Unified Basketball Team Ready For PIL Tournament

The team is undefeated as it heads into the PIL Tournament on March 18


Clarion photo Kama Waiwaiole

The Unified team, coaches and cheerleaders pose after their first game of the season.

Much attention has been directed to the Warriors’ boys and girls basketball teams, who have had excellent seasons this year. Both teams have deserved their praise, but people should look at Cleveland’s Unified basketball team as well.

Senior Thomas Gibson has been on the team since his freshman year, and he has been grateful for being able to participate in Unified sports.

“Unified sports is important because it has students with and without disabilities together and their mission is inclusion,” Gibson said.

“I like to go to Cleveland basketball games and cheer for the Warriors, and it’s fun to have my friends come to my Unified games and cheer me on. We have a PIL Tournament coming up and I hope Cleveland fans come to see us,” Gibson stated.

The Unified team will compete in the PIL Tournament on March 18 at Wells High School.

Junior Malia Waiwaiole, who also plays for the girls’ basketball team, has both played and coached for the Unified team. Similar to Gibson, Waiwaiole echoed how the inclusiveness of the team is what makes it so great.

“Unified basketball at Cleveland has been such an amazing opportunity to bring our community together. I have never seen so many people in the gym by choice as I have for the games. Coaching has also been a blessing. I have met so many awesome people with eccentric personalities, and I am just happy that I get to teach them to play the sport that I love!” Waiwaiole said.

The team has played three games so far this year (Grant, Rex Putnam, and Wells) and is undefeated. The team consists of eight players and six partners and coaches and is supported by three cheerleaders.