JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dianna Zane hasn't missed a game or a practice in her four years with the Roosevelt basketball team.
The ‘Zane Zone’ helps Rough Riders’ hopes
Drive and determination pay off for Roosevelt senior Dianna Zane
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If you get a concussion from a head-to-head collision, check for blood, find none, and go back into a basketball game because it's just that old, familiar feeling, you might have strayed into Zane territory.
When you've pushed a stress-fractured shin a game away from the point of no return and only then begrudgingly give it some rest, you've confirmed it.
Welcome to the world of Dianna Zane, playmaker and team captain for the Roosevelt Rough Riders.
Not a gifted athlete when she was younger, the 5-foot-4 Zane transformed herself into a formidible player through countless hours on the court and in the weight room, beyond what most people would consider adequate. She hasn't missed a Rough Rider practice in her four years as a starter.
Through her dedication, she's become Roosevelt's best weapon as they go for the Oahu Interscholastic Association tournament title.
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UPON arrival at the Roosevelt gym, travelers beware -- you've entered the personal domain of Dianna Zane.
Whether the Rough Riders' dynamic team captain is fully absorbed in a drill during practice, assisting newcomers to the junior varsity with a lesson on her own time, or going all out in the nearby weight room, Zane's daily presence in the gym is as consistent as the sunrise.
A "Beware of Zane" sign could hang outside and passers-by would nod knowingly. The senior has steadily developed a reputation as one of the hardest-working players in the state and has the game to back it up. She's guided the No. 8 Rough Riders (15-6, 9-3 Oahu Interscholastic Association) to nine wins in their last 10 contests. The reward: a bye in the OIA tournament.
In an rare moment void of activity, Zane waved a hand to encompass her familiar environs.
"This is my second home," she said, then paused before clarifying: "I practically live here. This is like my first home."
Teammate Kathleen Nakata, a one-time JV pupil of Zane's, seconded that.
"Sometimes she'll do defense, or offense if you need somebody to jump in and help out," said Nakata. "It's 'cause she lives here, yeah."
Zane has arrived at the same gym every Sunday since she was 7 to attend -- and later assist at -- Roosevelt coach Bobby Keanini's weekly clinics for kids.
While many coaches have had a hand in the development of the 5-foot-4 guard, Keanini was instrumental in transforming an uncoordinated neophyte into one of the most versatile and imposing players around.
Keanini recounted his first impressions of Zane with a chuckle.
"She walked in, and (JV coach Hinano Higa) said, 'That's the girl that's gonna be on your team,' " Keanini said. "It was kind of funny because ... she was terrible. She didn't know her left from her right. In basketball, I didn't see a thing for her, a future for her in basketball at all."
Today, she combines a perfect mix of excellent handles, reliable jumper, killer instinct and cerebral court vision.
While the assist has been Zane's calling card with Roosevelt's star-studded teams of the last few years, she's since developed the ability to take over in crunch time while still keeping her teammates involved.
During the OIA regular season, Zane delivered with two game-winning free throws against top Red East seed Kalani and put in a coast-to-coast, buzzer-beating layup for a 1-point win at Farrington.
Against Kalaheo in the regular-season finale, she had a near quadruple-double of 23 points, 10 steals, nine assists and eight rebounds to clinch a bye to open the OIA tournament.
The Rough Riders play the winner between Mililani and Kalaheo on Friday.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Roosevelt's No. 10 Dianna Zane turns into No. 1 when looking in the mirror. Zane is a four-year starter for the Rough Riders.
ALL OF THAT success can be attributed to Zane's dedication to basketball and her drive to succeed.
She hasn't missed a game or practice during her time as a four-year starter, and she's attended all of Keanini's Sunday clinics since her childhood.
The basketball commitment doesn't stop there. Zane also plays on all-star and club teams and travels to tournaments in places like Las Vegas and Japan.
One of her more impressive feats, however, comes in the weight room, where she can bench-press more than 135 pounds.
That kind of strength gives Zane an advantage against smaller guards in the post when Keanini plays her at power forward, which is often. That frees up Keely Bitanga, a capable ball handler, to initiate the offense.
"I put on an intense front," Zane said. "Boys have been afraid of me. But where I want to be, I know what I have to do. To me, it's not really a sacrifice."
Despite her toughness, she was voted Roosevelt's senior prom queen, thanks in part to her easygoing and accepting nature away from the court.
ZANE'S FAMILY is her fuel. Her mom, Susan, is willing to drop her off at a fitness center for daily workout sessions before school starts, and to and from various appointments in the afternoon.
But more than anything, Zane draws encouragement from her older sister, Dawna.
In 2000, Dawna was critically injured in a car accident on her way to the beach. She survived, but is now paralyzed from the chest down. That hasn't prevented her from living an active lifestyle, with marathons, wheelchair tennis, paddling and basketball part of her routine.
"The most amazing thing about her is that she doesn't let what happened to her bring her down," Dianna said. "She loves exercise, just like how I did. She used to run all the time. But she really just blossomed and she's really my inspiration for a lot of things."
Zane has turned that feeling into a burning desire to never leave anything left unturned where her potential is concerned. It carries over to all things athletic, but also includes academics (she carries a 4.0 grade-point average as a senior) and performances on stage. She's in an upcoming Hawaii Opera Theater rendition of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and will go out for figure competitions (similar to bodybuilding) when high school is complete.
IF THERE'S a downside to all of this, it's that no one else can match her intensity and relentless work ethic.
"I feel I'm to blame for that," Keanini said. "Practice is too easy (for her), but just the competitive side of her that wants to compete all the time and get better -- she's a different animal. She's a freak of nature, actually."
He means it in a good way, except when she can't figure out when to take it easy.
Zane's hours-long workout sessions are quickly becoming the stuff of legend around campus. Once, softball coach Clay Okamura had to kick her out of the school weightlifting room for her own good when she wasn't inclined to call it a day from lifting morning until dusk.
But if anyone asks for help while she's there, Dianna won't hesitate to assist.
"I guess I've had experience in the past where instead of the more experienced players helping me they would actually just look down on me," she said. "So I don't want to do that to younger players, because I know how it feels."
While she could have easily remained at Punahou after attending the Interscholastic League of Honolulu school in seventh grade, she decided to pave her way the public route and rejoin her old coach under the mantra, "It is what you make of it."
Zane wants to attend UNLV or another mainland Division I school willing to give her a chance, even if it means being a team manager and working her way up.
"She doesn't want to look back and have any regrets. She doesn't want to look back and say she didn't want to give it her best," Keanini said. "When you really get to know her, that's what it's about -- never leaving anything short of an effort, never looking back and saying, 'I could have done this better.' It's a competitive nature, yes, but it's not against an opponent -- it's against herself."