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A reunion on the hardwood

January 29, 1997

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

For Chris Jones, it was almost as if he were color blind Saturday night. At least for an instant.

Jones' dilemma started when two old friends and adversaries, Kirk Grantham and Aubrey Gray, were introduced in the starting lineup for Garrett Community College. That, in itself, started Jones blinking.

Jones, a freshman forward at Hagerstown Junior College, could see the powder blue uniforms of Garrett Community College, but in his mind they registered as black and orange. That's because this game was a rematch of sorts.

Jones spent his high school career playing for Jefferson High in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va. The Cougars' arch rivals were the Martinsburg Bulldogs, for whom both Grantham and Gray played.

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Bulldogs-Cougars games are highlights of the Eastern Panhandle athletic years and they are focal points for civic pride and conjure up memories, both good and bad.

For Jones, bad memories proved to be a motivation. For Grantham and Gray, it was just nostalgic playing close to home. In fact, a contingent of fans from Martinsburg - including Grantham and Gray's ex-coach Dave Rogers - came to watch the game.

"I was looking forward to this game to face those guys," Jones said. "They beat us three times in my 10th grade year."

Old memories die hard, but scoring 21 points in HJC's 94-62 victory over the Cougars helped ease Jones' pain.

"There was a little rivalry here, but it was more of a friendly competition," said Gray, a 6-foot-6 sophomore. "When I first saw (Jones), it brought back the old memories of the Martinsburg-Jefferson games, but then I got back focused on this game. I was just looking forward to the challenge of Garrett vs. Hagerstown, because we have a little rivalry going here, too."

The game was a struggle for the first 91/2 minutes, with HJC holding an 18-17 lead. But the Hawks exhibited a rediscovered transition game, running off a 30-11 spurt for a 48-28 halftime lead. Jones scored nine points in the run.

"I've been dying to get back home," said Grantham, a freshman point guard. "This wasn't what I wanted to happen though. It wasn't a Martinsburg-Jefferson thing, it was HJC-Garrett. We were all out there playing hard. (Jones) may have used it as a revenge factor, but I didn't. I just come out to play hard every game."

Gray battled Jones head-to-head at times but came away with 13 points, nine in the second half when the game was out of hand. Grantham was held to four points.

"It was fun, but now we have to go back to the drawing board," Gray said.

But Jones got exactly what he wanted in this Jefferson-Martinsburg, disguised as HJC-Garrett, matchup.

"I had to get them. I owed them," Jones said. "I paid them back."

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