SGTC Jets Johnson and Bata earn GCAA honors

March 3, 2020
South Georgia Tech’s Justin Johnson (5) and Merdy Bata (21) earn GCAA recognition for their play on the court this season.
South Georgia Tech’s Justin Johnson (5) and Merdy Bata (21) earn GCAA recognition for their play on the court this season.

     South Georgia Technical College Jets sophomores Justin Johnson and Merdy Bata were honored by the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Division I men’s basketball coaches recently by being selected to serve on the All-Region teams for their performance on the court during the 2019 – 2020 season.

   Johnson, a 6’ 7” guard from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, was recognized as a second-team All-Region player in the GCAA and Merdy Bata, a 7’ 0” sophomore pivot from Kinshasa, Congo, who played at Carver College last season, was named to the GCAA All-Defensive team.

   The Jets and head coach Travis Garrett finished the 2019 – 2020 season in 7th place in the GCAA.  They had a 6 – 10 conference record and were 13 – 17 overall.  This is the fourth time in five years that Garrett and the Jets have finished the regular season in 7th place. In two of the past three seasons that he finished 7th, Garrett was able to lead the Jets to the tournament finals and finished as the runner-up.

   The Jets are slated to face the second ranked Georgia Highlands team in the quarter-final rounds of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3rd in Rome, Georgia.  The winner of that game will advance to the Region XVII semi-finals on Saturday, March 6th.  The semi-finals and finals will be played on the home court of the highest remaining seed in the tournament.

   Johnson is the leading scorer for the Jets averaging 16.8 points per game.  He has started 27 of the Jets 28 games this season and averaged 13.3 minutes of play each game.  He is a 51 percent field goal shooter and hits 35.7 percent of his three-point attempts.  He shoots 68% from the foul line.  He also averages 5.6 rebounds a game along with 1.4 assists and 1.6 steals.

   As a freshman, Johnson averaged 19.1 points per game and started 15 of the 16 games he played in.  He shot 49.6 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from the three-point line.  He shot 67% from the free throw line.

   Merdy Bata earned his spot on the All-Defensive team by leading the Jets in blocks per game.  He averaged 2.3 per game.  He also had an average of 4.9 rebounds per game.  He started 12 of the    16 games he played in this season for the Jets and average 2.8 points per game.  He is a 44.4 percent shooter from the field and a 27.8 percent shooter from the foul line.

   Former South Georgia Technical College assistant men’s basketball coach Reco Dawson, who is now the head coach for the Central Georgia Titans was the GCAA Coach of the Year for 2019 – 2020 season.  His team also captured the GCAA regular season conference title and is ranked in first place in the NJCAA Region XVII tournament.

   Trevin Wade of Georgia Highlands College was the Player of the Year, Jordan Booker of Andrew College as named Defensive Player of the Year and Jacquez Fountain of Albany Technical College was the Freshman Player of the Year.

   Georgia Highland’s Wade was also a member of the GCAA first team All-Region squad along with his teammate Cahiem Brown.  Albany Tech’s Vinicius Viana and Jacquez Fountain along with Keith Littles of Andrew College rounded out the first team All-Region selections.

   South Georgia Tech’s Justin Johnson led the second team All-Region nominations and he was joined by Central Georgia Tech’s Myles Washington and Lincoln Smith, Andrew College’s Tez Collins and Gordon State College’s Eleik Bowles.

   Earning honorable mention were:  Southern Crescent Technical College’s Tarique Gray, South Georgia State College Marquise Jackson and Collins Joseph, Georgia Highlands Langston Wilson and Central Georgia Justin Tene.

    In addition to South Georgia Tech’s Merdy Bata, the All-Defensive team included: Andrew College’s Jordan Booker, South Georgia State’s Marquise Jackson, Georgia Highland Jamal burke and Albany Tech’s Zell Felton.

   The All-Freshman team included:  Albany Tech’s Jacquez Fountain, Georgia Highlands’ Cahiem Brown and Langston Wilson, Central Georgia Tech’s Montae Terrell and South Georgia State’s Bryce Brown.

   The 2020 Region XVII tournament begins tonight with top-ranked Central Georgia Tech hosting eighth seeded East Georgia at 7 p.m. in Macon; second ranked Georgia Highlands taking on 7th seeded South Georgia Tech at 7:30 p.m. in Rome, third place South Georgia State hosting Gordon at 7 p.m., and fourth place Albany Tech hosting fifth ranked Andrew College at 7 p.m.