DOBSON — The Lady Eagles travel to Glenn High School Saturday to take part in the opening round of the Mary Garber Tipoff Classic.
The 25th-annual girls basketball tournament is held in honor of Garber, a long-time sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal and an advocate for girls’ sports.
A winner of more than 40 state and national sportswriting awards, Garber was the first civilian (not a player, coach or administrator) named to the N.C. High School Athletics Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
She was the first woman inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. And in 2008 she was named to the Hall of Fame for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Central head coach Mandy Holt said she was honored to be invited to take part in this event for the first time by the Winston-Salem Sportsmen Club. West Stokes and Winston-Salem Prep are the other area schools in the 16-team tournament.
Holt knows something about being an advocate for women in sports. Out of the eight local basketball teams, the Lady Eagles are the only one with a female coach. In her 12th year of coaching, Holt is leading the girls varsity for the sixth season.
A former Eagle player herself, Holt said she knows that there is more that kids can get out of playing sports than learning to dribble a basketball or spike a volleyball.
“There is nothing like being part of a group and having that friendship,” she said.
The girls learn to work together as part of something bigger than themselves, she explained. And as they mature, the older players grow into leadership roles. These traits will help them down the road.
Certainly, one of Holt’s goals is to make Central one of the top teams in the conference year after year, but she knows there is more to it than that.
There is giving back to the community, too, she noted. As part of the Mary Garber Classic, each team took up donations for a food basket to be given to one needy family in its school district. The Winston-Salem Sportsmen Club added a turkey to the Eagles’ food collections which will be given away before Christmas.
As for the basketball side, Holt said the coaches got together recently and established a seeding for the 16 teams. The Eagles were chosen as a seventh seed and take on Glenn, the 10th seed. Since the 6:30 p.m. game is being played on Glenn’s home court, the lower seed will have homecourt advantage.
The winner advances to play again the following Wednesday at 6 p.m. against the winner of #2 West Forsyth versus #15 seed Parkland.
Holt said she doesn’t know much about Glenn’s team this year. When she’s seen the team play in the past, Glenn was quick and very scrappy, so she expects to see that again.