(UTULEI, American Samoa) — The Samoana Sharks Varsity Boys Basketball squad can only be described as invincible. A 21-game winning streak with not a single loss over a span of two seasons testifies to that.
"Our season was cut short due to Hurricane Gita," Sharks Coach Carl Schuster, Jr. told tautalatala. "We only played one round then went straight into the playoffs."
Since the 2017 season the Sharks have denied every opponent they've faced the win.
In handing out their twenty-first loss Thursday, March 15, Samoana clinched their second consecutive basketball title on their home court against the Faasao Marist Crusaders.
"Even though we were down at the half our crowd was still in high hopes and continued to cheer us on to victory," Schuster said.
They are reveling in their success on the court as back-to-back Varsity Basketball Champions of the American Samoa High School Athletics Association.
In the final, Samoana dominated the first quarter but Marist fought back and held the Sharks at only 8 points in the second.
Going into the half, Crusaders were up by 2 points. Coming out of the half, Samoana rallied back in the third and took complete control of the game in the fourth.
It was a re-match of last year's Championship match, the 2018 game ending 64-47, Sharks.
Samoana Seniors Elliott Lelei, teammates Sebastian Briski, and Eugene Ledoux, returning players from last year's squad, led the team in scoring throughout the season.
Elliott led scoring in all Sharks matches. In the title match, he recorded 14 points and was named Game MVP (Most Valuable Player).
Savili Atanoa had 8 blocked shots and 6 points; Faleatua Utuao picked up 12 points and Eugene garnered 6 points.
Faasao Marist is coached by Diehl "The Real Deal" Langkilde. For the Crusaders, Senior big man Paul Fuimaono was lead scorer.
Samoana played 7 games this season (Faasao Marist, Pacific Horizons School, Fagaitua High School, Tafuna High School and Leone High School). They met the Fagaitua Vikings in the playoffs and the Crusaders in the final.
In video footage, Schuster thanked God, the players, parents and supporters for a successful season.
Last year Samoana was also undefeated and played a total of 14 games including playoffs and the championship game.
The 2017 Sharks Champions team also took the title in the U-19 Flag Day Basketball Tournament. They finished with another perfect record, 6-0.
"But as a gift for my family, they (the players) chose to be called the Rhonda-Lei Boys in memory of my sister who passed the year before," said Coach Schuster.
"Going into this season, a lot of pressure was put on me and my new squad with only four returning players and 10 new players to the varsity division — and the challenge to see if we could keep the championship here at Samoana."
The rest, as they say, is sports history.
THE SAMOANA SHARKS 2018 VARSITY BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SQUAD
(Seniors, Grade 12)
(Juniors, Grade 11)
Coach: Carl Schuster, Jr.