Behind Jones and Levay’s 27 points each, Lady Hurricanes clinch PBC Tournament championship
Published 12:38 am Monday, March 6, 2023
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – GSW senior guard Ava Jones and her teammate, senior guard Jacquelyn Levay, each scored 27 points to lead the Georgia Southwestern State University Women’s Basketball Team (GSW) to its first ever Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship in program history with an 83-64 victory over Young Harris College in the PBC title game at the Storm Dome on Saturday, March 4.
The victory guarantees the Lady Hurricanes (24-6) a berth in the upcoming NCAA Division II National Tournament. YHC concludes its season with a record of 15-14.
For her performance throughout the tournament, Jones was named the tournament MVP, as she scored 27 points on 12 of 20 shooting. That performance came on the heels of her 27-point performance 27 in GSW’s 72-55 victory over North Georgia in the PBC Tournament semifinals on Thursday, March 2.
Young Harris’ Mackenzie Johnson, the PBC Player of the Year, was the only Mountain Lion to reach double-figures in scoring with 32 points off 14-for-24 shooting and eight rebounds. Kalen Surles scored nine points with eight rebounds.
GSW opened the game with a 9-2 run as Jones established herself early as the driving force behind the Hurricane offense with six points in the first quarter as GSW led 13-8. YHC answered behind Johnson who, after a slow start, hit back-to-back jumpers to tie the score at 15 in the second quarter.
The game was tied at 17-17 when GSW went on a 10-2 run that was sparked by a Jones layup, which was followed by a Jaleah Storr three-point play. Johnson scored three straight baskets to keep YHC within reaching distance, but GSW led at the half 35-27.
Georgia Southwestern built its first double-digit lead early in the third quarter after YHC opened the second half with five straight points from Kalen Surles to cut the lead to 35-32. GSW answered with 16 straight points over the next four minutes to lead 51-32. A three-pointer by Levay gave the Lady Hurricanes their first 20-point margin, which they maintained for the rest of the third quarter for a 61-41 lead.
YHC was able to cut the lead down to 15 in the fourth quarter, but GSW was able to put the game out of reach for good with an 8-0 run that was capped by another Levay three-pointer.
Georgia Southwestern will learn their NCAA posts-season matchup as the NCAA releases the national bracket on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. with a live show on NCAA.com.