Team Aloha Basketball Will Head to the Mainland in late April

MW-Mufi-040214-Mfi-Laurie-DellaIt’s that time of year when the conch shell is blown as a signal to island residents to sign up to “take control of your diabetes” (TCOYD) through the 15th annual TCOYD Conference and Health Fair Saturday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hawaii Convention Center.

For more on the TCOYD Conference read: A Poipourri Of Health and Sports

For examples of physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, eight of Hawaii’s most talented scholar/athletes have been selected to be a part of the latest edition of Team Aloha: Hawaii women’s basketball that will head to the Mainland in late April to play in the Arizona Elite Spring Classic.

This is the eighth group of young women who have made this sojourn to the Mainland, which enables them to gain exposure in front of college scouts and hopefully attract interest and scholarship offers.

The other benefit is that it has helped demonstrate that our local wahine can compete at the highest levels, as evidenced by the fact that Team Aloha has won 75 percent of its games, including one in 2006 when it won the prestigious Nike Storm and Swish tournament in California.

TA alumni who received scholarships from Division I colleges competing this season include Konawaena’s Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa at Washington State; Milika Taufa and Maiki Viela from Lahainaluna playing at Indiana and Gonzaga; Punahou’s Shawna Kuehu and Kalei Adolpho of Molokai, of UH’s Rainbow Wahine squad; and Iolani’s Alex Masaquel at William and Mary, and Kylie Maeda, whose BYU Cougars advanced to this year’s NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen.

The Lady Cougars also gave a scholarship to Kamehameha-Kapalama senior Alohi Robins-Hardy, a three-time TA player. In years past, TA alumni also have received scholarships to other Division 1 powers, including UNLV, USC, UC-Berkeley and Utah, to name a few.

Looking to build on this tradition, from the 2014 roster is the state’s most outstanding player, sophomore Chanelle Molina of Konawaena, who will joined by her classmate Ihi Victor; state champion Punahou’s Tyra Moe; 6-foot-2 post Jeneva Toilolo of Farrington; Hilo’s Alexis Pana; Patria Vaimoana of Kailua; Millilani’s Shantel Appleby; and from Maui, Lindsay Bates of Lahainaluna.

One of the assistants to head coach Fran Villarmia-Kahawai is Keisha Kanekoa, a former Honokaa standout who, like Villarmia-Kahawai, lettered at UH. Kanekoa was a member of the 2006 TA championship team that was tutored by former UH head coach Dana Takehara-Dias.