It's been quite a season for the boys' basketball team at Oracle Charter School. A win Monday night ran their record to 16-1, and while the rise of the Phoenix didn't happen overnight, YNN's Andy Young reports the program has come a long way in very short period of time.
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"We was the underdogs. We knew we had to come up, show everybody we was a good team. We had to take the W," said Eric Waters, senior guard/forward.
That W came against perennial power McKinley a couple weeks back. It was a signature win that showed Oracle basketball has arrived.
"Then in the locker room, I just got emotional, because everybody was talking down on us, and we proved everybody wrong," said Jamarr Cunningham, senior guard/forward.
Perhaps there was reason for outsiders to have doubt. The Oracle varsity program began just four years ago. That first season finished with only two wins and five players academically eligible. The next year? Four wins with nine players left at the end.
"You know, it was enough to put some doubt in your head about if you had what it took for the long haul," said Brian Pawloski, head coach.
It's been a steady climb for the Phoenix. A commitment to academics has increased numbers on the roster. In turn, the victories are starting to pile up.
Oracle won 15 games last season. This year, they've won 16 out of 17, and are now ranked 10th in the state in Class C.
"We've been getting a lot of recognition from a lot of people. We just try to keep out heads straight and just look forward to get ready for sectionals," said Gerald Bibbs, senior forward.
"I think we have the talent, I think we have the determination to go very far. But in order to get there, we have to be able to do that day in and day. We can't let a single day slip by without us trying to get better," Pawloski said.
That formula that has the Phoenix feeling confident their time will come sooner rather than later.
"We can achieve anything we want to achieve and we can beat whoever we want to beat; we just have to put our minds to it," said Julius Allen, senior guard.
"We've been on fire. Didn't lose. We're not losing. We're coming to the states, taking it all," Waters said.
And when you consider Oracle's rapid rise, what's wrong with shooting for the stars?