Lady Jets return to NJCAA National Rankings at 23rd spot
Nearly one month after the South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets fell from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I women’s top 25 rankings, Lady Jets head coach James Frey’s team was able to break back into the national spotlight with a 23rd place ranking.
“This is good news,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey, when the NJCAA released their national rankings on February 27th, 2018 and the Lady Jets were back in the listing. The Lady Jets had climbed as high as 7th in the NJCAA Division I rankings before losing to the defending national champion Gulf Coast Lady Commodores and Eastern Florida College in the Lady Jets Holiday Classic tournament in late December.
The Lady Jets slipped from 7th to 14th but then dropped out of the top 25 completely after losing to Wallace State – Hanceville and Central Georgia Tech in back to back games on January 18th and 20th. The Lady Jets have won seven consecutive games since those losses and clinched the GCAA regular season title with a 17 – 1 conference record and a 25 – 5 overall record.
“I am glad that we were able to get back into the national rankings,” said Coach Frey, who added that even though it is an honor, it is just a lot of hype if they don’t continue to win. “Right now we are number one in our conference, but if we lose, we are finished. We have to win each game from here on out to earn the right to compete for the national title in Lubbock, Texas.”
As the top ranked GCAA regular season champions, the Lady Jets will host the NJCAA Region XVII end of the season tournament on Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd. South Georgia Tech is set to play the winner of the East Georgia State – Albany Tech game on Friday, March 2nd at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the Central Georgia Tech – Atlanta Metro and the Georgia Highlands – Andrew games on Tuesday, will face off at 5:30 on Friday. The two winners will meet in the finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Hangar on the SGTC Americus campus.
In addition to breaking into the national rankings, the Lady Jets have two players who were singled out nationally for their outstanding performances. Two of the Jets were also spotlighted.
The two Lady Jets are sophomore Esther Adenike, 6’ 2” forward from Nigeria, and Houlfat Mahouchiza, a 6’ 1” forward from France. Adenike was just named as the GCAA Player of the Year for 2017 – 2018 and a first team GCAA All-Conference player and Mahouchiza was named to the GCAA All-conference second team squad.
Adenike is currently the fourth best rebounder in the nation with a total of 351 this season. The top rebounder in the nation has 439. Adenike is in 8th place in rebounds per game with an average of 11.7 per game. Adenike is 17th in defensive rebounds with an average of 5.0 and 7th in offensive rebounds per game with an average of 4.6. She is also listed as 24th in the nation field goal percentage shooting. She was listed at 34th in the nation in blocked shots with 1.8 per outing.
Her teammate, Houlfat Mahouchiza, is currently ranked 30th in total rebounds this season with 253, and 32nd in the nation in blocked shots per game. She is averaging blocking 1.8 shots each outing. She is also shooting 82.8% from foul line and is ranked 22nd in the nation in that category.
The SGTC Jets also had two players included in the NJCAA individual rankings this week. Sophomore Marquel Wiggins of Oglethorpe, GA, and sophomore guard Rico Simmons.
Wiggins is ranked 41st in rebounds per game with a 9.1 average. The 6’ 6” forward is ranked 10th in offensive rebounding with an average of 4.3 per game. He has a total of 255 rebounds this season which put him at 35th in the nation in total number of rebounds.
Rico Simmons, 5’ 7” from Wilkinson County, is ranked 40th in free throw percentage shooting. He is hitting 83.3% of his attempts.
The South Georgia Tech Jets will host Gordon State College on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the last regular season game for the Jets and the Lady Jets will host the NJCAA Region XVII tournament on March 2nd and 3rd in the Hangar. The Jets will also host a first round NJCAA Region XVII tournament game on Tuesday, March 6th at 7 p.m.