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 Konawaena’s Chanelle Molina and Mercedes “Ihi” Victor and Hilo’s Alexis Pana.
Team Aloha leaves today for Phoenix. The tournament, sponsored by Adidas, is one of the largest girls events in the West.
Tournament organizers report about 100 girls teams of various ages from throughout the western U.S. will participate in the three-day event, which begins Friday at the Inspire Courts in Gilbert, Ariz. The event is sanctioned by the NCAA and college coaches and scouts are expected to attend.
Molina is a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard; Victor, a 5-10 sophomore guard; and Pana a 5-9 sophomore point guard. Molina was recently named the state’s Player of the Year. Pana also made the all-state first team.
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 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 to tournaments in California and Arizona.