On Friday the Eastern Hills High School boys basketball team will try to continue its remarkable turnaround. The team won just five games last year, and now they're on the verge of winning the regional finals.
"It's crazy in the halls. We have fun everyday," said Eastern Hills High School junior Lazarus Marvin. "We're hyped up."
Winning will do that to a school, and this year the Highlanders have won a lot of games: 21 so far. Two more wins will earn them a spot in the UIL state tournament in San Antonio.
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The team's remarkable turnaround has galvanized the surrounding community. At Eastern Hills students living in the shadow of the inner-city share classrooms with kids from more affluent homes. Those dividing lines stop at the basketball court.
"When you start winning, it brings people out of the woodwork. People who maybe haven't been as engaged before are now fanatics," said Charles Hodges, director of the Eastside Alliance Community Partnership. "We are seeing people in the community, people who go to other schools, people who just have friends here, family members. People that have no direct association with this school are coming out to support this team."
Students say they can feel that support in the hallways, and they know their friends and classmates on the court feel it, too.
"Everybody was down on us and saying we weren't going to be anything next year," Marvin said. "We're going to state this year."
Eastern Hills will take on El Paso Burges High School Friday afternoon in Snyder. A win will put them in the regional finals Saturday afternoon.