Inside the cramped gym at New Hope Academy on Friday night, the focus was solely on basketball.

And yet, one look at the walls was enough to remind anybody about the uncertain future surrounding the charter school on West King Street.

New Hope's charter is set to expire after this scholastic year, and the York City School Board began proceedings Thursday as it weighs whether or not to renew it for another five years. Another hearing is set for Wednesday. The process could likely drag on for several weeks.

At the gym Friday, signs taped onto the walls read "Dreams Start Here" and "School Choice."

As for the Mighty Ants basketball team? It hardly seems fazed by the school's murky future, as evidenced by its comprehensive, 59-30 victory over Millersburg in a District 3 Class A quarterfinal. The win means New Hope also earns a berth in the PIAA playoffs.

"They’re not even thinking about it," New Hope coach Anthony Hall said, referring to his players and the school's murky future. "They ask us, and we tell them ‘Don’t worry about it.’

"Our kids have to be resilient from a lot of the outside school distractions that go on in the community. They have to be resilient. They love this school. They really do. They’re just looking forward to it staying open."

Senior forward Anthony Morgan agreed. He and the bulk of the Ants lineup are seniors, and would not be affected by the school closing. But Morgan does have a brother in eighth grade.

"People talk about it, but they don’t," said Morgan, who has committed to play at McDaniel College next year. "We just continue the school day. We’re confident in it."

Meanwhile, there seemed to be plenty of spirit in the gym Friday night.

Fans packed into the metal stands and the small set of red bleachers. The school almost ran out of tickets.

New Hope's mascot, a burgundy ant wearing a basketball jersey, urged the crowd on.

Supporters clapped and chanted and generally filled the gym with noise throughout the night.

"I already got kids asking me about a fan bus for Monday going up to Hershey," Hall said.

Hall said he hasn't allowed himself to think about the possibility of the school closing.

"I try to stay away from the politics," Hall said. "I think the families of school are going to do what it takes to make sure the school stays. Their voices are going to be heard. And I think the students are going to do what they need to do to make sure their voices be heard. They love their school. They really do. And if it’s really about the kids, then you got to listen to the kid’s voices."


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