Lions seek one final win in venerable gym

Tonight is likely last men's game at 58-year-old facility
One of the quirks of Paine College's Carter Gym is the lack of room at the each end of the court. The gym, which opened in 1952, will be a part of a new complex, which calls for a 5,000-seat arena.

Busy workers scurried about Wednesday afternoon cleaning -- and cleaning out -- Carter Gym.


When Augusta State travels to Paine tonight, the teams likely are playing the final men's basketball game in the longtime facility.

"There's so many memories of games we've played here," Lions coach Ron Spry said. "It'd be impossible to list all of them."

Paine (1-2) is looking to make one more memory in its cozy gym when it takes on No. 18 Augusta State at 8 p.m. The women's teams tip off at 6. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for Paine students with an ID.

Paine is soon expected to begin construction of its new Health Education Activities Learning Complex, which will include a 5,000-seat arena, according to previous reports. The Randall A. Carter Auditorium and Physical Education building, opened in 1952, will be a part of the new complex and soon will undergo renovation. On Wednesday, Spry was boxing up items from his office in preparation of a move to another building.

Spry, whose team staged epic battles with Alabama A&M at Carter Gym in the early 1990s, said he believes this will be the final men's game at the current home. The women's team is expected to face Voorhees, Dec. 13, at Carter Gym. Then the Paine squads will move their home contests to Josey High School, starting Jan. 1, for an undeterminable amount of time -- Spry said he didn't know a completion date for the new facility.

"This is one of the most exciting places you can play in," he said. "It's been a joy to coach in here."

Carter Gym was the site of the last Paine win over Augusta State. On Nov. 19, 2005, the Lions defeated the Jaguars, 62-58, at a place Augusta State coach Dip Metress is well familiar with.

"It's a great environment to play in," said Metress, who used to walk a mile to watch practices at Carter Gym when he was a Jaguar assistant in the early 1990s. "I would never not play Paine."

Augusta State has won six in a row against its city rival, including last year's 31-point victory.

The Jaguars are off to a 4-0 start despite not being up to full strength. Sophomore center Travis Keels is about "80 percent," Metress said, after suffering an ankle injury last month. And freshman forward Devin Wright-Nelson has yet to play this season because of a foot injury.



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