Lady Jets earn 3rd consecutive trip to NJCAA National Tournament
The South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets rolled to an impressive 100 – 51 victory over the Spartanburg Methodist Lady Pioneers from Spartanburg, S.C., in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I District J Championship game in Americus, Saturday, to earn a spot in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament for the third consecutive time and fifth time in six years.
“This was a good win obviously,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey. “This is what we have been striving to accomplish all season. We did what we needed to do to qualify for the national tournament. Now we need to concentrate and do what we do well. There are not any bad teams at the national tournament. All of them are coming to play and if we play like we are capable of playing, I feel like we can do well.”
The Lady Jets learned that they are seeded 19th in the NJCAA National Tournament and are scheduled to play 14th seeded Trinity Valley of Athens, Texas, on Tuesday, March 19th at 10 a.m. in the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock Texas. Trinity Valley is currently 26 – 4 and is heading to the national tournament for the 24th time. The Lady Cardinals finished as the NJCAA National Runner-up for the past three years. Last year they lost to Tallahassee Community College 69 – 51 in the championship contest, in 2018 they lost to the top ranked Gulf Coast State team 87 – 63, and in 2016, they lost to Gulf Coast 63 – 47.
On paper, the Lady Cards and the Lady Jets seem to match-up pretty evenly. Trinity Valley is 26 – 4, averages 79.5 points per game, shoots 41.5 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from the three-point line, and hits 68.1 percent of their free throws. They pull down an average of 42.5 rebounds and have 16.4 assists per game. The Lady Jets are 30 – 3, average 81 points per game, hit 44.3% of their field goals, 35.9 percent of their three-point shows and 69.5 percent of their free throws. They average 47.6 rebounds and 18.8 assists each game. It will now all boil down to who plays the best after the whistle blows.
While the Lady Jets are pleased with earning another spot in the national tournament, Coach Frey said that they Lady Jets have reached the place where it is not just about going to the national tournament. It is about performing well in the tournament. “I think we have established the type of program that expects to go to the national tournament, now. We have finished in the Elite Eight or Sweet Sixteen spots in our last four trips, but we have not been able to get past that level. This year we have a tough draw, but our team is talented and earned the right to be in the national tournament. If we play our game and execute the way we are capable of, we can play with anybody.”
The Lady Jets certainly proved that Saturday when they rolled over Spartanburg Methodist in the District J championship. This was the Lady Jets 12th consecutive win and five of South Georgia Technical College’s players posted double-figures in that game.
Sophomore Alyssa Nieves from Tampa, FL, led the team in scoring with 20 points, four rebounds, one assist and three steals. She earned the MVP honors for the District J game with that performance and has continued to be a leader on the courts for the Lady Jets. She made four three-point shots in that contest.
Nieves was followed in scoring by sophomore forward Ricka Jackson with 15 points, two rebounds, three assists, and five steals. Sophomore forward Bigue Sarr tossed in 10 points and had nine rebounds.
Two freshmen joined them in double-digits. Freshman forward Laky Samo had a double-double afternoon with 13 points and 13 rebounds. She also had two steals and an assist. Freshman Anna McKendree scored 10 points, pulled down six rebounds, had one assist and five steals. Other Lady Jets who scored included point guard Mari Hill and freshman Kamya Hollingshed with eight points each, Oumy Gueye had six, Yasriyyah Wazeerud-Din contributed five points, Fatou Pouye had four, and Amar Edeh closed out the scoring with one point.
The Lady Jets finished the 2018 – 2019 season with the best record ever posted by a men’s or ladies at 30 – 3. The previous best record was 30 – 5 set in 2013 – 2014 and tied again in 2016 – 2017. Lady Jets also posted a new record for the most points scored in a single game with 109 points against Andrew College. Alyssa Nieves also set a new record for the most three-pointers in a single game with 11 and most points scored in an individual game with 42.
The Lady Jets will leave for Lubbock, Texas on Thursday, March 14th. A special ceremony for each of the teams is set for Sunday, March 17th and then the Lady Jets will play on Tuesday, March 19th at 10 a.m. in game 7 of the tournament.