by Richard Creaser
NEWPORT — It was a bittersweet homecoming for Kendrick Gray, who returned to the North Country gymnasium for the first time this season on Friday night. Gray, a former North Country Falcon freshman, now plays for the Rice Green Knights (12-3) as a potent sophomore forward.
“Coming in as an opponent was pretty nerve-wracking,” Gray said after Rice’s 74-39 win. “I just wanted to do my best and everything kind of came out. I wasn’t expecting to have as good a game as I did.”
Gray exhibited the kind of skills that made him a fearsome opponent for any team. His 17-point performance, tops among both teams, including shooting 4 for 9 from the free throw line, a three-point basket, and five other baskets including a crowd-inciting dunk in the first quarter. The fact that his heroics inspired cheers from both halves of the crowd was not lost on the amiable sophomore.
“I knew I couldn’t hide forever and I’d have to come back sometime,” Gray said smiling. “I love my Newport peeps. I love this place.”