They may not have won the championship, but the Englewood Eagles celebrated like the true champions they are. A pep rally at Englewood Tech Preparatory Academy honored the boys' basketball team for its best season since 1927. Ironically, it's also their last season. The school is slated to close this year.
"This is all about them. They did it. They achieved a lot. What happened was they understood the school was closing and wanted to make a mark for themselves," said Lewis Adams, basketball coach.
"They're walking out with respect and dignity and not just in the athletic dept, but also academically...It's been a great year. What a was to close the school," said Debora Kizer-Balfour, principal.
There are only 153 students left at Englewood Tech. All of them are seniors. They share a building with two other high schools. Resources are scarce. And while a corporate sponsorship made it possible for them to have uniforms, it was the players who proved to everyone what they can do.
"I'm happy. I'm really proud. We won our conference, we won all our games at home," said Demarkus Isom-Jones, Englewood Eagles' player.
"We didn't get cocky. We just kept playing and playing together," said Demone Robinson, Englewood Eagles' player.
And while the basketball season may be over for the Eagles, the team's future is bright.
"I'm planning to go to GW or UIC on a full basketball scholarship," said one player.
"I'm going to play basketball, take it as far as I can go, but I want to go into computers," said another.
The team's biggest achievement was not the number of games they won, but that next fall, all 12 of the team members are college bound.