Champion high school hoops team in Philly searches for a home

High school basketball season begins this month nationwide, but some inner-city Philadelphia players already face a tough season, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

It's come down to less than two weeks before the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School has its first basketball game of the season, and there is still not an available gym for the team to play its home games.

This is an inner-city school where something's going right - a 100-percent graduation rate and a state championship basketball team in 2011, all the more impressive when you realize the Mighty Elephants do not have a gym of their own.

"We've been using facilities for years - the Y, Salvation Army - just moving anywhere we could move and paying for it to practice," said Veronica Joyner, founder and top administrator of the 1st-through-12th grade school.

Their last home belonged to a vocational school that was sold last August, so Coach Dan Jackson and his players are now plain out of luck, staring at a schedule where they may have to forfeit every home game.

"The guys have taken it on themselves to find neighborhood places where they'll be able to play, neighborhood gyms, rec centers," said the coach.

"Anything's better than no gym. If we have a gym, cold, no heat-- no lights, we'll still practice there," said upperclassman Darrin Manning. He and his teammate, Saheed Peoples, have been scouting out any court space they could find anywhere in the city for what they call "get-togethers."

"The floor conditions at the gym, like, it was kinda messed up. Like, the floor was comin' up. It was dusty," said Manning.

Joyner has asked the Philadelphia school district for help, only to be told there is no school gym space anywhere in the city the Mighty Elephants can share.

The city of Philadelphia recently stepped up and provided the team a temporary court a few days a week at local rec center, that Joyner says is in a very unsafe part of the city.

"I'm going to have to send the team over in the van. And we have to make two trips. 'Cause I don't feel comfortable letting them walk in that area by themselves," Joyner said.

Joyner said she believes the charter school is being denied help because of competition.

"Because there's no other reason why the help should not be extended," Joyner said. "We have 97 percent of our students going to college and a zero dropout rate and coming back to teach. We have eight teachers teaching here that graduated from this school."

But not having a gym hasn't stopped the Mighty Elephants - the school proudly displays their numerous trophies in the front hall.

"Remember, failure's not an option for our students," said Joyner.

The Philadelphia school district sent CBS News a statement saying, "Our gymnasiums are fully occupied by more than 200 teams during basketball season. Multiple schools are sharing space... Our resources are exhausted."

The school has set up a GoFundMe page to help fund a new gym and other resources for the basketball team.