Maui High girls basketball fights for first win

Warriors go 0-4


Photo by Daisy Draper

Senior Cheyenne Maio-Silva shoots, December 14, as Nicole Pagan-Eldredge, 32 for the Sabers, attempts to block at Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku. The Sabers won, 53-40, and brought home their first win for the season.

Two teams who were 0-3 entered Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku — only one could emerge with their first win of the season.

The Maui High Sabers were the victors against Kamehameha Maui, 53-40, in the last game of the first round of girls MIL basketball last night.

The Warriors’ leading scorers were Jayden Almeida with 12 points, and Ashley Tanoue-Singson with 11 points.

The Sabers’ leading scorer was junior Liana Tanaka, who put up 15 points including three 3-point shots.

“The girls played with energy. They played with effort. They wanted this win because they didn’t want to finish the first round 0 and 4,” said Gilbert Silva, the head coach for the Sabers.

Both teams were determined to win resulting in an aggressive game with the girls spending almost as much time sprawled out as they did charging up and down the court.

Saber Kuʻulei Bailey suffered a nose injury that stopped play in the second quarter, and Kamehameha’s Tatiana Medeiros drew a technical foul when she and Bailey later plunged headfirst into the bleachers in the last two seconds of the third quarter. Bailey earned four free throws and made all four, while this was the fifth foul for Medeiros, which took her out of the game.

And, halfway into the fourth quarter, Maui’s Liana Tanaka left the court limping after being crushed under a pile-up.

“Well, every game is a little bit different, right. So this game, some of the girls really put a lot of effort in, so there was some on the ground and there was some diving for loose balls and stuff like that. This game was definitely more physical, more crazy, than other games we’ve played,” said Coach Emily Smith, who is in her first  year coaching for Kamehameha Maui.

Coach Smith, who has been on Maui for four years, said that this is her first head coaching experience. She previously coached in Texas, where she is from. 

The team faced several struggles last year. After going 7-5 in the 2011-12 season, they went 1-11 last year. Starting guard Tori Cambra (KSK ’13) transferred to the championship Kapālama team, and the small team of six was filled out with three junior varsity players.

This year, the team is struggling to make a comeback with a new coach and a larger team.

“There are two freshmen girls that have never played basketball before, and Cheyenne Maio-Silva is a returnee, but she never played last year, so we are glad to have her back,” said team captain Neʽula Aʽarona.

Though they are now 0-4 for the season, they won two games in a mini tournament at Seabury Hall last weekend — one against Kapaa High School and one against the Seabury Spartans.

Kamehameha Maui will be playing Nā Aliʻi in the first game of the second round at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, at King Kekaulike High School. The Warrior girls have made a lot progress since their first game. This one could be that first regular season win they’re looking for.