.

Coach Scott added, “We want to align ourselves more with the West Maui Youth Basketball League and expand and build the program with the vision of becoming a top level program. We’ve changed and improved our Christmas tournament that will now be called the Lahainaluna Invitational, and this event will be held at the Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium, as will all of the home games for the girls and the boys teams.”

To expand and improve the programs, a booster club called Westside Hoops has been formed. Williams and Scott McCabe head up the organization that looks to tighten up the relationships of Lunas basketball with the WMYBL, as well as with the community at large.

“We really want to make Lahainaluna basketball a family-friendly experience for the community,” said Williams. “With more space at the Lahaina Civic Center, we hope to bring in as much of the community as we can to watch the girls and boys play. We want the younger kids, and their families, from the youth leagues, and hopefully these kids will find high school players that they can look up to. We plan to bring in quality coaches to run clinics and camps for the youth league players and on up to the high school.”

“We want to reach out to the alumni and to the community to build a top-level program for Lahainaluna,” said Williams. “We envision a program that will travel to elite tournaments on the Mainland and in Hawaii. The Lahainaluna Invitational on December 18-22 will include defending state girls champion Punahou, runner up Konawaena, third place Lady Lunas, and fourth place Farrington, as well as teams from California, Canada and Alaska. The boys lineup features a similar group of quality teams from Hawaii and the Mainland.”

Williams and Soldwisch have also enlisted the sponsorship of the PONY athletic company, which will supply the Lunas teams with shoes and apparel.

“We’d love for local businesses and individuals to come on board with us to boost the basketball program at Lahainaluna,” said Soldwisch. “The kids are all working hard in off-season conditioning with the speed and quickness program, and they’ve also participated in the summer leagues here on Maui.”

“Hopefully, we can instill a vision of good grades and college aspirations into the kids from them using the high school players as role models. We want to build a program of success and focus like the way Coach Todd has with the girls team. I just feel that the youth league here (WMYBL) is the greatest thing. It is just wonderful to see so many little guys out there running around. They just need a little push to take it to the next level,” concluded Williams.

The junior varsity programs will tip off their seasons in mid-November, while the varsity teams will begin play in early December with off-island trips to Oahu and the Big Island leading up to the Lahainaluna Invitational that starts on Dec. 18.

For further information regarding Lunas basketball or the Westside Hoops booster club, call 276-0260.