Former players return to mentor Westside Boys
LAHAINA — For the most part, the coaching staff of the Westside Boys of the Maui County Menehune Basketball League nurtured their childhood hoops dreams on the Lahaina Civic Center Gymnasium court.
And today, after fulfilling those hopes at Lahainaluna with the high school team, they are back to mentor the next generation on that same hard court.
First-year head coach Nick Webb leads the way for the Westside Boys assisted by Alec Austin, Iolani Kaniho, Chad Santiago, Peter Hett, Casey Smythe and Brandon Webb.
“Most of us came up through this program and went on to Lahainaluna, so it’s really an honor to be able to come back and be a part of it all,” said Coach Nick from the gleaming floor of the Lahaina Civic Center court, home of the Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament.
“We see how Coach Todd (Rickard) and Coach John (Dudley) have brought success to the high school teams. We see the wheels turning in the right way, and we’re in awe of all that. We are happy to be a part of it.”
The Westside Boys are currently in second place in the Maui Menehune League standings with an 8-2 mark going into next week’s championship tournament at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku.
“We play a lot of high-pressure defense with full, half and 1-3-1 trapping pressure, and mostly a 1-4 high offense to use our physical presence inside with some of our big guys. We feel that if we play tough defense and rebound, that we will win most of the time,” Webb explained.
The leadership core of the Westside Boys is led by eighth grade returnees and team captains Josh Chapital and Wayne Alibin, along with classmates Peni Taufa, Amateo Flores, Cyrus Kama, Marvin Sidon, Marvince Sanchez and Ryan Madera.
Seventh grade returning players are Drew Austin and Calen Matsuda, joined by Chris Kaniho, Justin Inovejas and Justice Lewis.
Newcomers to the team are Herzin Cardenas and Carver Locke. The team mascot is La’akea Webb.
“This is a great group of kids,” beamed Coach Nick as he prepared the team for the upcoming challenge.
“They are coachable and want to win, as they have seen what the success of the high school teams brings to the community. We are glad to be a part of it and, being from Lahaina, we see the standard of the West Side and how to be lokahi with the youth leagues.”