Lunas lead way on All-State team
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
After bringing renewed pride to Maui's West Side, Lahainaluna point guard Maiki Viela, center Milika Taufa and coach Todd Rickard highlight The Advertiser's 2010 All-State Girls Basketball Team.
Viela was named Player of the Year, Taufa joins her on the first team and Rickard was named Coach of the Year. All three played key roles in helping the Lunas win their first state championship.
Joining Viela and Taufa on the All-State first team are 'Iolani point guard Lori Yamashita, Konawaena point guard Dawnyelle Awa and Farrington shooting guard Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo.
Viela, a 5-foot-4 junior, averaged 16.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and four assists per game as Lahainaluna went a perfect 17-0 throughout the regular and postseason.
But her value was especially evident during the state tournament. She scored 23 points, dished out four assists and made four steals in a 68-46 quarterfinal victory over O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Roosevelt.
Then, Viela scored 29 points, grabbed four rebounds, made four steals and had three assists in a 64-56 semifinal win over Punahou, helping the Lunas withstand early foul trouble which sent Taufa to the bench for an extended period in the first half.
In the 47-45 title game victory over defending champ Konawaena, Viela again played all 32 minutes and scored nine points, dished three assists, grabbed three rebounds and made two steals. Her free throw with eight seconds remaining gave the Lunas the final margin.
Taufa, a 6-3 senior, scored nine straight points to help Lahainaluna overcome a 37-26 deficit with one minute left in the third period and tie the title game at 37-37 with 5:38 remaining. She later scored six straight to put the Lunas ahead, 46-39, with 1:51 left and finished with a game-high 26 points, adding nine rebounds.
Taufa scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the semifinal win over Punahou.
Yamashita, a 5-4 senior, was 'Iolani's steady floor leader throughout a season challenged by numerous injuries. She was named Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year after leading the Raiders to a runner-up league finish and into the state semifinals.
Awa, a 5-8 sophomore, similarly was a steadying force for a young Wildcats team that played most of the regular season without injured guard Lia Galdeira, the 2009 Advertiser State Player of the Year. Awa won Big Island Interscholastic Federation East Division Player of the Year honors.
Tatupu-Leopoldo, a 5-9 junior and like Taufa a repeat All-State first-team selection, was a constant scoring threat for a Governors team that won its second straight O'ahu Interscholastic Association championship.
Rickard, in his 15th season with the Lahainaluna program, was named Coach of the Year after helping the Lunas become the first Maui Interscholastic League team to win a Division I girls basketball state title.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com