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West Maui Youth Basketball League teams fill up fast

By Staff | Nov 21, 2019

Anela and Sean Gordon help provide leadership for the West Maui Youth Basketball League.

LAHAINA – The West Maui Youth Basketball League is perhaps the Valley Isle’s most endearing keiki sports program. Established 36 years ago by a pioneer of youth athletics here on the West Side, “Dandy” Don Rosenthal, the program continues to flourish and will tip off a new season with practices beginning in early December.

West Maui Youth Basketball League Commissioner Sean Gordon reported that upwards of 400 slots were filled in one hour after sign-ups began. Parents, grandparents and siblings lined up at the Lahaina Civic Center office beginning at 3 a.m. to register their keiki for the renowned hoops program.

As is the case every year, the rosters for the Termite Division for kindergarteners ages 4-5, the Tiny Mites (grades 1-2, ages 6-7), Peewees (grades 3-5, ages 8-10), Midgets (grades 6-8, 11-14 years) and the Menehune travel team of selected sixth- to eighth-graders were immediately filled at the opening of registration.

“We had some of our veteran coaches retire, so we were in a bind to fill all of the spots we needed to,” explained Commish Gordon, himself a product of the WMYBL along with his dad, his three children and his wife’s family, the Kenolios.

“But we managed to find some coaches for those slots, and we’re in the process of filling the Menehune team openings. So this meant that we could proceed with our plans for four teams in the Termite Division, eight in the Tiny Mites, 12 in the Peewees and eight in the Midgets, all with 12 kids on the rosters. The tryouts for the Menehune team will be held on November 18-22 at the Dream Courts at the Lahaina Civic Center.”

Gordon had high praise for the program’s support staff, including District Supervisor Angus Peters III, Recreation Program leader Yolanda Dukes, Recreation Assistants Jade Chihara and Milton Rickard, along with longtime league officials Anela Gordon, Michelle Gordon, Steve Ashfield, Steve McCabe, Ana Lauese, Casey Smythe and Al Dasugo.

“I’d like to send a big shout-out to my wife, Anela; the West Maui Parks and Recreation staff; the veteran coaches like Al (Dasugo), Mario Balagso, Karen Murphy, Lori Kaufman, Andy Alavaso, Krim Kenolio and many others. Most especially, thank you to the West Side community for always supporting our keiki in all that they do.”

The WMYBL hoop dreams will tip off on Jan. 11, 2020, with all divisions playing two rounds leading up to the All-Star Games and Awards Ceremony on March 21. The Menehune teams will travel to play select teams in Kahului, Wailuku, Upcountry, and Kihei to determine the champion.