West Maui Youth Basketball League celebrates season with all-star games
LAHAINA – The West Side’s sunshine event of the season tipped off last Saturday, as the West Maui Youth Basketball League celebrated its 2019 season with the annual All-Star Games and Awards Ceremony.
Every year, the West Maui Parks and Recreation Department-sponsored organization fills the Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium with family and friends to honor the players, coaches and supporters of one of the top youth sports programs of Maui County.
Community business leader Leilani’s on the Beach sponsors the WMYBL All-Star Games and Awards Ceremony that features the select teams pitted in contests featuring the top players in each of the Tiny Mite Division for grades 1-2, the Pee Wee level for grades 3-5 and the Midget category for sixth to eighth grade student-athletes.
The Tiny Mite game led off the action on the sparkling Lahaina Civic Center court with the East team, coached by Jay Casey of the Blazers, facing the West squad coached by Mark Merrill of the Raptors. The East roster included Nolan Redaus, Cruz Bianucci and Destine Tufaga-Setefano of the Blazers; Treven Cabanilla of the Bulls; Skyler Pagdilao, Keiji Kukahiko and Elaijah Bularon from the Celtics; and Abram Castro, Nolan Hashimura-Agmata, Mariah Kauvaka and Rosana Kauvaka representing the Thunder.
The West team was made up of Alexander Kosianowski, Milo Merrill and Eli Bennett of the Raptors; Kelii Tihada, Kolten Magno, Taleah Toshikiyo and Noah Nuesca-Alpuro from the Heat; Delaney Dagupion and Kini Varona representing the Magic; and Alejandro Valdez and Crissa Ann Bumagat of the Timberwolves.
Also honored on the Tiny Mite All-Star rosters but unable to play in the game due to prior commitments were Sheamus McGill and Kyler Strona of the Bulls; Haweo Gonzalves of the Magic; and Max Dudley from the Timberwolves.
In the Pee Wee match-ups, Paige Curimao of the Hawks coached the East squad that included Ty Gomes and Jack Gleeson representing the Hawks; Tiffany Sana and Asher Halik from the Heat; Aiden Navarro and Lillian Kauvaka of the Knicks; Sepesi Pousima-Mendoza, Solomona Kuresa and Tyson Keanini from the Celtics; and Hoku Arnold, Sway Bayol and Cameron Henry of the Warriors.
The West team was coached by Edgar Brands from the Lakers, and his player roster included Kamaha’o Frias-Kaauamo, Zedekaiah Campbell and Ezekiel Opunui representing the Lakers; Cash Taylor of the Blazers; Kamalani Kaili from the Bulls; Trasyn Nava, Ozzie Serle and Brayden Valencia of the Magic; Colton Nolasco of the Rockets; Keale Kuluhiwa and Moku Basques of the Thunder; and Kawa’a Ah Hee from the Timberwolves.
Taj Mohrman (Blazers), Lily Buden (Magic), Ghesiah Auwae (Thunder), Callee Cuaresma (Timberwolves) and Flynn Williams (Warriors) were Pee Wee Division selections but unable to participate in the event.
In the featured Midget Division match-up, the Timberwolves’ Judson McCall coached the East team that was made up of Tyreece Tadena, Gevin Ganoot and Shane Ambida representing the Timberwolves; Sosaia Ma, Kawika Kaili and Harley Ganoot from the Celtics; Shyla Rodrigues and Noa Gordon of the Magic; and Larry Abut, Aiden Alibin, Kaulana Tihada and Jackson Hussey from the Thunder.
Veteran WMYBL coach Mario Balagso from the Pistons led the West team that was comprised of Tyrone Concepcion, Troy Concepcion and Justin Barre of the Pistons; John Simon, Kailikea McCabe, Nohi Casco, Joshua Dagulo and Zean Lagpacan from the Hawks; Jazmin Mathias, Kailie Kalepa and Giovanni Baltazar representing the Lakers; and Bryson Torricer of the Mavericks.
Unable to attend the event were Sylas Jenkins and Justice Spence from the Lakers; Landon Long of the Magic; Travis Koyama and Camden Fugate from the Mavericks; and Andrew Nguyen of the Timberwolves.
The coveted Sportsmanship Award and Coach of the Year honors were given at halftime of each contest. For the Tiny Mites, Nolan Hashimura-Agmata was honored for the Sportsmanship Award and longtime WMYBL coach Lori Kaufman was recognized as Coach of the Year. In the Pee Wee Division, the recognition was awarded to player Hokku Arnold and mentor Steve Royer, and in the Midget category, player Kailie Kalepa and coach Joel Navarro were honored.
West Maui Parks and Recreation Director Sean Gordon, who has participated in the program spanning over 30 years as a player, coach, official and commissioner, had high praise for his assistant Yolando Dukes, Maui County, the volunteer coaches in all four divisions and particularly to the veteran staff and officials, including Steve Ashfield, Casey Smythe, Steven McCabe, Ana Lauese, Jade Chihara, Michelle Gordon, Al Dasugo, Nani Kenolio, Kasen Gordon and – most especially – to his wife, Anela Gordon.
“It’s been another great season, and we send our sincere mahalo to all of our community supporters – especially our loyal sponsors – for their constant contributions to the West Maui Youth Basketball League,” Commissioner Gordon concluded.