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Two Lady Jets named to GCAA Division I All-Region teams

By Su Ann Bird

 

AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Lady Jets Sophomores Veronica Charles and Moe Shida were both named to the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Division I All-Region squad for their performances on the court during the 2020 – 2021 season, announced GCAA Commissioner David Elder.

Charles, a 5’ 4” sophomore guard from Benue State, Nigeria, was selected as the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year for the Division I league for her aggressive play on the court.  She was also a second team All-Region selection.   Shida, a 5’ 7” point guard from Hokkaido, Japan, was named as a GCAA Division I All-Region selection.

Former SGTC Lady Jets head coach Brandon Harrell, who led the Georgia Highlands squad to the GCAA Division I regular season title, was named Coach of the Year and Jashanti Simmons of Georgia Highlands received honors as the Player of the Year and as the Freshman of the Year.

As the GCAA Champions, Georgia Highlands will host the NJCAA Region 17 District semi-finals and finals in Rome, Georgia on April 2nd and 3rd.  Georgia Highlands and South Georgia Tech both received first round byes in the tournament for finishing first and second in the regular season competition.

Georgia Highlands will play the winner of the Central Georgia Tech – Albany Tech game in the semifinals at 6 p.m. and then South Georgia Tech will face the winner of the East Georgia – Andrew game at 8 p.m. on April 2nd.  The two winning teams will meet in the finals at 2 p.m. on April 3rd at Georgia Highlands.

“Obviously we are very excited for both of these young ladies to gain the recognition that they so rightly earned,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey.  “Both of these student-athletes have contributed to the success of our college and our basketball team.”

Coach Frey added that “Moe Shida is known on campus for her incredible work ethic and dedication to her team.  That work ethic and dedication shows every time she steps on the court.”  Frey also praised Veronica Charles for her outstanding defensive efforts and her ability to “make good things happen on the court. “

The South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets finished the 2020 – 2021 regular season in second place in the GCAA with a 13 – 2 conference record and a 19 – 3 overall record.  Both of the Lady Jets GCAA losses this season were at the hands of Brandon Harrell and Georgia Highlands.

Last season the Lady Jets captured the GCAA regular season title, the NJCAA Region XVII tournament title, the District J championship and earned the right to compete in the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas.  Just days before leaving for the tournament, it was cancelled due to COVID-19.  The Lady Jets have qualified or been to the NJCAA National Tournament for the past four seasons.  They were ranked as high as 2nd in the nation this season and are currently 8th in the NJCAA.

Veronica Charles was spotlighted as the Defensive Player of the Year in the GCAA but she is also leading the Lady Jets in scoring, is second in three-point percentage shooting, 4th in free throw percentage, fourth in rebounds per game, third in assists per game, and leads the conference in steals per game.  She is averaging 12 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.4 steals per game.

She has a 3.5 GPA and will graduate in May with an Associate’s Degree in Sports and Fitness Management and then continue her academic and athletic careers at a four-year institution.

Moe Shida was named first team All-Region in the GCAA.  She is currently second on the team in scoring, first in three-point percentage shooting (amongst full season participants), first in assists per game and third in steals per game.   Moe currently has a 3.8 GPA and will graduate in May with an Associate’s Degree in Sports and Fitness Management.  She will continue her academic and athletic careers at New Mexico State University where she signed in November.

She is also averaging 12 points per game, 3.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2 steals each game.

The Lady Jets travel to Rome on Friday, April 2nd for the NJCAA Region 17tournament semi-finals at 8 p.m. against the winner of the March 30th quarterfinal game with East Georgia and Andrew College.  The winner of the semi-final game will advance to the NJCAA Region 17 finals on Saturday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. at Georgia Highlands.

The other members of the GCAA first All-Conference team included:  Player of the Year Jashanti Simmons of Georgia Highlands, Moe Shida from SGTC, Tallah Wesley of Andrew College, Shamya Loman of Albany Tech and Ka’Shay Handerson of East Georgia State College.

The members of the GCAA second All-Conference team consisted of Central Georgia Tech’s Hayleigh Ross, SGTC’s Veronica Charles, Georgia Highlands O’Mariya Tucker, and Alexandra Shishkins of Georgia Highlands.