West Maui Youth Basketball League tips off its 34th season
LAHAINA – There were many familiar faces on the polished Lahaina Civic Center court as the West Maui Youth Basketball League recently tipped off its 34th season with opening day ceremonies and a team picture day.
Some 1,000 players, coaches, family and friends jammed the gym, home of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament each year during the Thanksgiving holiday, to enjoy the start of one of the West Side’s premiere youth sports programs.
Nearly 400 boys and girls ages 4-14 make up the rosters of the four divisions of the WMYBL, with some 60 kids on a waiting list to join the program.
League Commissioner Sean Gordon, himself a former player, coach and official in the model organization, welcomed all to the opening day festivities and praised everyone who takes part in promoting it.
“We have four divisions in this part of the league and also the two Menehune League teams,” Gordon explained last week.
“There is the Termite Division for kindergarten kids, the Tiny Mites for first- and second-graders, the Peewees for third- to fifth-graders and the Midget Division for sixth- to eighth-graders. The Menehune teams are the select middle school girls and boys that will travel to play against other districts.”
The teams will play through mid-March, with the WMYBL All-Star Game and Award Ceremonies slated for March 17 at the Civic Center.
Four teams make up the Termite Division. There are eight in the Tiny Mites, 12 in the Peewees and seven in the Midget category. The girls and boys Menehune teams have 12 players each.
Gordon is joined by a veteran group of assistants to run the league, and most of them have been with the program since its inception 34 years ago.
That group is led by West Maui Parks and Recreation representative Yolanda Dukes along with dedicated officials Steve “Specs” Ashfield, “Easy” Al Dasugo, Casey Smythe, Steven McCabe, Anela Gordon, Michelle Gordon and Nani Kenolio.
“I am so thankful for all of these people that have supported this program since the beginning,” said Sean. “They’ve all pretty much been here the whole time and do an outstanding job of creating a fun and positive sports experience for the West Side kids. We also thank all the sponsors of WMYBL, including Maui County Parks and Recreation, Jim Falk Motors, Thad Henry Design Group, Royal Lahaina Resort, Snorkel Store, Valencia Construction, West Maui Motors and many, many more. And thanks especially to all the parents and families of the kids for being involved with the kids’ participation in the program.”