In 1959 a ragtag basketball team led by an Apache teen and the coach’s son, joined by two talented Black players, face racial tensions as they struggle to play in the rigged state championship game against a big city team.
In a tiny New Mexico town, 1959, the struggling basketball team, the DATIL MOUNTAIN LIONS, find hope when two talented Black players from a segregated sawmill join the team. Led by Apache teen SIMON BIGMAN and JARED SWEETS, the coach’s son, they navigate racial tensions and personal animosities. Simon provides steady leadership, while Jared transitions from seeing his father as his hero to discovering the hero within. The team confronts the biased NM Athletic Director, who plots their downfall. Datil's journey to the state championship against a formidable Albuquerque team, rigged against them, tests their unity and resilience. Amidst adversity, their bond strengthens, leading to an unforgettable victory that offers hope for a more inclusive future.
Reviewer #1: Mountain Champs is a hopeful sports narrative.
The story takes an unlikely group of students in a unique situation and gives them the opportunity to make a mark on the world. What's exciting about the story is that it doesn't focus on hate as the main motivating factor in the story. Instead, the narrative emphasizes progress and change especially as the students grow together as a team. Another exciting aspect of the story is that it isn't easy for this new team to win. They might be talented and eager to be successful but the world around them is much more complicated than they realize.
The plot of this feature is interesting and has a clear theme. Injustice is what pulls the audience into the story. The actions of young characters are what introduce hope into the story as well.
Datil is a small town with a small school. While it is surprising that the school is so diverse and easily accepts a group of new students, that simply seems to be the norm for most Datil High characters. The basketball team is the most important element of the story.