HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL
Girls hoops gets backing for nationals
For 13 years, Mufi Hannemann left an imprint on the girls basketball scene by spearheading an annual jamboree.
Featuring as many as 60 high school players in a postseason tournament format, Hannemann took pride in seeing nearly all of them advance to the college ranks. Now, as mayor of Honolulu, the former Iolani hoopster is taking it one step further.
Hannemann is teaming with Keith Amemiya and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Foundation to form an all-star girls basketball team that will compete in the Fall Finish national tourney in Indiana in September. The tourney is comprised of 80 teams from across the nation, and more than 300 college scouts make the trek to see teams and players.
The event is scheduled for the middle of volleyball season.
"At first, we wanted to go to a tournament in the summer, but there are already a lot of teams," coach Dana Takahara-Dias said yesterday of local entries to mainland events. "The team would have been watered down." Takahara-Dias played at University High and the University of Hawaii before building a dynasty at Moanalua.
She currently works for Hannemann as deputy parks director, but her qualifications made her a logical pick for the job.
"I'm lucky to come out of (coaching) retirement and coach this all-star team," she said.
The team has not been announced yet. Media from all islands have submitted their picks for the 12-player roster.
"We've always had a good relationship with the city," said Amemiya, noting that the HHSAA Foundation will cover 75 percent of the costs. "This gives our young ladies further exposure in addition to what they get right now in their summer tournament trips. We hope to make this an annual event and, hopefully, expand this to other sports."
The foundation is a separate entity from the HHSAA. The funds that will benefit the all-star team for the Indiana tourney come from proceeds of two events: the Nissan Hall of Honor banquet and donations given to the Mufi Hannemann Jamboree.
Takahara-Dias tempered her enthusiasm, but was clearly happy to be involved in the game again.
"Win or lose, we'll represent Hawaii the best we can. Our goal is to show that our girls can compete at the national level," she said.