Central Georgia Tech overpowers Jets in NJCAA Region XVII finals
Rome, GA – One upset was all the South Georgia Technical College Jets could manage in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XVII tournament in Rome this weekend. After the fourth-seeded South Georgia Technical College Jets denied the Georgia College Athletic Association (GCAA) champion Georgia Highlands State College Chargers the opportunity to compete for their fourth consecutive NJCAA Region XVII Division I men’s basketball championship with a 103 – 99 upset Friday, the Jets dropped a 74 – 52 loss to the second-seeded Central Georgia Tech Titans in the finals.
The Jets finished the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) regular season in fourth place, but the upset over Georgia Highlands in the semi-finals allowed South Georgia Tech to capture its second NJCAA Region XVII Tournament runner-up trophy in two years under Head Coach Travis Garrett.
Central Georgia Tech defeated South Georgia State College from Waycross in the semi-finals, 91 – 85 and then took the 74 – 52 victory over South Georgia Tech in the finals to capture the Region XVII championship and advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas March 19th – 24th.
“We played our hearts out on Friday,” said South Georgia Technical College Jets head coach Travis Garrett after his team overcame a 20-point deficit to beat Georgia Highlands for the first time this season. That game took a toll on the Jets. Sophomore forward Marquel Wiggins from Macon County took an elbow to the head in the final minutes and had to leave the game. He was admitted overnight to the Floyd County Medical Center for observation and was unable to play in the finals against Central Georgia Tech.
“We never seemed to get in a rhyme on Saturday,” said Coach Garrett. “You have to give it to Coach Rico Dawson and the Central Georgia Tech Titans. They were the better team Saturday. We just didn’t do what we needed to do to win.”
Central Georgia Tech’s defense held the Jets to 25 points in the first half. The Jets shot 9% from the three-point line, hitting only one of 11 attempts. They did not fare much better under the basket hitting only 27.8% of their shots. Meanwhile Central Georgia Tech hit 56.3% of their threes with nine of 16 attempts and were 16 of 34 from under the basket. They cooled off the second half but the SGTC Jets still fell short 74 – 52.
Sophomore guard Rico Simmons was the top scorer for the Jets with 15 points. He had 27 points on Friday. Sophomore forward Dawan Bass was the only other Jet in double figures with 13 points. Sophomore guard Michael Boone added seven points, sophomore Devante Foster only had six points and Adonis Green and Emeshaun Offord accounted for four points each. Sam Matice closed out the scoring for the Jets with three points.
“I am very proud of my guys,” said Travis Garrett. “We finished the season in the hunt for the title. We all wish we had been able to finish the drill but we can hold our heads up high and be proud of what we accomplished.”
This is head coach Travis Garrett’s third season at the helm of the Jets. He has a 48 – 48 record and this is his team’s best finish so far. The Jets were 20 – 12 overall and were 11 – 5 in the conference. They finished the regular season in 8th place in his first year as the head coach and lost in the first round of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament to Georgia Highlands. They came back in 2016-2017 and were 7th in the overall season and battleed back to finish second in the NJCAA Region XVII tournament.
This season the Jets moved up to fourth place overall in regular season play and captured their second consecutive NJCAA Region XVII runner-up trophy. This was Coach Garrett’s first 20-win season with the Jets.