Facing a budget crisis, the town of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., cut its high school sports budget in the summer of 2008. To any other town, the cut would be tragic, but to Mt. Vernon, whose history is stepped in basketball culture and tradition, the cut prompted citizens and fans to raise nearly $1 million. With its season saved, the Mt. Vernon Knights embarked on a season that featured both celebration and agony.
Documenting this struggle were two Columbia University graduate students, Chris Kieffer and Collin Crowell. The result was "Hoop Knight: The Season The Town Won Back," a 26-minute film featuring the highs and lows of the 2008-2009 Mt. Vernon boys' basketball season.
The project follows the 2009 season of the Mount Vernon team from its preseason fight for funding to its Section 1 championship to its unexpected adversity in the state playoffs. The Knights, a perennial New York power, nearly never had a season when the school board announced in July that funding would be cut for all of the school's athletic programs. Once funding was restored, the Knights had to face the pressure of competing for a state title after so many people had rallied to save their season.
Editor's note: Have a question for Chris Kieffer and Collin Crowell? Leave it in the conversation area below. Check out their Web sites at www.collincrowell.com and chriskieffer.net.