South Georgia Tech’s Lady Jets head coach James Frey selected as GCAA Coach of Year; four Lady Jets earn top honors for 2018 – 2019
South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head basketball coach James Frey was selected as the women’s Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Division I Coach of the Year for 2018 – 2019, announced GCAA Commissioner David Elder. Four of the 2018 – 2019 Lady Jets were also selected to the GCAA first and second team All-Region teams.
The GCAA women’s Division I Basketball coaches selected the All-Region team, along with selecting the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Coach of the Year for 2018-2019 recently, said GCAA Commissioner Elder. Frey along with SGTC Lady Jets Alyssa Nieves, Bigue Sarr, Fatou Pouye, and Ricka Jackson were selected for honors.
This was the fifth time in seven years as head coach of the Lady Jets at South Georgia Technical College that James Frey was selected as the GCAA Coach of Year. He was first tapped in 2013 – 2014 after guiding his team to the GCAA Championship in only his second year as a head coach. He was selected again in 2015 – 2016, shared the honor in 2016 – 2017 and earned the title again in 2017 – 2018 and 2018 – 2019.
“It’s an honor to be voted by my peers as Coach of the Year,” said Frey. “We have worked really hard to build the program the right way; by recruiting quality people who are very good student athletes and who buy into our goal of maintaining excellence on and off the court. This award isn’t about me honestly, it’s about Coach Kenzia Conyers who works tirelessly in recruiting our type of student-athletes and then developing them. It’s about the young people who make the decision to come to our small community and then work so hard to be great. This is a team award and I am really happy more for them than I am for myself. It is a great honor.”
While Frey was modest about his accomplishments at the helm of the Lady Jets, he was excited that this season the Lady Jets compiled an 18 – 0 unbeaten record against the GCAA opponents. This was the first time in his seven years as a head coach at SGTC that a team had accomplished this feat. His past two seasons, the Lady Jets had one conference loss during the regular season.
“I am excited for the Lady Jets to have that accomplishment,” explained Frey. “They can all remember that they were a part of the undefeated conference team. However, the real work begins now. We have to step up and finish the drill.”
Frey also had words of praise for sophomores Alyssa Nieves, Bigue Sarr, Fatou Pouye, and Ricka Jackson who were singled out for the first and second team All-Region honors for their play on the court this season.
This was the first time that four members of a Lady Jets squad had earned All-Region honors in a single season. “I’m very pleased our conference coaches saw fit to place four of our young ladies on the all-conference teams. I am very proud of each and every one of these young ladies. They deserve this and more,” said Coach Frey. “Each one has worked really hard this season.”
Alyssa Nieves, a sophomore guard from Tampa, Florida, and Bigue Sarr, a sophomore center from Kaolack, Senegal, were both named to the first team All-Region team and then sophomore forward Fatou Pouye from Kaolack Senegal, and sophomore forward Ricka Jackson from Ewa Beach, HI were selected for the All-Region second team. Central Georgia Technical College’s Fredicka Sheats was selected as the GCAA Player of the Year and Jahnarria Brown from Georgia Highlands was named Freshman of the Year.
Joining Sheats, Nieves, and Sarr on the first team All-Region squad was Savanna Walker from East Georgia State College, Ciara Thompson from Georgia Highlands College and Allisa Jones from Albany Technical College. The second team All-Region group consisted of SGTC’s Ricka Jackson and Fatou Pouye as well as Courtney Butts from East Georgia State College, Dawnique Snead from Andrew College and Jessica Eadsforth-Yates from Georgia Highlands.
“I am disappointed that Alyssa Nieves wasn’t Player of the Year in the conference. Her statistics match anyone’s and she was the best player on a team that went 18 – 0 in the conference. Hopefully it will fuel her fire going into the post season,” said Frey.
Frey also added that having Bigue Sarr, Fatoue Pouye, and Ricka Jackson all join Nieves on the all-conference team is an honor. “There were only 11 young ladies named so for us to have four of them, it speaks volumes about the way they have approached the season and handled their business. Now they have to finish the drill!” said Frey.
Alyssa Nieves set two new school records for the Lady Jets this season. She set the record for the most three-point success shots in a game with 11 and most points scored in a single game with 41. She is averaging 18 points per game, first in the GCAA in three-point percentage shooting averaging over 52%, and is also ranked eighth nationally in three-point percentage shooting. She earned honors this season nationally as an NJCAA Player of the Week and has been the GCAA Player of the Week as well.
Bigue Sarr is currently second in the GCAA in blocks per game and fifth in field goal percentage shooting and fifth in rebounds per game. She is also ranked 14th nationally in blocks per game. Fatou Pouye is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds per game. She is leading the GCAA in field goal percentage shooting, offensive rebounding and ranks 9th nationally in offensive rebounding. Ricka Jackson was the other Lady Jets highlighted and she is averaging 11 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists per game. She finished the year as second in the GCAA in field goal percentage shooting.
As the GCAA top-ranked team, the SGTC Lady Jets will host the NJCAA Region XVII tournament on Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2rd. The Lady Jets will face Albany Tech in the semi-final game on Friday, March 1st followed by a match-up between Central Georgia Tech and Georgia Highlands at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will advance to the final game at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2nd in the Hangar on the SGTC Americus campus. The winner of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament will host the NJCAA District J game the following week for the opportunity to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas.