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Jets win Holiday Classic; Lady Jets struggle with losses

AMERICUS — The South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Jets walked away with two impressive wins in the Jets portion of the Holiday Basketball Classic, but the Lady Jets dropped tough losses to the number one team in the nation, Gulf Cost, and then lost another decision to a nationally-ranked Eastern Florida team on a last second three-point shot to finish 1 – 2 in the Lady Jets portion of the Holiday Classic.
The Jets and the Lady Jets brought eight teams to Americus to participate in the three-day SGTC Jet and Lady Jets Holiday Classics in the Hangar on the Americus campus over the New Year’s Eve weekend. Nationally ranked teams from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina participated in the National Junior College Athletic Association match-ups.
The Jets came up with a 90 – 84 win over the Wake Tech Eagles from Raleigh, N.C., on Friday and then soared to a 103 – 83 win over St. Petersburg Community College on Saturday to finish the tournament at 2 – 0 and move to 8 – 6 overall. The Jets are still in first place in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association with a 1 – 0 record.
The SGTC Jets were led in scoring by sophomore guard Rico Simmons with 26 points and Macon County’s Marquel Wiggins was close behind with 24 points. Simmons also had 5 assists and one rebound and Wiggins had 6 rebounds, one assist and two blocked shots.
Durand Green from Brunswick tossed in 19 points. He was six of nine from the three-point line. And one of one from the foul line. Dawan Bass from Baltimore, Md., added 10 points to close out the double-digit scoring for the Jets in that match-up. Adonis Greene from Stockbridge came up with nine points, Da’monte Green from Savannah added eight points; Malik Wilson had four and Emeshauan Offord closed out the scoring with three points.
In the other men’s games in the Holiday classic, the Wallace State Community College Lions took a narrow 69 – 68 win over the St. Petersburg Titans from St. Petersburg, Fla., in the opening game and then came back and posted a 75 – 73 victory over Wake Tech.
In the women’s holiday classic action, three top 10 nationally ranked teams and another in the top 30 competed in excellent basketball match-ups. On the opening day, the NJCAA second ranked Shelton State Lady Buccaneers upset the defending national champion and top-ranked Gulf Coast Lady Commodores 62 – 54, the Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers coached by former South Georgia Tech Lady Jets head basketball coach Brandon Harrell dropped a tough 75 – 71 decision in over-time to the Eastern Florida State Lady Titans, and the NJCAA seven-ranked Lady Jets from South Georgia Tech came up with a 68 – 61 win over the Cape Fear Lady Sea Devils from Wilmington, N.C.
But from that point on, the Lady Jets struggled. They dropped a 61 – 41 decision to the defending national champion Gulf Coast Commodores and then lost a 55 – 53 decision to Eastern Florida on a three-point successful shot with .06 remaining on the clock.  In other action, Georgia Highlands lost to Eastern Florida and then came back and defeated Cape Fear, 79 – 71 in double-overtime to finish the tournament with a 1 -1 performance. Shelton State defeated Eastern Florida 78 – 55 and Cape Fear 110 – 74 to finish at 3 – 0 on the weekend. Gulf Coast was 1 – 1 in the tournament.
In Gulf Coast’s game against South Georgia Tech, the Lady Commodores were still reeling after their lost to Shelton State and came back in full force to overpower the Lady Jets 61 – 41. The Lady Jets were one of 16 from the three-point line in that game while Gulf Coast was 7 for 23.
Only two Lady Jets were in double-figures.  Freshman forward Bigue Sarr from Senegal came off the bench and tossed in 14 points to lead the Lady Jets in scoring. She also had eight rebounds. Sophomore Esther Adenike from Nigeria added 11 points and six rebounds and one assist. Sophomore Sceret Ethridge was four of four and came away with eight points and then Ricka Jackson, a freshman from Hawaii closed out the scoring with seven points.
In the final game of the tournament, the seventh nationally ranked Lady Jets looked like they were going to bounce back from their loss to Gulf Coast but ended up losing 55 – 53 on a last second three-point shot by Embla Anderson from Eastern Florida who was five of seven from the three-point line and gave the Titans a big victory.
For the second night in a row, South Georgia Tech’s Lady Jets could not buy a basket from the three-point line. They were 0 – 11 from beyond the two-point line while Eastern Florida made 13 of their 31 attempted three point shots.
Freshman forward Bigue Sarr from Senegal earned a start in this game and was the only Lady Jet in double-figures with 15 points. Esther Adenike added nine points; Dakata Toney tossed in eight points and Ricka Jackson had six points. Houlfat Mahouchiza, after being shut down completely in the Gulf Coast game, came back and accounted for five points against Eastern Florida. Sceret Etheridge made four points and then Kayla Holmes, Cedeja James and Alyssa Nieves all had two points each.
The Lady Jets are still first in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association with a 6 – 0 record but they fell to 14 – 3 overall with those two losses to nationally ranked teams.

Bigue Sarr (21) had two great games in the SGTC Holiday Classic for the Lady Jets. She led the team in scoring against Eastern Florida with 15 points and had 14 points against Shelton State.