SGTC Lady Jets win NJCAA Region XVII tournament for 3rd consecutive year
The nationally ranked South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets defeated Brandon Harrell and the Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers 75 – 57 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XVII Tournament finals Saturday to capture their third consecutive NJCAA Region XVII title. That win gives the Lady Jets the opportunity to host the NJCAA District J game and possibly return to the NJCAA national tournament for the third consecutive time and fifth time in six years.
“I am so proud of these young ladies,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey after his team took the win over Georgia Highlands. “This is what we have worked for over the past seven months. We had a goal to win the GCAA regular season conference title, host this tournament, win this tournament, advance to the NJCAA District J playoff game and head back to the National Tournament. We have one more game between us and returning to the National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas for the third year in a row.”
As the NJCAA Region XVII District winners, the South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets will host Spartanburg Methodist, the winners from the NJCAA Region X, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9th. Spartanburg Methodist was the top ranked team in Region 10 and they defeated Caldwell Tech 71 – 64 in their tournament. Spartanburg Methodist is 10 – 14 overall this season. Caldwell Tech had a 17 – 7 record.
“We have to continue to play hard each and every game. We are at the point in the season where you win or you go home,” said Frey. “Spartanburg Methodist has been working all season just like we have and the team that executes Saturday is the team that advances to the National Tournament. We want to be that team.”
Georgia Highlands and the South Georgia Technical College have met three times in the NJCAA Region XVII tournament finals over the last six years. South Georgia Tech won two of those and Georgia Highlands was the victor in 2015 – 2016 when they snatched a last second 65 – 63 win away from the Lady Jets. That upset prevented the Lady Jets from advancing the District J game and the national tournament.
The SGTC Lady Jets have the opportunity to secure their third straight trip to the national tournament Saturday when they host Spartanburg Methodist. The Lady Jets defeated Spartanburg Methodist, 69 – 42 last season in the District J game last season. A win Saturday would give the Lady Jets their first three-peat trip to the national tournament in the history of the men’s or ladies’ basketball program at South Georgia Technical College.
Sophomore forward Ricka Jackson led her team to the victory against Georgia Highlands with 22 points, six rebounds, and two steals. She had help from sophomore guard Alyssa Nieves and sophomore guard Mari Hill who added 16 and 13 points respectively. Nieves had three rebounds and two assists to go with her 16 points and Hall had three rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Sophomore forward Bigue Sarr added nine points and nine rebounds. Kamya Hollingshead wound up with five points, Fatou Pouye and Yasriyyah Wazeerud-Din both contributed four points, and Anna McKendree closed out the scoring with two points. The win moved the Lady Jets to 20 – 0 in the GCAA and 29 – 3 overall.
The Lady Jets were only up 19 – 15 at the end of the first half against Georgia Highlands. The Lady Chargers kept the game close in the second half and were trailing by four points at the end of the first half, 33 – 29. South Georgia Tech came on strong in the second half and outscored Georgia Highlands 19 – 11 in the third quarter and 23 – 17 in the fourth quarter to win 75 – 57.
The win moved the Lady Jets to 20 – 0 in the conference and 29 – 3 overall. The best record in the history of the Jets or Lady Jets program is 30 – 5 and it was set in originally by the Lady Jets in 2013 – 2014 and tied again by the Lady Jets in 2016 – 2017.
GCAA Commissioner David Elder presented the South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets with the NJCAA Region XVII tournament trophy and Georgia Highlands with the runner-up trophy. He also presented Lady Jets head coach James Frey with the GCAA Coach of the Year honors. This was the fifth time in seven years that Frey has earned the honor.