By Wendy Osher
LAHAINA–Polynesian Dancers with the Old Lahaina Lu’au and the Feast at Lele returned to the Lahaina Civic Center Wednesday night for the nationally-televised EA SPORTS Maui Invitational basketball tournament. Images of the Maui entertainers, along with scenic vistas of the Valley Isle were broadcast to millions of viewers who watched the tournament on the ESPN television network of stations.
The impact to the island economy is measured each year by the Maui Visitor’s Bureau, which estimated visitor spending last year (in 2009) exceeded $6 million. Since its inception in 1984, the agency reports that the tournament has generated an estimated $140 million for the island economy.
Featured in this year’s Championship game were Connecticut and Kentucky. The Huskies of U-Conn defeated Kentucky with a final score of 84-67, boosted by 29 points from Tournament MVP Kemba Walker.
The rest of the All-Tournament Team included: Chaminade’s Steven Bennett, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas and Connecticut’s Alex Oriakhi.
In the 3rd/4th place game, Michigan State beat Washington 76-71 behind Lucas’ career-high 20 points. Wichita State topped Virginia 70-58 in the 5th/6th place game while Bennett led the Silverswords to their first Tournament victory since 2007 with a 68-64 victory over Oklahoma in the 7th/8th place game.
(Special thanks to Kemper Sports and the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational for supporting information). *** If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our story on Maui No Ka Oi Again.