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Luna JV basketball teams learning the varsity plays

By Staff | Dec 2, 2010

The boys junior varsity team includes (from left): front — Sam Filiai, Emil Cariaga, Emmanuel Brands, Charles Vierra, Nick Vierra, Blake Ramelb and Jolimar Espiritu; back row — Brandon Agapay, Chance Emmsley Ah Yee, Kaimana Ancog, Colby Baliaris, Jason Cardenas and Jake Francis.     

LAHAINA — The final pieces of the road to youth hoop dreams realization for Lahaina are falling into place.

For over 25 years, the West Maui Youth Basketball League and Lahaina Menehune program have developed the hoops skills of hundreds of West Side boys and girls on the way to fulfill their dreams on the hard court for Lahainaluna High School.

Last year, both the Luna boys and girls teams captured Maui Interscholastic League championships. For the Lady Lunas it was the sixth straight title, and they then went on to climb to the top of the mountain and win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championship.

The aforementioned pieces on the road to continued success for the Luna basketball program come in the form of its junior varsity teams, as the freshmen and sophomore boys and girls surge forward to develop and fortify the championship-quality teams representing Lahainaluna.

Although contrasting in numbers, the girls and boys teams are similar in form and focus.

From left, Misha Whitehead, Amanda Matsuda, Petiola Tuakoi, Makana Kaaikala, Loke Rosenthal and Ho‘o Cabanilla play on the girls junior varsity basketball team. Photo by Walter Chihara.

“Our goal is to develop these JV players in the same fundamentals and systems as the varsity team,” explained Lady Lunas junior varsity head coach Casey Brummel. “We practice with the varsity every day, so we go through it all with them.”

“We’re learning the plays right now, and we want to use the pressing system Coach Todd (Rickard) uses with the varsity, but we’re limited with a short roster.”

Indeed, the JV Lady Lunas have only six players on the roster, but according to Brummel, they are quality players.

“They’re all good players — three of them are legitimate varsity players — and they are a good mix with some height, so we should be all right and we expect to win,” he said.

Coach Brummel will be assisted by Eddie Pamat, Ian Aotaki and Monique Blando, and the team roster includes Petiola Tuakoi, Makana Kaaikala, Amanda Matsuda, Ho’o Cabanilla, Misha Whitehead and Loke Rosenthal.

The Luna boys team, led by head coach Chris Salem and assistants Jorge Ruiz and Johnny Agapay, is deep and loaded with size and talent.

“These boys have a great work ethic and are united in our spirit goal to play defense like mad,” said Salem, who has worked with most of his players throughout his 11 years with the WMYBL and the Menehune League team

“This is a wonderful life experience, as working with these boys is like working within a family,” Coach Chris continued. “I’ve been blessed to work with them for many years, so this makes me very happy.”

The team roster includes Emil John Cariaga, Jake “Shake” Francis, Emmanuel Brands, Charles Vierra, Jolimar Espiritu, Jason Cardenas, Colby Baliaris, Blake Ramelb, Nick Vierra, Brandon Agapay, Chance Emmsley Ah Yee, Kaimana Ancog, Kiko Fonohema, David Faugupa and Sam Filiai.

The junior varsity boys and girls teams will play a short MIL schedule through mid-December, and then several players from both teams will move up to the varsity rosters in their runs to defend their MIL and state titles.