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Jets, Lady Jets split in key GCAA match-ups with Georgia Highlands

AMERICUS – The South Georgia Technical College Jets and Lady Jets intercollegiate basketball teams split decisions in key Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) contests with Georgia Highlands College from Rome on Jan. 30. In both cases, the higher seeded team lost. The top-ranked Lady Jets fell to former SGTC Lady Jets head basketball coach Brandon Harrell and the Lady Chargers 82–72 and then the Jets rallied to defeat the 14th nationally ranked Chargers 91–83 in the second half of the double-header in the Hangar.

Harrell’s Lady Chargers upset both the GCAA top-ranked women’s teams this past week. They defeated nationally ranked Darton College on Wednesday in a 69–65 decision in Rome and then came from behind to defeat the Lady Jets 82–72 on Jan. 30 in Americus. Darton and South Georgia Tech are still tied for first place with identical 10–2 records. The Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers are now tied for third place with Central Georgia Tech with identical 9–3 GCAA records.

“We didn’t play our game,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey.  “This was a very intense ball game and we didn’t play with the intensity that we needed to win.”

One of the main differences in the ball game was the disproportionate number of free throws shot between the two teams. Georgia Highlands shot 48 free throws in 40 minutes while the Lady Jets only went to the foul line a total of 16 times.  Four of those were the result of technical fouls on Georgia Highlands. In the second half, Georgia Highlands was 17 of 29 from the foul line and the Lady Jets were nine of 13.

The Lady Jets fell behind by as many as 12 points in the first half, but rallied to overcome that deficit and pull ahead 34–32 by the end of the first half. Georgia Highlands came out in the second half and outscored the Lady Jets 50–38 in the last 20 minutes to capture the 82–72 victory. This ended a six-game winning streak for the Lady Jets and left them tied for first place in the GCAA with Darton.

Freshman Molly Brown was the leading scorer for the Lady Jets with 20 points. She was followed by sophomore TaQuandra Mike, who added 17 points and Alexis “Bre” Armstrong, who closed out the double-digit scoring with 11 points. Georgia Highlands had four players in double-figures.

Free throws were a big deal in the second game as well. There were a total of 83 free throws shot in the men’s game with Georgia Highlands. The Chargers sunk 30 of 45 from the foul line while the Jets were 23 of 38. Sixty-two of the 83 free throws came in the second half.

The Jets were able to pull head of the NJCAA 14th ranked Chargers 42–38 at the end of the first half and then continued to maintain that lead in the second half to capture the 91–83 win over the GCAA second place team.

Coach Douglas Byrd and the Jets moved into third place in the GCAA with that impressive win. South Georgia State College, one of the top 10 teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association, is in first place with a 9–1 record and Georgia Highlands is still in second place with an 8–2 and 19–3 record. The Jets are 7–5 in the conference and 14–8 overall.

“We stayed after them,” said Byrd. “Our guys really seem to be coming together and it is showing in our record.” The Jets have won their last six consecutive games but will face another strong team on Feb. 4 when they travel to Waycross to play South Georgia State College.

Sophomore guard Christian Nobles continued to lead the way for the Jets with 27 points. Deriece Parks was next with 13 and Britton Reed scored 10. There were two Jets with nine points, Tim Straughter and Trey Mitchell, and two Jets with eight points, Jade McLendon and Brandon Jackson.

The Jets and the Lady Jets will travel on Feb. 2 to Cuthbert to take on Andrew College at 5:30 and the Jets travel to Barnesville to play Gordon College at 7:30.  On Feb. 4, the Lady Jets travel to Albany to take on Darton College in a key GCAA match-up at 6 p.m. and the men travel to Waycross for a key game against South Georgia State College at 7 p.m.   The Jets and Lady Jets will both be in action at home on Feb. 7 against Chattahoochee Technical College at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Sophomore Day for the Jets and Lady Jets is set for Saturday, February 14th at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. There are currently 10 sophomores on the two squads. The Lady Jets have three sophomores and the Jets have seven.