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Westside Boys ready for Maui Menehune League tournament

By Staff | Mar 4, 2010

The Westside Boys team includes (from left): front — Calen Matsuda, Drew Austin, Arvin Velasco, Wayne Alibin, Brendel Manuel, Kereck Franz and Anis Bel; back row — Coach Alec Austin, Nau Filiai, Kaimana Ancog, Kiko Fonohema, Pousima Galoia, Kainoa Altier, Josh Chapital, Zach Martin and Coach Chris Salem. Coach Jorge Ruiz is not pictured.

LAHAINA — All aboard! The Westside Hoops expressway to the top is ready to roll.

Led by third-year Head Coach Chris Salem, the fourth wheel to the formula for basketball success here on the West Side — the Maui Menehune League boys team representing Lahaina — is locked in and rolling.

The Westside Boys currently hold a 7-2 record, and the team is battling among the top squads of the Maui Menehune League for intermediate school age division supremacy.

They have thus become an integral part to the overall success of the Westside Hoops program that is made up of the Lahainaluna High School boys and girls teams, as well as the Lahaina Girls Menehune League squad.

The Lady Lunas recently won a historic Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championship and their sixth consecutive Maui Interscholastic League title, and the Lahainaluna boys also won a MIL championship and are headed into the state tournament this week.

The Menehune League Lahaina Girls are also riding high in the league standings along with Coach Chris’ boys team.

What this all translates into is a proven formula for success that has propelled both Lahainaluna hoops programs to the top.

Lahainaluna basketball Head Coach Todd Rickard doesn’t hesitate to recognize the youth programs of West Maui for the success of the high school teams.

“It all goes back to the youth programs here. The West Maui Youth Basketball League and the Menehune League teams really develop the kids and teaches them the basics of basketball. I would say that almost all of the players on the boys and girls teams have come up through the youth programs. Don Rosenthal with the West Maui league and Mike Bates and Chris Salem with the menehune teams all do a terrific job of getting the kids ready to play at the high school level,” said Coach Todd.

With Rickard at the top, the Westside Hoops organization has transitioned into well-oiled machine, rolling along the high road to success.

In particular here, the Westside Boys under Salem have developed into a force in the Menehune League, which lends bright optimism to the future for the Lunas.

Despite having zero returnees from the 2009 campaign, Coach Chris and assistants Jorge Ruiz and Alec Austin have molded their 14-player roster into a winning unit.

The 2010 Westside Boys team roster includes Zach Martin, Kiko Fonohema, Brendel Manuel, Pousima Galoia, Arvin Velasco, Kaimana Ancog, Kereck Franz, Kainoa Altier, Josh Chapital, Wayne Alibin, Calen Matsuda, Anis Bel, Drew Austin and Nau Filiai.

Employing a relentless pressure defense and a motion offense, the team has held its own against a tough league and looks to be primed for the post-season championship tournament this week at the War Memorial Gym in Wailuku.

“We’re inexperienced, yes, but these kids are really focused, intelligent and athletic,” commented Salem, as he put the team through their practice paces at the Lahaina Civic Center.

“They’re a really tight-knit group, and their confidence as a team is coming around. The parents are really supportive and help tremendously, particularly with transportation and Leilani’s on the Beach helped us out as well. All this has made coaching this team a real joy.”