SGTC’s Jets and Lady Jets tapped for end of season honors
Two members of the nationally ranked South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets were selected to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XVII All-Tournament team for post season play after the Lady Jets captured their third consecutive NJCAA Region XVII title recently. Jets freshman Justin Johnson also was tapped by the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) as a member of Division I men’s first team 2018-2019 All-Conference squad and was recognized as a member of the conference’s All-Freshman team. He was also selected as the GCAA Player of the Week during the final week of the regular season.
Mari Hill, a sophomore transfer guard from Alchi, Japan, was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament after posting 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in the Lady Jets 84 – 51 win over Albany Tech in the NJCAA Region XVII semi-final game. She came back and posted another 13 points against Georgia Highlands in the Lady Jets 75 – 57 victory that secured SGTC’s third consecutive Region XVII championship and the opportunity to advance to the NJCAA District J playoffs. South Georgia Tech will host Spartanburg Methodist on Saturday, March 9th at 2 p.m. in the Hangar.
Hill transferred to South Georgia Technical College after being a part of the national championship Tallahasee Community College squad in 2017 – 2018. She was ranked second in assists nationally this season and was listed in 8th place in the nation in steals with 3.6 per game. She averaged 7.3 steals a game this season for the Lady Jets.
The other Lady Jet tapped for the NJCAA Region XVII All-Tournament team was sophomore standout Ricka Jackson. Jackson had 12 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the Albany Tech semi-final match-up and led the Lady Jets in scoring in the final contest with Georgia Highlands. She had 22 points, six rebounds, and two steals in that game.
“Mari Hill and Ricka Jackson are both very deserving of this honor,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey. “It was a great day for South Georgia Tech when Mari Hill decided to transfer here and play her sophomore season with us. She has been a great asset at the point guard position and she has done well at getting the ball to the right people at the right time to give them an opportunity to score.
“Ricka Jackson is also an outstanding leader on this team,” added Frey. “I have enjoyed coaching her for the past two seasons. She contributed as a freshman but really stepped up her game this season. I am very fortunate to have six sophomores that were at the national tournament last year and know how much is at stake each and every game from here on out. I am also counting on our freshmen to continue to play a big part in our success.”
The SGTC Lady Jets have the opportunity to secure their third straight trip to the national tournament Saturday when they host Spartanburg Methodist in the Hangar at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9th in the NJCAA District J game. Spartanburg Methodist is the top-ranked team in Region 10 and that region and region 17 compete in the District J tournament for a spot at the national tournament. The Lady Jets defeated Spartanburg Methodist, 69 – 42 last season in the District J game. 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.
The Lady Jets also have a chance to record the best overall record in the history of the men’s and women’s Jets basketball program. The Lady Jets are currently 29 – 3 on the season. The best record currently is 30 – 5. A win Saturday would elevate the 2018 – 2019 Lady Jets to the national tournament and give them bragging rights for the best overall record so far.
And while the Lady Jets are making history, Jets freshman guard Justin Johnson and his teammates also have the opportunity to make some noise in the post-season playoffs. The Jets host East Georgia tonight in the first round of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament on Tuesday, March 5th at 7 p.m. The Jets have made it to the final round of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament for the past two seasons and finished in second place. Coach Travis Garrett would like to see his team finish the drill this season.
“We are down to the wire. We have to play hard every game or we go home,” said Garrett. “I was proud of the way the team played with intensity the last two games. We need to continue that trend in the tournament and make good things happen.”
He also had words of praise for freshman Justin Johnson. “Justin has been steady at the guard position this season,” said Coach Garrett. “He has made a big difference. He has been able to score and when he is playing well, everyone else seems to pick up their game. We need for everyone to pull together now and keep that momentum going.”
Johnson earned first team All-Conference honors in the GCAA this season for averaging 10.9 points per game in 30 games this season. He is a 47% field goal shooting and hits 30% of his shots from the three-point line. He is also a 60% free throw shooting. The freshman from Ft. Lauderdale, FL also pulls down 6.1 rebounds per game.
He was also listed as one of the top five freshmen in the GCAA his season earning the All-Freshman team honors. Nationally Johnson is ranked 43rd in the nation in total points scored with 530 and listed as 49th in points per game.