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Jets fall to Central Georgia Tech in NJCAA Region XVII championship

By Staff Reports

 

ROME, GA – After upsetting Georgia Highlands 103-99 in the NJCAA Region XVII Tournament semifinals. The Jets were one win away from punching their ticket to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS. However, it was not to be, as Central Georgia Tech defeated the Jets 74-52 in the NJCAA Region XVII championship on Saturday, March 10, in Rome, GA.

The Jets finished the GCAA regular season in fourth place, but the upset of Georgia Highlands in the tournament semifinals allowed South Georgia Tech to capture its second NJCAA Region XVII Tournament runner-up trophy in two years under Head Coach Travis Garrett.

CGT defeated South Georgia State from Waycross in the semifinals 91-85 and then defeated the Jets 74-52 to capture the NJCAA Region XVII tournament championship, and a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament to be held in Hutchinson, KS March 19-24.

“We played our hearts out on Friday,” SGT Head Coach Travis Garrett said. In the game against Georgia Highlands, SGT overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat the boys from Rome for the first time this season. The game took a toll on South Georgia Tech. In that game, sophomore forward Marquel Wiggins took an elbow to the head in the final minutes of the game. Wiggins stayed overnight in a local hospital for observation and was unable to play in the championship game against Central Georgia Tech.

“We never seemed to get in a rhythm on Saturday,” Coach Garrett said. “You have to give it to Coach Rico Dawson and the Central Georgia Tech Titans. They were the better team Saturday. We just didn’t do what we needed to do to win.”

The Titans’ defense held SGT to 25 points in the first half. The Jets shot 9% from the three-point line, hitting only 11 attempts. The Jets did not fare well under the basket either, hitting just 27.8% of their shots. Central Georgia Tech shot 56.3% from beyond the arc, hitting 9-of-16 attempts. They were 16-for-34 from under the basket. The Titans cooled off during the second half, but the Jets were not able to close the gap.

Sophomore guard Rico Simmons led the Jets in scoring with 15 points. He scored 27 on Friday against Georgia Highlands. The only other Jet in double-figures was Sophomore forward Dawan Bass. Bass scored 13 points in the loss to CGT.

“I am very proud of my guys,” Garrett said. “We finished the season in the hunt for the title. We all wish we had been able to finish the drill, but we can hold our heads up high and be proud of what we accomplished.”

In his three years at the helm of the Jets, Coach Garrett is 48-48 overall. This year was his best year so far. The Jets finished the season with an overall record of 20-12 and 11-5 in the GCAA, good enough for fourth place.

In Garrett’s first year as head coach, the Jets finished in eighth place in the GCAA and lost in the first round of the region tournament to Georgia Highlands. In the 2017-2017 season, the Jets improved slightly, finishing in seventh place in the regular season and making it to the NJCAA Region XVII tournament finals. This year was Coach Garrett’s first 20-win season with the Jets.