Basketball players at KIPP Academy score unbeaten season, school pride

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Every champion in sports has overcome obstacles in order to win.

At one of Kansas City's charter schools, a basketball team has found victories and pride, without the luxuries many teams receive. This season, there weren't many shots that didn't fall for these middle school-aged ballers.

The boys at KIPP Endeavor Academy just capped off an unbeaten season, sweeping past all 14 opponents. It's the first time in school history that the basketball team has gone unbeaten.

The Blue Jays soared to success, despite having no dedicated gym in which to practice. KIPP Academy shares its building with a branch of Metropolitan Community College, and instead of hardwood, these players have a makeshift lunchroom, janitor closet and a concrete floor.

KIPP coach Michael Cobbins says these factors combine to show how badly players want to excel in life.

"We may not have the facilities, but our kids practice and act like and conduct themselves as if they're going to the next level," Cobbins said.

"When you have school pride, it changes the atmosphere completely," he continued.

And now, the Jays carry their pride on their backs. The grandparent of one of the KIPP kids donated to money to purchase Letterman jackets as a reward, and to instill community pride.

"It shows us that we did it together, and that we weren't individual people, but we were one and without each other, we couldn't have done it," KIPP forward Kenan Blakey said.

The jackets represent more than just a sports-related keepsake for the Blue Jays. Players say they represent a source of pride and that's needed for these young people, since many of them come from at-risk neighborhoods.

A school spokesperson told FOX 4 News that 98 percent of KIPP Academy students qualify for free or reduced lunches, which is one of the highest rates in Kansas City.

"It makes me happy when people ask me that. They'll say 'you go to KIPP?' and I say yes," KIPP guard Rodvon Jennings said. "It makes me very proud because people notice our school and they just notice us. They know KIPP is a good school."

And good student-athletes who are making the most of their lives.

Click here for Sean's FOX 4 Facebook profile

Click here for Sean's Twitter feed