EvCC Player Finds Redemption As a Trojan


Daniel Acosta

Aloha Salem sizes up a Clark defender at the top of the key.

Aloha Salem is a crucial part of the EvCC Women’s Basketball team.  While students teachers and coaches see the end result of  Salem’s success, people haven’t the seen trials Salem has dealt with. To understand Salem, you have to grasp how much the sport of basketball means to her.

Living on the island of Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, basketball is heavily prominent in Salem’s family. She is the oldest of three siblings. Three of her cousins play basketball, with two of them playing for the WSU Women’s Basketball team.

Aloha’s earliest playing days began at the West Maui Youth League. During seventh and 8th grade year, she joined Menehune Basketball, a select team.

The decision to ultimately pursue basketball was the result of a traumatizing and frightening experience. One day while surfing, Salem wiped out, hitting her head on some rocks. The force of the blow knocked her unconscious.  “Ever since the accident, I was traumatized to get back on a surfboard”, Salem said.

For her senior year, Salem transferred to Konawaena High School, where she had the opportunity to play with her three cousins. It had been a goal of theirs to play together at some point in their lives. The team went to the state finals, matching up against her old school, Lahainaluna, in the final, winning 51-41.

Everything was going well for Salem. Success had come and with it the notice from colleges to play basketball.  Salem accepted an offer to play basketball at Centralia, a community college in Washington. The second life event that shaped her was about to happen.

Salem started going down a dark path that distracted her from basketball and academics.  Campus parties became the priority over the practice. The lowest point and challenging moment were when Salem got suspended. When Spring Quarter was underway, she decided to go back to Hawaii. It was then she told her parents she made a mistake. “They said to me ‘Kid, this is all up to you now. You just have to figure out a way to pick yourself up’”, Salem said.

While she took the year off, she worked various construction sites back home. Then the game came calling once again. Salem received an offer to play basketball at EvCC and was back in the game.

Salem currently plays as a point guard, a change of position as Salem played the majority of her career as a shooting guard.

“She is a tremendous three-point shooter”, says Trojans Women’s Basketball Head Coach  Chet Hovde. “She can handle the ball as a point guard, likes to run the court and is a good, all-around player.”

Off the court, she takes classes pursuing an interest in graphic design and lives in the new student housing on campus.

The opportunity at EvCC provided not only a second chance as an athlete but also as a student for Salem.

“Even before I got the call to play here, I already pictured myself going back to college and playing,” said Salem. “It is probably one of the best years in my life.”