Teams Prepare For Winter Battles

Molokai High School has a full roster of student-athletes raring to compete. Heading into the winter sports season, girls’ soccer and basketball have had a taste of competition, and boy’s basketball isn’t far behind.

Girls’ Soccer

The Lady Farmers soccer team has a new season and a new coach, but unfortunately lost their first match last weekend.

The girls’ played two matchups against King Kekaulike, losing 0-6 Friday and 0-7 Saturday.

New head coach Jason Keanini emphasizes that these games are not reflective of his team’s ability, but illness, as nine out of the 15 players came down with seasickness on the ferry to Maui.

“The scores wouldn’t determine how we did overall as a team. It was a learning experience for a lot of them, Keanini said. “They showed a lot of character. Even as they were down, they played as a team and not individuals.”

Keanini brings a lot of experience to the table. He assisted coaching boys’ soccer at Iolani School on Oahu from 2004-2010, helping bring the team to almost every state tournament. He also played in two state tournaments when he was in high school.

They started their pre-season conditioning on Nov. 1 and Keanini says they have since improved.

He said the nine returning seniors are showing leadership.

“I didn’t have the luxury of pre-season games, but I believe this team can overcome its struggles. They have great attitudes,” Keanini said.

The two team captains, Chelsea Sakamoto and Leila Quiniones are positive about the upcoming season.

“I think we are going to do a lot better than last season. We’ve learned a bunch of new tricks,” Sakamoto said.

Quiniones is expecting improvement from her teammates and believes in the power of positive thinking.

“I expect us to improve, because we have been practicing a lot,” Quininoes said. “Even though we lost every game last season, everybody is excited to play this season and even better – they are playing for the love of the sport.”

Their next games will be on Maui this Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. against Kamehameha.

Girls’ Basketball

The Lady Farmers basketball team has been practicing for over a month and can boast four pre-season wins at two invitational’s on Oahu.

With seven new players, including five freshmen, the team is focused on conditioning drills and getting into game-shape during its practices five days a week, said assistant coach Mike Hooper.

But that doesn’t mean the team is setting its sights any less high.

“Every year the goal is the same – to win the state championship,” Hooper said. The Lady Farmers were the runners up at last year’s Division II state championship.

Their first season game is Dec. 28 against Lanai on Maui..

Boys’ Basketball

The boys’ team also has a lot to look forward to including four games this weekend at the Maui Invitational.

Team conditioning started two weeks ago and head coach Lester Delos Reyes is positive about the team’s ability.

“As far as everything goes, they are ready. They work really hard in practice,” Reyes said.

They will return to Maui Dec. 15-17 for the Lahaina Invitational, playing teams from California and Alaska.

First things first: this weekend they will be playing Lahainaluna High School at 4 p.m. Thursday, University High School on Friday at 12 noon, Kamehameha High School on Friday at 6 p.m., and Maui High School on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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