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MidWeek Staff

Mililani Guard Sets Sights On OIA Title

With her senior season in sight, Mililani’s Mikaela Limper can sense her eligibility clock ticking away. Not surprisingly, the Trojans’ senior point guard has filled her summer schedule with basketball.

Mikaela Limper

“I set out to improve my all-around game, and I think it’s coming along,” said Limper. “My goal is to practice every day. Basketball takes up most of my time.”

In addition to taking part in Mililani’s summer workouts when on the Island, Limper also will be active on the camp circuit, beginning with this week at Arizona State University.

She’s also going to camps at University of San Diego and Seattle Pacific University this month. Next month, the slate includes a trip to Chicago for the Blue Star Individual Showcase as well as trips to Washington state for Puget Sound Camp and another trip to California for the invite- only Top 100 West Coast Tournament.

Limper is coming off a solid junior season that saw her help lead Mililani to a 13-3 record as well as a berth in the Division I state tournament. Coached by Patrick Basilio, the Trojans were a perfect 12- 0 before a loss to Leilehua in the OIA title game began a stretch that saw Mililani lose two of three at the state tournament. Four starters graduated from that team, including OIA West Player of the Year Nayla Long, leaving Limper as the lone returnee in the starting lineup.

While she will be surrounded by a relatively new supporting cast, Limper and the Trojans are approaching 2013-14 as if there were unfinished business to tend to after a disappointing post-season last February undermined their momentum.

“That has come into play for everyone — losing the OIA (championship game) was heart-breaking after having been undefeated,” Limper said. “That’s driving us more than anything right now. Losing the OIA title game is our motivation — that’s everyone’s motivation. We want to get back there.”

For her part, Limper flourished last winter after returning to the point guard spot she had played last as a seventh-grader. Her play-making skills were a perfect fit for a team with its share of athletes.

“I really like making plays for my teammates and seeing them get their points. I’d rather have 10 assists and four points than have four assists and 10 points.

“At first, it was hard to get back into it,” Limper added of returning point guard. “Now I love to play it again, and I’ m glad I’m playing the point. I feel like I’m a natural leader and, playing the point, I feel like I have to be. I try to lead by example and encourage the others.”

Limper and the other returnees have been busy since the end of the winter season, and the team was to open play in the Pearl City Summer League Monday against Kapolei. (Limper would miss this week’s games while at ASU.)

“We’ve been pretty busy playing two or three spring leagues as well as our own tournament,” she said.

When her camp schedule winds down in late July, Limper will have some time to begin work as a lifeguard, having recently been certified.

“Basketball takes up most of my time, but you’ll usually find me surfing or at the beach with my friends if I have free time,” she admitted.

Mililani returns to action Friday in summer league, playing Waipahu at 6 p.m.

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