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Luna boys hoops team ready to defend MIL title

By Staff | Dec 9, 2010

The team includes (from left): front — Llumel Magana, Jarren Cabajar, Micah Arcangel, TJ Rickard, Michael Huliganga, Bryson Pescado and RJ Salmasan; back row — John Mishima, Folau Tauese, Amanaki Vakalahi, Gavin Kahaialii, Feleti Taufa, Leroy Rickard and Luke Dudley. Photo by Walter Chihara.

LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School boys basketball head coach John Dudley is an intense man. Whether providing for his family, running a business or coaching a Maui Interscholastic League team, Dudley is a person of purpose and focus.

After spending four years as the Seabury Hall coach and then last season as the leader of the Luna junior varsity boys, he now steps up to take the reins of the Lahainaluna hoops program at the varsity level.

His purposeful personality is a perfect fit for Lahainaluna basketball — a program that has traditionally relied upon up-tempo strategies at both ends of the court.

Moreover, as a successful businessman here on Maui, Coach Dudley maintains a keen sense to detail and organization that is essential for success on the Valley Isle hard court.

Along with assistants Wayne Naruse, John Ibus and Lawrence Carnecelli, Dudley inherits a team that captured the MIL championship for the 2009-10 season with a 12-2 record.

Optimism for a repeat reigns at the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium on the historic Lahainaluna campus, as ten returning seniors — including four starters — lead the way on the road to the repeat title.

According to Coach Dudley, the Luna charge will flow through team captain and point guard RJ Salmasan, along with returning starters TJ Rickard, Luke Williams and Amanaki Vakalahi.

The bench is deep and talented with seniors Leroy Rickard, Micah Arcangel, Michael Huliganga, Llumel Magana, Bryson Pescado and Jarren Cabajar, as well as juniors Feleti Taufa, John Mishima, Gavin Kahaialii and Folau Tauese all battling for court time.

“We’ve got really strong guard play, we’re quick and we have a lot of experience,” Coach Dudley commented last week. “But our most important asset is that these kids have been playing together for years in the West Maui Youth Basketball League. There is strong unity on the court among these guys. They know how to work together in our man-to-man, pressing defenses, and with our motion offense.

“We’re looking to get as much competition as we can during the preseason,” Dudley continued. “We’ve got the Hilo Tournament on the Big Island… coming up, and our Lahainaluna Invitational on December 17-22 at the Lahaina Civic Center. That will be an eight-team tournament, including teams from California (Mission Viejo), Canada and South Carolina.

“I’m really enjoying it here, and I have three great assistants to get us through the administrative stuff we have to take care of. We’re really meshing together well, and with the great fan base here on the West Side that helps tremendously, we’re looking forward to a great season.”

The Lunas will tip-off the 2010-011 MIL season on Dec. 17. Be there!