Peralta scoops spots on Hawaiʻi All-Star, Top 20 teams


Photo by courtesy of Ashley Peralta

Senior Ashley Peralta has been selected to play on the Hawaiʻi All-Star team for their senior classic, which will showcase some of the top seniors in the state. The game will be held Mar. 3 at the Blaisdell Arena.

Five-year-old Ashley Taylor Peralta started to accept the fact that she would be dribbling, passing, and shooting a basketball her whole life, which led to an invitation to play in the Geremy Robinson Senior Classic, March 3, as part of the Hawaiʻi All-Star team.

The high school girls who were selected stood out throughout the basketball season. The game showcased their abilities and gave them the opportunity to be among other outstanding players.

According to its Facebook page, “The Hawaiʻi Senior Classic is [an all-star] basketball game that displays the best [high school] seniors in [Hawaiʻi].”

As soon as Geremy Robinson himself asked her to participate via Instagram, Peralta rushed to show her mom, who said, “Tell him yes! You can go!”

Former UH Rainbow Robinson is the owner of and player on the Swish, Hawaiʻi’s professional basketball team (American Basketball Association).

As owner of the Team Opencourt Basketball Club, Robinson was able to see Peralta’s skills in action last summer when she filled in on a team that was down one player during an Oʻahu tournament. The team’s coach saw Ashley with some down time between games and invited her to play. She made an impression, which, along with her performance on the Kamehameha Maui team and coach’s recommendation, eventually led to her invitation to the Senior Classic.

Her journey began Feb. 25 when Peralta went to Blaisdell Arena for a selection ceremony. The players were formally introduced, and she was placed on the Oʻahu Interscholastic Association (OIA)  team, who would be playing against the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) team.

The select high school athletes brought their talents to the game, also held at Blaisdell Arena.

If you have some time between Merrie Monarch competitions, watch Ashley Peralta this Saturday when she plays in the Hawaiʻi Top 20 exhibition match at the Old Airport Gym in Kona.
Photo by courtesy of Sophia Aguirre
If you have some time between Merrie Monarch competitions, watch Ashley Peralta this Saturday when she plays in the Hawaiʻi Top 20 exhibition match at the Old Airport Gym in Kona.

According to Peralta, it was an exciting one with both sides playing aggressively.

“The ball players that were there wanted to go out and show what they had, and it was just going back and forth throughout the whole game. It was really fun,” she said.

In the end, the ILH team won 107-76 over the OIA team. Peralta scored 13 points. After the game, there was a 3-point challenge, and the champion was Kiana Vierra from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. The MVP of the Robinson Classic was Talia Brandner from Calvary Chapel.

“I’m very proud of her making the Geremy Robinson Senior All-Star Team and the Hawaiʻi Top 20 teams [respectively]. It shows what hard work and the right mindset gets you. She drives me to get better at coaching every day and is truly an inspiration to what Maui girls basketball players can accomplish,” said Victor Aguirre, Ashley’s father. He is also her coach as head coach of the Kamehameha Maui jv and varsity girls basketball teams.

Aguirre has had a major influence on her love for basketball. He himself has played basketball since his elementary school days in Kīhei, and in high school at Saint Anthony’s, he averaged over 20 points a game. Although Aguirre didn’t play in college at Chaminade University, heʻs always been up for a game. In fact, in his younger days at outdoor courts on Oʻahu, he’s played pick-up ball with celebrities who’ve included Kanye West, Bruno Mars, and Woody Harrelson.

As for Peralta, she has followed in her father’s footsteps, playing the sport since elementary school. She has played for both her school team and her club, currently the Sparks, for as long as she can remember, and she aims to continue playing in college.

“I [continue] to play because I love the game so much, and from that, it grew. Now I continue to play for all the younger players that look up to me and take after me. It’s really an honor to be in the position I’m in,” she said.

During Peralta’s high school basketball career, her teammates have also grown to appreciate who she is, on and off the court.

“Playing with Ashley these past four years, I have learned a lot about her. She is persistent, eager, aggressive, and shows leadership on the court,” senior forward Kimani Fernandez-Roy said.

Peralta is tough and has overcome much to play. As a freshman, she fractured her wrist during the second game and was out for the rest of the season. This year, she received a black eye and gaping bite wound on her forehead when she collided with an opponent head-to-head. She ended up with seven stitches and a very swollen eye. Despite the circumstances, Peralta was back at the next scheduled practice and was recovered enough to play in the league and state championships.

The girls basketball team had a successful year this season, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Division 1 state tournament.

Peralta plans to play collegiate ball, but she is still undecided, keeping her options open and keeping her ear to the ground for possible scholarship opportunities. She has some interest in Menlo College and Saint Martin’s University, but said she is going to “go along for the ride” and go “wherever God leads [her].”

There is still one more chance to see Ashley play. She will be in the Hawaiʻi Top 20 exhibition game this Saturday, April 8, at the Old Airport gym in Kona on the Big Island, at 3 p.m. The game will bring together the top twenty girls in the state as selected by their high school coaches.