HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
PAUL HONDA / PHONDA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tati Beasley's favorite TV show is "CSI" and she has plans to become an investigator.
Diamond in the rough
The Rough Riders' Tati Beasley has used basketball to learn the hard lessons of life without parents
The final chapter of Tati Beasley's four years, two league championships, one state title and countless hours of sweat occurred in a resounding blowout loss.
Nobody likes to lose, but for Beasley, who averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and three steals per game, it is utter misery. That's why her coach, Bobby Keanini, beams with pride when he remembers his senior standout.
Roosevelt's 23-win season ended with a 22-point loss to Punahou in the state championship game on Friday, but Keanini smiles.
"She could have easily been sour and walked around the court, but she dug in on defense, was running hard, and that's what I'm most proud of: the pride she takes in herself and the game," said Keanini, who has coached all types in all sizes -- mostly on the smaller side -- in his 11 years at Roosevelt.
"I thought, 'This is going to be a long last 5 minutes,' but man, I was so proud.
"Tati's a clown sometimes, but in a game, she's not a player to give up. If your head isn't on straight, she talks to you," sophomore Iwalani Rodrigues said. "She doesn't like to lose, so that makes us try harder."
Beasley's response -- playing hard and picking up teammates who were down -- wasn't an overnight burst of maturity.
It was a choice, which sounds simple, but has plenty of complexity coming from a home where both parents are gone. Beasley's father, Ikaika, is close to her now, but mother Charmaine Heanu is far from home. Heanu is an inmate at a mainland prison.
"It's hard now, knowing she could never see me play. She didn't see me grow up," Beasley said. "She won't be at my graduation."
This weekend, shortly after Roosevelt's seniors walk out of class for a final time, Beasley will dress up and put on a tiara as a prom princess. For a moment, she'll wonder what it would be like to have mom there, just like most other girls enjoying a memorable night.
She'll choose to enjoy her prom, just like she chose to buckle down in the classroom.
After barely staying eligible in her first year, Beasley has since racked up major stats on campus and has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0.
Still, she hasn't been highly recruited by Division I universities just because she stands at 5-foot-7.
"They find out how tall she is and they change their minds. They want her to walk on," Keanini said.
She won't do that.
Instead, she'll enroll at a junior college in Northern California or at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
"I want to go away, get the experience. To me, the mainland is where it's at," she said. "I can always come home. My auntie and grandma, they want me to go and do what's best for me."
There was a time when Beasley, who picked up the game quickly after a late start (seventh grade), may have been earmarked for a more elite high school.
"My dad wanted me to go to Punahou or Kamehameha, but to me, the ILH's got everything," she said. "I just wanted to give back to the OIA. I don't regret going to Roosevelt at all. It's a blessing."
Grandma Louise Terry and Auntie Desiree Terry raised rambunctious "Tita Tots."
After a junior year when she admitted to Keanini that she suffered from the pressure of being a standout player, Beasley has thoroughly enjoyed her time as a senior.
"She's hard on her teammates, but she always picks them back up. She became the motivation on the floor we needed," Keanini said.
Beasley is still tough as asphalt, which is the norm for any girl who can play ball with the boys at Papakolea's blacktop for hours on end.
"The maturity part, I never thought I'd see her talk to really, really shy girls," Keanini said. "One gave her a thank-you game card after the last game, and she thanked that girl today at the gym.
"That kind of thing, she appreciates everything around her, where she wouldn't even say thanks or sorry before.
"Seeing this girl grow up is just a pleasure."
That sincerity is matched only by her heart.
"She has that magnetism. People came out to see Roosevelt play because of her. She has that extra something," he said.
Weight training has been a godsend -- a "stress reliever," said Beasley, who was called "Bird" as a little kid. "I was small and twigged out," she said.
More than getting bigger and stronger, though, Beasley's peace of mind has emerged with time and relationships.
Ikaika, who didn't support her early years as a Pop Warner football player, eventually backed her in hoops. He calls her every morning.
"He tells me he loves me, to have a good day," she said. "He's like my best friend. He gives me motivation. He's had ups and downs, so he pushes me to not follow the path that he had, that my mom had."
It's no coincidence, then, that Beasley intends to major in criminal justice. Her favorite show is "CSI," which also means that before she lands the dream job as an investigator, she may be in uniform for Honolulu's finest someday.
She has learned to accept authority, to consider discipline, to be obedient.
"Coach is a damn good coach. He knows his stuff and he's a smart guy," Beasley said.
"You can't question him. We went to states three times, and I had a great career playing for him."
It was Keanini who told Beasley that despite her early struggles, she is now a role model.
"It's a great feeling. You can't complain 'cause not many people can have the experience I've had as a player and person," she said.
"Basketball changed my life completely. I was a lost cause. Attitude-wise, as a person, I could've been one of those dropouts."
Keanini is looking forward to the next chapter in Beasley's life.
"She needs to get out there and learn a few more things," he said. "She's more open now, where she'll get along. She's been a Papakolea girl all her life.
"She'll get out and expand herself."
Beasley will give the game and her CSI dreams a real shot. She has to, in a way, as a means of payback.
"Basketball," she said, "saved my life."
Athletes of the Week
Kaimuki golf: Won the David S. Ishii Foundation/HHSAA title at the Turtle Bay Resort's Arnold Palmer Course. The sophomore carded a two-round total of 4-under 140.
Shawna-Lei Kuehu, Punahou basketball: Dominated as the Buffanblu won the state title. Had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Kahuku, 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists vs. Konawaena, and a tourney-record 37 points against Roosevelt in the title game.
Kaiser: Went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs in a win over Waimea.
Castle: Pitched a no-hitter in a win over Maui, with four strikeouts and four walks.
Castle: Went 3-for-3 in a win over Maui.
Punahou: Went 3-for-3 against Kamehameha-Hawaii
Baldwin: Tossed a two-hitter against Kaiser.
Kailua: Went 3-for-4 with a double against Punahou.
Waimea: Went 4-for-4 against Kailua.
Punahou: Pitched 10 scoreless innings as Punahou captured the state championship.
Waiakea: Pitched a two-hitter in a win over Moanalua.
Kamehameha: Struck out eight and walked none for a two-hit gem against Baldwin.
Jazzmin Awa-Williams, Konawaena: Scored 26 points in a win over Kalaheo and 23 in a victory over Lahainaluna.
Tati Beasley, Roosevelt: Scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win over Moanalua.
Keisha Kanekoa, Honokaa: Scored 16 points in a win over Konawaena.
Tatriana Lorenzo, Kamehameha: Scored 18 points with six rebounds and three steals in a win over Radford. Added 16 points and seven rebounds against Moanalua.
Tasha Pagdilao, Lahainaluna: Scored 18 points in a win over Kahuku.
Iwalani Rodrigues, Roosevelt: Scored 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in a win over Moanalua.
Leilani Galdones, Kamehameha-Hawaii: Scored 19 points in a win over Castle and 20 points in a win over La Pietra.
Capri Holiona, Aiea: Scored 14 points and added 16 rebounds in a win over Molokai.
Megan Kamehiro, Kalani: Selected most outstanding player of the state Division II tournament. Scored 16 points and added seven rebounds in a win over St. Francis. Scored 16 points in the title-game win over Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Jodi Kamemoto, Hawaii Baptist: Scored 22 points in a loss to Castle. Added 20 points in a win over Molokai.
Jamie Mattos, Kamehameha-Hawaii: Scored 20 points in the Division II title-game loss against Kalani.
Yacine Meyer, Seabury Hall: Scored 20 points and added 13 rebounds and four steals in a narrow win over Word of Life. Scored 17 points with 13 rebounds against Castle.
Careena Onosai, Word of Life: Scored 22 points and added 11 rebounds in a win over Kapaa.
Siutiti Takai, St. Francis: Scored 19 points with 10 rebounds in a win over La Pietra.
Now You Know
» Punahou's Division I girls basketball tournament victory last week was the school's ninth state title and third under coach Mike Taylor.*
The Buffanblu also have three championships each under coaches Shelley Kahuanui Fey (1994, '97 and '98) and Robin Durand (1979-81) In addition, Punahou has four runner-up finishes.
Friday, May 26, 2006
» Punahou School's recent state title in girls basketball is the school's ninth and third under coach Mike Taylor, not eighth and second, as was reported on Page B2 Wednesday.