The Hollywood Eagles Youth Development Program 7th grade girls team has won their first national championship, defeating the Kentucky Fusion 62-32.
The team competed amongst hundreds of other teams from across the country, many of which were in different age brackets.
But there is much more to this team than meets the eye.
Founder Richard Walker, who played basketball and football in high school and Football at Tennessee Technological University, created the Hollywood Eagles Youth Development Program back in 1992. According to Walker, most of the team players come from at risk communities.
“The only travel some of these kids have done is for basketball,” Walker said in a phone interview with the Hollywood Gazette. Many of the kids who have played for the Hollywood Eagles have gone on to attend and play basketball at Division I colleges and universities across the country.
The team traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the 2019 U.S. National Amateur Basketball Girls Championships Tournament.
“I really can’t explain how excited and how I felt for this group of young athletes,” Walker said, adding that the team made it to nationals last year, but lost.
“I felt joy to see those kids win and crying and jumping for joy.”
PHOTOS BY CARLOS PEREZ