The Grand Prairie High School Gophers have had a lot to celebrate this season, which has surprised many of their opponents.
"In the past I felt like people thought, 'That was a win.' You know you look at your schedule you say, 'Oh GP, that's a win.' They're not saying that anymore," head coach Barron Brown said.
"Some of them were shocked," guard Jaylin Jackson-Posey said. "Some of them you know they felt sore losers because they don't supposedly lose to GP. It's against their so-called religion or whatever the case may be so when we beat them it leaves a little mark on their spirits."
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Many of the Gophers know what it's like to have their spirits broken because of tough circumstances they have endured away from the gym. Travion Poindexter, for example, relocated from Chicago to live with his uncle when his mother, who was often homeless, was unable to care for him.
"It makes me work hard, harder because I don't want to ever go back to where I was and I'm trying my hardest to get to a point where I could change my life and my family's life," Poindexter said.
Undre Kirven shares a similar goal, though his family is smaller now. His mother died from heart failure in October 2018.
"It was right before the season started and I was lost," the junior forward said. "I would say kind of scared, out of place."
Fortunately, Kirven had the support of assistant coach Kevin Conner, who welcomed the 6-foot, 6-inch big man into his home prior to the tragedy.
"It was really supposed to be temporary," Conner said. "Three-and-a-half years later, he's still there. I love him being there and he's a great kid. I wouldn't change anything I've done for anything."
"There's other kids. Parents are going to prison. Parents getting out of prison," Brown said. "They have to continue living their lives. Kids sleeping in cars. It's tough."
But it's only making this resilient bunch of basketball players tougher.