The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

Jumpshot Journalists

Inside the 2023 “Eagle Classic” With the Eagle’s Eye

When Editor-in-Chief Wyatt Gessner proposed an Eagle’s Eye team for the 2023 “Eagle Classic,” he was all but laughed out of the room. How could a group of student journalists produce a basketball team up to the challenge of battling the entire high school?

The tournament, which took place on Friday, Oct. 20, was a fundraiser for this year’s Charity Ball beneficiary, Neighbor to Neighbor, a non-profit that empowers impoverished residents in the Raleigh community “through mentoring relationships that focus specifically on education, development, and spirituality,” according to their website. Each “Enloe Classic” participant made a five-dollar donation to play for the chance to win a free Cookout tray (which notably also costs only five dollars).

After a squad was selected, the first task for the newly formed Eagle’s Eye team was to assemble a uniform.

“I have like 80 white T-shirts,” Sam “Samuel” Wilkinson, Senior and first-year staff writer announced via text message. He instantly became a household name and a universally acknowledged hero.

The question still remained of how to turn these student-writers into student-athletes. The answer? The staff had a secret weapon: Malone Bridgers, Junior at Enloe and first-year staff writer on the paper. When Bridgers, who plays forward on the Enloe Men’s Varsity Basketball team, stepped foot in the newspaper class for the first time, he may have thought he was changing things up. No longer would he be limited to the realm of student athleticism—now he would have the chance to express himself through writing. When the call came from Gessner, however, Bridgers was ready and willing to step up to the task of coaching.

With a dream in their hearts, the promise of a Cookout tray in their minds, and encouraging words of Trudy “Coach” Price-O’Neil in their ears, the four warriors set outside to practice. The ragtag group’s coordination started out rough at best. Enloe Now editor Akshat “Rebound Ravager” Yadav had little knowledge of simple rules like double-dribbling, and the rest were more used to holding a pen than a basketball.

Bridgers described it best: “Raw talent. Very raw.”

Practice started out with a simple run-down of basketball rules, before progressing to practice passing and dribbling. A keep-away drill to aid with the team’s offense and defense proved especially critical, and helpful interjections on the part of Bridgers added not only constructive critique but also team spirit. 

“Pass it to Akshat—Akshaq, excuse me!” Bridgers said, inspiring confidence in the players by using cheerfully aspirational, if overzealous, nicknames. He clearly had experience bringing a team together.

Improvement on the part of Akshat “Akshot” Yadav was especially remarkable. For someone who started the day having little confidence in his one-handed dribble, he kept up surprisingly well with the drills and learned the rules of the game quickly.

“Call me LeBron,” Yadav said.

By the end of their practice session, one thing became clear. The staff had a second secret weapon: Enloe Now editor Nelson “Regular Nellie” Stallworth. Stallworth seemed, at first invitation to the team, bashful about his talent. He wasn’t sure he was ready for the task. On Thursday morning, he proved his worth. With consistently amusing and surprisingly adept movement, Stallworth commanded the East  Building courtyard with ease and a smile on his face. The boy could even spin a ball on his finger.

At the second period ending bell on Thursday, the change in performance was already astounding.

“The improvement has been massive. We started with such raw talent, but you know it’s really been molded into an art. I think our team is best described as artful,” Bridgers said. “They’re a sleeper team.”

The boys—nay, men—were game-day ready.

“We’re winning the whole thing. I’m putting it down right now. You can quote that,” said Wyatt “Super Wy” Gessner.

As they approached the East Gym doors, it seemed the whole team was anticipating the win that would set the Eagle’s Eye in stone as a true sports giant.

“Joe Biden, we’re going to win a game today. At least one; maybe two or three,” Wilkinson said. “I can see it in our team’s eyes that we are going to soar towards a ‘W.’”

Gessner and Wilkinson’s confidence, however, would prove to be unfounded. Despite a productive courtside huddle that concluded in an invigorating “1, 2, 3, Eagle’s Eye” cry and one whole point being scored by Wilkinson, the team lost the first round to The Health Hoopers.

“We should stick to journalism,” Yadav concluded.

To keep up with fundraising events for Charity Ball, follow @enloecharityball on Instagram, and to keep up with a potential Eagle’s Eye comeback in the upcoming Charity Ball kickball tournament on Nov. 9, follow @enloeeagleseye on Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Sobel
Elizabeth Sobel, News Editor
(She/her) Elizabeth is a senior at Enloe returning to the paper as this year's News Editor! As a member of Enloe's Symphony Orchestra, she spends a lot of time practicing the harp. In her free time, she enjoys painting, perusing the halls of the North Carolina Museum of Art and reading about the latest archeological discoveries.
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