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NJCAA DI basketball national tournament selection shows to air Sunday

By Su Ann Bird

 

AMERICUIS – The nationally ranked South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets will be hosting Spartanburg Methodist from Spartanburg, SC, on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Southeast Conference playoff game at the Hangar to determine which team will automatically advance to the NJCAA Division I national tournament in Lubbock, Texas April 19 – 24 at the Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University.

The 2021 NJCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s basketball Selections shows will air live on the NJCAA Network on Sunday, April 11 to announce the national tournament at-large selections and tournament seeding.  The Division I Women’s basketball selection show will air Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and the Division I men will air on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.  The link to watch those events is:  https://www.njcaa.org/network.  Even if the Lady Jets do not win the Southeastern Conference playoff game, they may still qualify for an at-large bid as the eighth ranked team nationally.

The SGTC Jets are playing in the Region 17 tournament semi-finals at 7 p.m. Friday, April 9 in Waycross against South Georgia State College.  The winner of that game will advance to the finals on Saturday, April 10 at 4 p.m.  The winner of that game will receive an automatic bid to the national tournament.

The NJCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s tournaments feature 24 teams – 16 automatic district qualifiers and eight additional at-large selections that will be announced during the selection show.  Regional and district postseason play results can be followed on the NJCAA District Tournament Tracker at: https://www.njcaa.org/sports/wbkb/2020-21/div1/region_district_championship/index for the women’s teams and https://www.njcaa.org/sports/mbkb/2020-21/div1/region_district_championship/index for the men’s teams.

The Lady Jets captured the NJCAA Region 17 tournament with an 80 – 71 overtime win over the GCAA regular season champion Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers in Rome last week.  The winner of the Region 17 tournament advances to the NJCAA Southeast Conference playoff against the Region 10 winner, which is Spartanburg Methodist.  The winner of that match-up will advance to the national tournament.

South Georgia Technical College, which is 21 – 3 in the COVID-19 shortened season, will host Spartanburg Methodist coached by former GSW women’s basketball coach Kelly Britsky.  Spartanburg Methodist is 14 – 5 overall this season and defeated Denmark College 85 – 65 in their Region X tournament to advance.  This will be the fourth time in four years that SGTC and Spartanburg Methodist have met in the Southeast Conference game.  SGTC won the first three.  The Lady Jets won 69 – 42 in Spartanburg in 2017 – 2018, won 100 – 51 in Americus in 2018 – 2019, and came away with an 85 – 65 win in Spartanburg in 2019 – 2020 before COVID-19 shut down the remainder of the season.

The only team that the two teams have both played this season is East Georgia State College.  Spartanburg Methodist lost to East Georgia 84 – 71 in Swainsboro on January 30.  The Lady Jets defeated East Georgia on four different occasions.  The Lady Jets won 84 – 54 in Americus on March 16 and then 63 -62 in Swainsboro on March 19 and again on March 20 in Americus 71 – 63.  The Lady Jets faced the Lady Bobcats again in the NJCAA Region 17 tournament semifinals and walked away with a narrow 63 – 60 victory in Rome.

The Lady Jets average 77.3 points per game, shoot 42.6 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from the three-point line and 65.2 percent from the free throw line.  They average 50 rebounds per game and 15 assists per game.  Spartanburg Methodist is averaging 83.4 points per game, shooting 45 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from the three-point line and 74.8 percent from the foul line.  They average 45 rebounds per game and 20 assists.

This is former GSW head women’s basketball coach Kelly Britsky’s first year as the interim head women’s coach for Spartanburg Methodist.  She has over 20 years of experience, 12 of those at GSW.

The Lady Jets have earned the right to the NJCAA national tournament for the past four years and eight times since the program was started in 2004 – 2005.  This could be the fifth consecutive trip for the Lady Jets and the seventh for head coach James Frey in nine years.  He did not qualify for nationals in his first year as head coach in 2012 – 2013, and lost the Region XVII tournament in 2015 – 2016.  He has had 20 or more wins each year he has coached as SGTC.