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For HJC men, even the manager scores

February 06, 1997

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

It's not to say the game was a mismatch - which it was - but even the Hagerstown Junior College manager scored.

No joke.

Antoine Harris, the guy who sat behind the HJC bench for the last three years, was given a uniform and came to play against outmanned and overmatched Montgomery/Takoma Park.

Harris played 10 minutes and collected four points and six rebounds to some of the loudest ovations of the night as the Hawks placed seven players in double figures Wednesday in a 132-82 blowout at the HJC athletic complex.

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"Coach Brown told me at Christmas that I was going to be suiting up," Harris said, as he returned to his normal job of collecting uniforms and carting them away to the laundry. "I was being really patient and waiting and waiting and it finally happened. I told everyone I was like Dexter Boney. I got my own 10-day contract."

The ruckus over Harris taking the floor overshadowed an otherwise forgettable game with some very large accomplishments.

The Hawks (20-7) hit the 20-win plateau with a team dominated by freshmen and depleted by ineligiblity, injury and players' quitting. HJC, which is riding a 10-game winning streak, played without DeWayne Jacobs, who sprained his ankle in practice and is out for at least a week.

"There isn't much to say," HJC coach Jim Brown said about the blowout win. "But if someone would have told me this team would win 20 games back when we were 8-6, I'd have questioned them. The one thing no one knew was the character of this team."

Robert Gregory led HJC with 25 points. Tony Greene added 21 and Devon Wade scored 20. Wade pulled down eight rebounds to move into ninth place on HJC's all-time freshman rebounding list.

The Hawks jumped to a 13-2 lead and were never challenged. HJC led 70-36 at the half and by as many as 56 points.

With the game well in hand, emphasis turned to get Harris in the scorebook. With 4:20 left in the game, Mike Crawmer passed the ball inside to Harris on the block, but the ball went back out to Crawmer. Crawmer fired it back in to Harris, who canned a short turnaround jumper.

"I just wanted to get him his first two points," Crawmer said. "He passed it back out and I threw it in again and told him to shoot. I had scored already."

The monkey was off Harris' back, who will dress for the remainder of HJC's games.

"It was a big sigh of relief," Harris said. "I didn't want to disappoint the fans who were yelling for me and it saved me from getting a hard time from the guys. This was a dream come true."

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