Twelve South Georgia Technical College players named to GCAA All-Academic Team
By Su Ann Bird
AMERICUS – Twelve members of the South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Jets and Lady Jets 2020 – 2021 basketball teams have earned Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Division I All-Academic Team honors, announced GCAA Executive Director David Elder.
All nine of the SGTC Lady Jets sophomores were named to the All-Academic Team and sophomores Jalen Reynolds, Nikola Sasaroga, and Jordan Stephens were selected to represent the Jets. The nine Lady Jets included: Imani McNeal, Veronica Charles, Moe Shida, Flore Ngasamputu, Hope Butera, Sarah Lwambo, Kamya Hollingshed, Femme Sikuzani, and Niya McGuire. SGTC had the largest number of scholar-athletes on the GCAA team for the 2020– 2021 season.
In order to be named to the GCAA All-Academic Team, student athletes must be a sophomore with a minimum of three full-time terms and a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Only 34 players in the GCAA earned this recognition from the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
“I am so proud of each of these student-athletes,” said SGTC Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey. “These students put in many hours of hard work on the basketball court, but they are just as diligent with their school work. That is what helps create a winning program; smart players who realize the importance of hard work on and off the court. Basketball is important, but the education that these students gain will be valuable long after they retire from this sport.”
All nine of the Lady Jets sophomores earned the right to be included on the All-Academic team. One of the Lady Jets has been with the team for three seasons. Kamya Hollingshed of McDonough, GA, joined the Lady Jets in the 2018 – 2019 as a freshman. She helped lead the Lady Jets to an 18 – 0 regular season conference record, which was the first for head coach James Frey and only the second in the history of the women’s program. The Lady Jets won the GCAA regular season conference title, the NJCAA Region XVII tournament and the District J tournament to advance to the NJCAA national tournament for the sixth time in the history of the program and fifth under Coach Frey. It was also the third consecutive year for the Lady Jets to advance. The Lady Jets finished the year 30 – 4.
Kamya Hollingshed returned for what would have been her sophomore year but tore an ACL in the pre-season and was out for the entire year. Serving as a player-coach in 2019 – 2020, the Lady Jets posted their second unbeaten conference season for Coach Frey with a 17 – 0 season. The team finished the season ranked 15th nationally and won the GCAA regular season conference title, the NJCAA Region XVII tournament and the District J tournament game to earn another trip to the National Tournament. Unfortunately, the national tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the season ended with the Lady Jets 30 – 2 overall.
Hollingshed returned to SGTC after being red-shirted and tore her second ACL in pre-season for the 2020 – 2021 year. She rehabbed and was able to return to the court with three games remaining in the season. She hit five three-pointers in the fourth quarter against East Georgia to allow the Lady Jets to come from behind and post a major win. This season she has helped her team both as a player and as a player/coach and led them to a second-place finish in the GCAA regular season and the NJCAA Region 17 title. The Lady Jets play Spartanburg Methodist at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 10 for the opportunity to return to the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas April 19 – 23. During her time at SGTC, Hollingshed has helped the Lady Jets to an 81 – 9 record.
Six of the nine Lady Jets have two years at SGTC and have compiled an overall record on the court of 51 – 5 in addition to outstanding academic grades. Those five individuals include GCAA Defensive Player of the Year, GCAA second team All-Region performer and NJCAA Region XVII All-tournament player Veronica Charles of Benue State, Nigeria; GCAA first team All-Region nominee Moe Shida of Hokkaido, Japan; NJCAA Region XVII tournament Most Valuable Player Femme Sikuzani of Goma, DRC; Flore Ngasamputu of Kinshasa, DRC; Hope Butera of Lagos, Nigeria; and Sarah Lwambo of GOMA, DRC. Two other All-Academic team members, Imani McNeal and Niya McGuire transferred to South Georgia Tech for their sophomore seasons. McNeal, who is from Locus Grove, GA, played at Ranger College and McGuire who is from Monroe, LA, transferred from Tyler Junior College.
The three members of the Jets on the All-Academic team include GCAA Player of the Year, Jalen Reynolds from Darien, GA; Nikola Sasaroga from Novi Sad, Serbia; and Jordan Stephens from Macon, Georgia. Reynolds and Stephens have been with the Jets for two seasons and Sasaroga transfer in for his sophomore season.
Both the Jets and the Lady Jets have the opportunity to advance to the next level. The Lady Jets will host Spartanburg Methodist on Saturday, April 10th at 1 p.m. for the opportunity to earn their fifth straight trip to the NJCAA national tournament. The Jets travel to Waycross on Friday, April 9 to face South Georgia College in the NJCAA Region XVII tournament semi-finals. The winner of that game will advance to the final round of the tournament on Saturday, April 10 at 4 p.m. in Waycross for a chance to attend the NJCAA Division I men’s tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.
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