Mililani Roster Is New But Expectations Have Not Changed

With only one starter back from last year, the Mililani girls basketball team might qualify as “the mystery team” this year in the OIA Western Division Red West conference. For part of the so-called off-season, the Trojans were even a bit of a mystery to head coach Patrick Basilio, but a productive spring and summer helped rebuild momentum.

“There were so many unknowns with this team, but with all the summer leagues, I think the girls found an identity,” said Basilio, whose Trojans finished 13-3 overall (10-0 in the Red West) last year en route to another state tournament appearance.

One given is that senior Mikaela Limper figures to be among one of the top point guards in the state. As a junior, she averaged 6.1 points per game and was a perfect fit in a lineup that included Kapili Amamalin, Kaylee Torres, Kira Arruda and OIA West Player of the Year Nayla Long.

These four have since completed their eligibility, and Limper was not with the Trojans for much of their summer league season, as she traveled to Arizona State and Chicago for camps.

“Her leadership has been great – she’s like one of us coaches on the court right now,” Basilio said. “She has a thirst for knowledge of the game; she’s always trying to learn something new.”

Limper recently committed to Puget Sound in Washington.

“She wanted to be able to focus on her senior season,” Basilio said. “She’s put a lot of focus into basketball (in the off-season).”

Basilio also is excited about Hanalani-transfer Sarah Liva, who averaged 21.9 points per game last

season with the Royals. She also competed on the Hawaii-Select traveling All-Star team this summer. Liva is expected to join basketball when the volleyball team completes its fall season.

“Her raw ability is great. Mikaela was on a trip when Sarah was able to join us this summer, so they haven’t played together yet, but from what I’ve seen, Sarah will bring a whole new dimension to our team.”

Sophomore Shantell Appleby and junior Summer Bolibol also are expected to see their roles expand.

“We forget that Shantell is only a sophomore. Every day she improves a whole lot, and her speed is unbelievable. She can actually lead the (fast) break, and she has the height at 5-(feet)11.

“Heart and hustle is what Summer is all about,” he added of Bolibol. “She works so hard, this girl. She’s a competitor.”

With only Limper back among the starting five from a year ago, competition for playing time has fueled preseason workouts, according to the coach. “The girls have really been getting after it since they know so many spots are open. This has been one of our better presea-sons.”

Basilio will finalize his varsity roster the first week of November. As in past years, the Trojans will play a demanding preseason slate, which begins Nov. 10 with the Moanalua Pre-Season Tournament. Appearances in both the Waiakea and Lahainaluna pre-season tournaments will follow.

Mililani will meet defending state runner-up Konawaena in its first-round game at the Lahainaluna tourney. Kona edged the Trojans by two points in last February’s state tournament, making the rematch between the programs one of the most anticipated of the 2013 preseason.