The Sacred Heart girls basketball team walks a mile through gang-infested Lincoln Heights every day for practice. They believe in safety in numbers, never walk alone, and are guided by their coach Greg Nakashima through the dangerous streets from their school to the gym they use for practice and games.
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke chronicled the journey the team takes and some of the obstacles, harassment and abuse the girls face in their 15-minute walk from school to the gym.
The school has been in East L.A. for 105 years, but does not have a gym on campus. Sometimes the girls practice in the auditorium with no baskets or in classrooms with Nerf hoops on rainy days. Most of the time, the girls travel by foot to hone their skills and play their games in a gym with graffiti on the floor and walls and no locker room to change into uniforms.