Mililani Athlete Credits Dancing For Improved Footwork

The stellar footwork Sarah Liva displays when playing volleyball and basketball can be attributed in part to one of her other passions – dancing.

“I compete in Tahitian dancing and I also dance hula,” said Liva, who will be a junior at Mililani High School this fall. “It’s a fun hobby. It keeps my legs strong, it helps me with my stamina and it keeps my footwork quick.”

Liva also is a gifted student. Her parents, Cathy and Fred Liva, help on that end. “My mom always tells me I can’t dance my way to college,” she said with a laugh.

To be sure, academics and athletics are her tickets. Last winter, she was named the Division II Girls Basketball Player of the Year after averaging a state-best 21.9 points a game for Hanalani. All told, she topped the 35-point plateau on four occasions last season, highlighted by a riveting 41-point effort in a win over St. Francis.

Liva, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall, was also a First Team All-Conference selection in volleyball. She transferred to Mililani in the off-season and is competing this summer for the Hawaii-Select traveling All-Star basketball team, which will play July 24-28 in the Big Foot Hoops Las Vegas Classic.

What is your earliest sports memory? I was in fourth grade when I first started playing basketball and volleyball, and I’ve tried out every year since then. I love the teamwork. That is one of the biggest pluses. You have to rely on your teammates.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life? If I had to narrow it down, it would have to be God. He gave me the ability to play sports, and he gave me all of the opportunities that I’ve had. Also my parents and my grandparents (Marsha and Foa Fetui), because of all the sacrifices they’ve made for me and my siblings – and my coaches for teaching me all the skills that I know.

What’s been the best part of playing for the Hawaii-Select All-Star Team? One of the biggest upsides is coach Chico (Furtado). He’s always given me the freedom to play and experiment and work on my skills, and to become a well-rounded player. He gives me a lot of confidence. He’s always encouraging me. Another upside is team-work. We’re all really close. We have really good chemistry on the court.

What area of your game are you focusing on this summer? My outside shots – from the free throw line and the side. Most of my focus last year was on my post skills. This year, it’s my shooting and my ball-handling.

Who plays the toughest defense among your team-mates in practice? Maia Laboy. She’s very, very aggressive, and she’s tough – she won’t let you get an easy shot. She makes everyone she’s on (defensively) better. She makes you work for it.

What website do you go to the most? Instagram.

What film could you watch over and over? Tangled.

What item could you not live without? My phone. I send hundreds of text messages a day. When the bill comes at the end of the month, it’s thousands.

What kind of music do you listen to? I listen to a lot of country music. My family and I love country music.

Do you play video games? What game systems do you have? We have an XBox 360 and a Wii. When playing XBox, I like any of the Halos and sometimes Call of Duty. When I play Wii, I like to play Mario Cart.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully, I’ll be married with kids. And, hopefully, I’ll still be playing basketball and volleyball and teaching my kids to play volleyball and basketball. That would be cool.

If you were planning a trip, what would be your destination?Australia. That’s No. 1 on my bucket list right now.

You are stuck on Kahoolawe and can have just one food. What would it be? Shrimp. I love shrimp.

Who would be your celebrity date for the junior/senior prom? (Actor) Chris Hemsworth.