South Georgia Tech Booster Club honors Jets and Lady Jets

April 19, 2023
SGTC Lady Jets head coach James Frey along with assistant coaches Olivia Melvin and Ricka Jackson are shown with the members of the 2022 – 2023 Lady Jets with their plaques.
SGTC Lady Jets head coach James Frey along with assistant coaches Olivia Melvin and Ricka Jackson are shown with the members of the 2022 – 2023 Lady Jets with their plaques.

“A good year and a great year,” was the way South Georgia Technical College Jets Booster Club President Martha Arrington summed up the 2022 – 2023 basketball season for the Jets and Lady Jets at the Booster Club Awards/Recognition banquet held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus. New Mexico State University head coach Jody Adams was the guest speaker.
Adams has been at New Mexico State for two seasons and led the Aggies to their first winning season in four years. She has over 200 career wins as a head coach and carries a tradition of excellence everywhere she goes. She was the head coach at Wichita State and Murray State and has been an assistant or associate coach at Auburn, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Southern Illinois. She was a student athlete at Tennessee and played four seasons for the Lady Vols under legendary head coach Pat Summitt.
She began her talk by asking “Why do winners win?” Adams explained the answer to that question can be summed up as “winners do what losers don’t and they do it over and over again.” She went on to explain that “winners do not become winners on the court. They get recognized for what they do on the court.”
She commended the Jets and Lady Jets for their efforts during the 2022 – 2023 season and said she was humbled and honored to be asked to speak at their banquet. She also praised SGTC Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey for “doing things the right way, for coaching from his heart.”
Adams went on to challenge the players to “surround yourself with good people and make good choices. You have 100% control over your beliefs and your heart. Choices you make, make a difference. Everything is determined by our daily habits and choices. Keep chasing light when things get hard. Empower each other. Show love because love truly wins.”
SGTC President Dr. John Watford thanked Adams for sharing her wisdom with the players and Booster Club members. He also thanked all of the individuals who made the season possible including players, coaches, booster club members and faculty and staff. “The athletic program at South Georgia Tech is very special. The hangar is a nice facility but it is the team spirit and the spirit of the college and the people in this room that make it special. Thank you for your support of the program. Thank you, athletes, for being leaders on this campus and for the work you put in day in and out in the classroom and on the court.”
He also added that it is not just about wins and losses. It is about becoming a strong person that can be productive long after basketball is over.
The Lady Jets finished the season with a perfect 15 – 0 conference record, the GCAA title, NJCAA Region XVII tournament title and the NJCAA South West District championship. They advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament for the seventh consecutive season, ninth overall with James Frey at the helm and 10th for the program. They finished the year with a 33 – 2 overall record, the best in the history of the men’s or women’s intercollegiate program. Their two losses came during the opening game of the season and in the final game when they lost to the eventual national champion Northwest Florida in the elite eight round of the national tournament.
The Lady Jets were ranked tops in the nation for nine consecutive weeks and went into the NCAA National Tournament with the number one seed. This was the first time a South Georgia Technical College athletic team had earned the top ranking in the nation.
The Jets closed out the season with an 8 – 22 overall record but did earn a NJCAA Region XVII tournament end of the season appearance. They were coached by Chris Ballauer and Assistant Coach Karim Maquenyega. “We didn’t finish where we had hoped but this team never quit fighting,” said Ballauer.
Ballauer selected SGTC third-year sophomore Kallin Fonseca to receive the MVP award for the team. Sophomore Aaron Pitts was selected to the GCAA First-team All-Region squad for his performance during the 2022 – 2023 season and sophomore Nathan Wilson was a member of the GCAA All-Defensive team for his efforts.
SGTC Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey presented all of his players with plaques for their outstanding efforts on the court. The sophomores had an overall record of 60 – 9 for their two seasons and the freshmen finished the first season at 33 – 2. “This was an amazing season and I am very proud of these young ladies and the people who support our program,” said Coach Frey.
Booster Club President Martha Arrington told the Jets and Lady Jets players she believes the players have “bright futures and much success ahead. This has been a very special year and I have enjoyed watching both the Jets and the Lady Jets on and off the court. They have accomplished so much and I am very excited for the program because of their success.”