'Underdog' basketball team makes it to state championships

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High school basketball championships don't always make the news. But when one of the teams makes it there in their first year, after starting the season with no uniforms, that's a different story.

"I just like playing, tagging the basket," said senior Albert Yond. "Having fans feels good. Having the spotlight on you."

The spotlight wouldn't be on any of the StarShine stingers without team captain Yond, who helped put the team together.

"We've all never played with each other, so it feels pretty good to get this far," Yond said.

The lessons learned on StarShine Academy's campus dribble out onto the basketball court - like never underestimate yourselves.

"When teams look at us, they think we're small, and we can't compete, but we prove teams wrong," Yond said.

"All of our kids are approved for school lunch," said StarShine Academy founder Trish McCarty. She said these players have been stinging other teams all across the state.

"They just kept winning and winning and winning," McCarty said.

You might not expect that with their less-than buzz-worthy start.

"I said, 'You guys don't even have the right shoes, you don't have a uniform.'  But they had heart and they wanted to do it," McCarty said.

And they did, all the way to the charter school Division 1 State Championship at Talking Stick Resort Arena Friday afternoon, taking each step on the court to heart.

"I was mean and tough with people and this taught me how to calm down and how to talk to people with more respect," Yond said.

They were outscored during the state championship. And although Yond made his last hoop as a Stinger, the spotlight will guide him well beyond the arena.

"Keep our heads us and we can overcome it," Yond said.

"I am so proud of them," McCarty said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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