2017 Top Stories: Luna hoopsters have foes forfeiting

Lahainaluna girls basketball has won 141 straight MIL games. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser.

In Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Paul Honda wrote about the top 10 prep stories of 2017. You can read it here.

Here’s a deeper look at one of the 10 stories.

5. MIL teams choosing to forfeit

The Lahainaluna Lunas have one girls basketball state championship, forged during the senior years of Maiki Viela (Tihada), who went on to play at Gonzaga, and center Milika Taufa (Indiana).

In the Maui interscholastic League, the Lunas are not just a one-time state champion. They are as dominant as dynasties go, now in the midst of a 141-game win streak in league play.

It has gotten so commonplace that bigger schools have forfeited games to Lahainaluna in the past two weeks. Maui opted to attend winter ball rather than face Lahainaluna. The game schedule was released last summer, but nobody told the Lunas about a forfeiture until the day before their scheduled game.

A week later, Baldwin cited injuries before forfeiting. They had just hosted a mid-week tournament and were down to five or six players. That’s what was told to the MIL’s girls basketball coordinator, who relayed the information to Lunas coach Todd Rickard.

Would Baldwin have taken the court if the opponent was Maui instead? After all, Maui and Baldwin occupy the lowest two spots in the MIL D-I standings.

“I don’t want to say anything negative, but if the schedule is made, they should stick with it,” Rickard said. “If they had asked for a 7 a.m. game so that they could get ready for their (winter ball), we would be there. I feel bad for our seniors. I can find something else to do on a Saturday, but there’s only so many games left for them. Those girls work their tails off and deserve the right to at least play.”

Forfeitures have become more common in recent years, but normally those are due to safety concerns in football. If other sports have teams walking away from competition out of fear of losing, what’s to stop other schools from picking up the same habit?

Rickard was a fan of the Superferry and wishes it was still operating.

“We would go to any island to play games,” Rickard said. “The ILH has competitive games every night and we’re having games forfeited here.”


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