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Open Door Jets play alumni cage players

Jim Walker

When the past met the present, the future looks like even more fun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

When the past met the present, the future looks like even more fun.

Some of the Open Door School alumni basketball players returned to their old court Tuesday afternoon to play the current Jets team in the first-ever Alumni Basketball Game.

The veteran players, many of whom were members of the 1996 state championship team, rolled to an easy win. But Open Door principal Jeff Saunders said the game wasn’t about winning or losing.

"The score doesn’t matter," said Saunders. "Most of these kids work at Tri-State Industries and they talk about playing basketball all the time.. This is just an opportunity for them to play."

The gym was packed with more than 100 fans sitting around the court and on the stage and cheered with all the fervor of the NCAA championship game.

"We didn’t know what would happen. We’ve never done this before. Obviously, it was a hit," said Saunders.

The game was an even bigger hit with the players, especially the alumni.

James Aldridge hit a shot at the buzzer that gave the alumni a 100-31 win. Damon Lawson led the alumni with 30 points, Nathan Waggoner had 28, DaWayne McSweeney 26, Aldridge 10, Mark McGlone six, and Scott Adkins added two points.

Lawson, Waggoner, McSweeney, and McGlone were all members of the ’96 state title team. The Jets also won the state in 1991.

"I liked playing with my former teammates. It was hard to play (after being apart) for so long. I play at the Y (YMCA), but not every afternoon," said Waggoner.

Lawson, who was one of the standouts for the state title team, didn’t appear to have lost his edge.

"I play a lot. I play every day," said Lawson. "It was easy. We talk about (playing together) a lot."

McGlone was happy to be back on his former court. When he was younger, he often would use flashlights late at night to light up his court at home in order to practice.

"I used to play hear. I wish I could come back more often," McGlone said.

Jeremy Spitz had 13 points and Jay Cremeans 10 to lead the Jets Donnie Cooper added six points and Patricia Ellis two.

"They were good. They were as good as the teams we played this year. But it was fun," said Cremeans.

The fans and players weren’t the only ones enjoying the game. Even the referees, Don Delong and Scott Williams, had fun officiating the game.

Delong, the retired Ironton Fire Chief, has been officiating most of the Jets games during the regular season for nearly 10 years.

"I enjoy it," said Delong. "Any time I could do it, I was here. I worked games back in 1995, but then I had my stroke. I picked up again in ’97 and any time I can I try to call."

Alumni Jets 30 24 21 25 – 100

Open Door 10 10 3 8 – 31

ALUMNI: Nathan Waggoner 28, James Aldridge 10, DaWayne McSweeney 26, Damon Lawson 30, Mark McGlone 6, Scott Adkins 2, Mike Gabbert 0. Coach: Scott Blankenship.

OPEN DOOR: Jay Cremeans 10, Jeremy Spitz 13, Donnie Cooper 6, Kenny Cooper 0, Jarrett Osbourne 0, Kristina Luther 0, Patricia Ellis 2, Jimmy Fields 0, Mike Lake 0, Billy Cooper 0, Mike Nichols 0, Justin Collins 0, Rebecca Jenkins 0. Coach: Angie Kelley.