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Flight Night 2023-A Night of Celebration

Flight Night 2023-A Night of Celebration

By Communications Fellow Isabella Ventura '23

Friday’s cold and dreary weather couldn’t dampen the sizzling hot commotion inside the E Gym for SBS’s annual Flight Night. In a space with every seat filled and individual sitting on the edge of the bleachers, listening to the harsh sound of a basketball snap into the hands of a player and relishing in the soft swish of it passing through the net—no SBS member remained cold amid the radiating sense of communal excitement. 

Every year, Second Baptist selects a home game to celebrate women’s and men’s basketball teams, branding it Flight Night. And although the event technically revolves around the school athletes, every sector of the SBS community finds a manner to achieve involvement with great success. 

During lower school lunch, winter senior athletes cheerfully signed autographs for the young eagles outside the cafeteria. Later, these very children cheered on the athletes in the school-wide pep rally as the players were recognized in front of the entire school. Lower school kids also received applause, as the elementary basketball Sparks team was honored to be a part of the school celebration. All the basketball players—young and old—smiled brightly as they soaked in the special moment. 

The varsity cheer team kicked-off Flight Night with an impressive routine that brought the crowd to their feet. Then, Preston Igo ‘23 and Ava Buehler ‘23 led a variety of fun and engaging activities, ranging from an intense game of knockout to an SBS faculty basketball scrimmage. As biology teacher Mr. Babcock took a three-point shot, students gathered around the court, thundering in ovation. Teachers, children, and parents bustled in enthusiasm, and Flight Night had still yet to begin!

SBS fans were on their feet for the first tip-off with much anticipation as the women's basketball team worked its way to a solid lead against Lutheran South Academy. It was teamwork and strategic plays. When stepping up to take a free throw, Livi Walker ‘23, bounced the ball twice and quickly sent it into the hoop. Later in the game, Ella Ryan ‘23 flew down the court, juked an opposing player, and passed the ball into the open hands of Kate Marshall ‘23. Two opponents swarmed Marshall, yet she smoothly maneuvered her way around them and made a basket. When the fourth quarter ended, the scoreboard gleamed with a well-earned win: Eagles 73, LSA 52. 

The Golden Girls, led by captain Emily Bolling ‘23, maintained the momentum as the dancers performed a spunky and captivating Top Gun-themed routine, a dance unlike any of their previous ones. 

The men’s match kept the spirited anticipation and fierce competition. Every quarter proved mentally and physically exhausting, yet the Eagles refused to give in. A particularly thrilling moment involved a flawless combination of passing between Zeke Bullington ‘23, Cole Claypool ‘23, and RJ Manginello ‘23 in the offensive half. Due to their successful teamwork, Manginello was granted a sliver of an opening, and he took a shot from outside the three-point line. As the ball soared in a perfect arch and swished as it passed through the net, every onlooker jumped up in roaring applause. It was a moment to remember.

During halftime, Service Prefect Reagan Redick ‘23 commenced the Teddy Bear Toss, a moment to throw teddy bears onto the court that would be donated to the DePelchin Children's Center. Countless people brought teddy bears and stuffed animals such as pigs and dragons—and even an Elmo—which covered the wooden floor. Students, cheerleaders, and Golden Girls helped collect the mounds of teddy bears and colorful stuffed animals. 

The second half of the game proved as exhilarating as the first. LSA solidified its role as a tough opponent, and the Eagles continued to suffer fouls from rough play. However, each player who shot was granted immense applause, and when Christian Haskett made both his free throws, the high school section endearingly chanted, “He’s a freshman!” The Eagles continued to work together as their enthusiastic fans urged them on. Through perseverance and unmistakable teamwork, they carved out a substantial lead. When the final quarter finished, all high school students ran onto the court in joyful celebration of sweet victory. SBS 44, LSA 31.   

Moments after the match, parents, teachers and students walked down to congratulate the basketball team. As cheers and hugs ensued, the extraordinary sense of community was palpable. The upper school crowd was the last to leave with seniors lingering to talk with freshmen and non-basketball players congratulating the victorious athletes. The comfortable environment and tight-knit friendships depict the unique high school experience at SBS, a close community unlike any other. 

Although Flight Night remains a basketball-oriented event, in reality, it is an evening of so much more. It is a night of celebration, excitement, community, and support. Every year, when the date approaches, one can be sure that the entire SBS community will be present at the games, cheering on its Eagles. Flight Night 2023 may be over, but the memories made, the moments captured, the incomparable relationships established—those intangible gifts remain forever.

Photos from Flight Night 2023