Lahainaluna boys basketball team to rely on speed and shooting | News, Sports, Jobs

Lunas basketball Coach TJ Rickard addresses the team last week at practice following their win over King Kekaulike on Wednesday night. The team has been decimated by COVID-19, as only two of 12 players are currently eligible to participate.

LAHAINA — The strength and quality of life on the West Side is manifested in the family and community traditions that have been laid down for generations. At Lahainaluna High School, those pathways to success are built in many different ways and are carried forward by mentors in all walks of life.

The Rickard ‘ohana of Lahaina represents a sterling example of the dedication and service to the community that builds that quality of life, and today that leader is TJ Rickard.

The son of longtime Lady Luna Head Coach Todd Rickard, who guided the Lahainaluna team to the 2010 Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championship, an unprecedented ten consecutive Maui Interscholastic League titles and an unbreakable regular season winning streak, TJ now embarks on a coaching journey of his own with the Luna boys program.

A former MIL All-Star in basketball, football and volleyball, TJ truly represents the fruits of previous generations of West Side families to sincerely manifest the revered tradition of malama pono, to nurture in a motherly way that which is good and righteous.

After graduating from Lahainaluna with honors, he attended the University of Jamestown North Dakota and Southern Oregon University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management and Finance. Upon returning to Lahaina, he soon stepped in to assist with both the Luna boys and girls hoops teams.

TJ naturally filled the vacated position with the boys program before last season was washed out, and he is currently assisted by Coach Todd, Lady Lunas Head Coach Iolani Kaniho and Scott Gouveia.

The team roster includes seniors Cruz Cosner, Carldave Salem and Denver Duque; juniors Noah Flores Alexander, Cade Cunningham, Kana’au Castro, Cash Palma, Timothy Heile, Ian Cabanilla, Travis Koyama and Joa Navarro; and sophomore Aiden Alibin.

Needless to say, pandemic issues have scrambled the season thus far, and positive COVID-19 results have benched a majority of the Luna student-athletes. Most of the MIL schedule has been cancelled over the last two weeks.

Coach TJ reported that the strength of the current Luna team is built around the speed and quickness of the guards.

“We are a small but quick team, and we’ll depend upon our defense and shooting to win games. We lack size and experience, but I’m sure we’ll make up for that with our determination and effort,” he said.

“Our main goal is to win the MIL championship. And, even though we’re inexperienced and our eligible roster is limited due to COVID, we’ll still compete — even as we are forced to play with only a few returning players and JV players. The protocols are very strict for the team,” he continued.

“I am very thankful to all of the assistant coaches and previous coaches for their support of the current team. Also, mahalo to the parents and the school for their support and direction through the pandemic protocols. We really appreciate everyone’s help during these unpredictable times.”

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