Three Big Island standouts have earned spots on Team Aloha 2014 and will help represent Hawaii in the 17th annual Arizona Elite Spring Classic girls basketball tournament.
Team Aloha is an all-star girls squad representing prep basketball programs from across the state. The Big Island players are Hilo’s Alexis Pana and Konawaena’s Chanelle Molina and Mercedes “Ihi” Victor.
Team Aloha leaves today for the highly regarded Arizona Elite Spring Classic in Phoenix. The tournament, sponsored by Adidas, is one of the largest girls events in the West.
Tournament organizers report about a 100 girls teams of various ages from throughout the western United States will participate in the three-day event, which runs Friday through at the Inspire Courts in Gilbert, which is in the Phoenix-Tempe area. The event is sanctioned by the NCAA, meaning many college coaches and scouts can attend.
Pana is a 5-foot-9 sophomore point guard; Molina, a 5-7 sophomore guard; and Victor, a 5-10 sophomore guard. Molina was recently named the state’s Player of the Year and she was joined on the all-state first team squad by Pana.
Other members of the 2014 squad include: Lahainaluna’s Lindsay Bates, a 5-4 junior guard; Farrington’s Jeneva Toilolo, a 6-2 junior center; Mililani’s Shantel Appleby, a 6-0 sophomore forward; Punahou’s Tyra Moe, a 6-0 forward; and Kailua’s Patria Vaimaona, a 5-10 junior forward.
The players on the roster were named all-stars following the 2013-14 hoops season, or were selected based on their performances during the 21st annual Mufi Hannemann Basketball Jamboree held February 17. For Molina, Moe, and Toilolo, this is the second year in a row that they have been selected for Team Aloha.
Team Aloha is being led by Mufi Hannemann and Fran Villarmia-Kahawai, who was head coach for the Aiea High School girls basketball program and a former University of Hawaii Wahine standout. They will be assisted by Keisha Kanekoa, another former Team Aloha and UH Wahine star, and Rodney Cavaco, a counselor at Aiea High School.
Hannemann established the team in 2006 and has led it seven times so far to tournaments in California and Arizona.