Lady Jets win NJCAA Region XVII tournament and will host Southeastern District Championship
Published 2:37 pm Monday, March 6, 2023
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) top-ranked South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets kept their 31-game winning streak alive with a 68 – 52 win over the 24th nationally ranked East Georgia State College Lady Bobcats in the NJCAA Region XVII Championship Saturday.
The Lady Jets will now host Spartanburg Methodist (13 – 6), NJCAA District 10 champions, in the NJCAA Southeast District Championship on Saturday, March 11th at 1 p.m. in James S. Peters gymnasium for the right to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas, March 22nd – 27th.
“I am so happy for our whole team but particularly for our sophomores who have worked incredibly hard for two years to get to this point. We set this as one of our goals last year when we lost the championship game to Georgia Highlands College. They were determined to win a championship, and cut those nets down, and they dd it,” said SGTC Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey.
“The win was not easy and hats off to East Georgia State College Coach Theo Howard and his East Georgia team. They deserve all the credit in the world. They had a great season and deserve an at-large bid to the NJCAA National Tournament. That team would win games out there,” added Frey.
South Georgia Technical College sophomore Alexia Dizeko was the Region XVII Tournament Most Valuable Player with 21 points against Albany Tech in the semi-finals and 17 points in the finals against East Georgia. Sophomore Luana Leite was the other SGTC Player named to the NJCAA Region XVII All-Tournament team. She had 15 points against Albany Tech and 11 against East Georgia.
“Alexia Dizeko was good all weekend and Luana Leite guards the other team’s best player every game. She works very hard on defense but still finds a way to be productive on offense,” said Coach Frey, who also highlighted other players who had exceptional games, but noted that his team only gets two nominations for the All-Tournament team.
“Camryn James had a great weekend and I think Fanta Gassama put us on her back in the second half of the championship game and willed us to the win. She had 16 points and 14 rebounds in the second half. I told her at half time that we’re coming inside and we are going to force them to stop us and I don’t think they can. Be ready. And she was!”
Frey added that Dizeko and Leite were consistent in both tournament games, but that if they had a championship game MVP, it would be Fanta Gassama. “I am proud of our entire team, all 13 of them,” said Frey.
East Georgia State College actually scored first in the game and tied South Georgia Tech early, but the Lady Jets were up 21 – 9 at the end of the first quarter. South Georgia Tech stretched that lead to 16 points in the second quarter (27 – 11) but East Georgia cut the deficit to three points at the end of the half, 32 – 29.
The Lady Jets had a very slow third quarter but went up 47 – 39 going into the final quarter. The Lady Jets outscored East Georgia 21 – 13 in the fourth quarter to clinch the 68 – 52 victory. The inside game made the difference in the second half for the Lady Jets.
At half-time, Camryn James only had six points and Fanta Gassama had four. By the end of the game, Fanta Gassama came away with 20 points and 19 rebounds for a double-double game. Alexi Dizeko was next with her 17 points and eight rebounds. Camryn James added 13 pints and eight rebounds and then Luana Leite had 11 points.
Other Lady Jets contributing were Laurie Calixt with five points and Da’Nae Williams with two points.
The South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets are still ranked number one in the NJCAA after winning the Region XVII tournament. A win in the NJCAA Southeast District game would allow the Lady Jets to earn a spot in the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock Texas, March 22nd – 27th. This would be the 10th time in the 18-year history of the Lady Jets that they have advanced to the National Tournament.
SGTC head coach James Frey is in his 11th season at the helm of the Lady Jets. He has compiled a 304 – 60 overall record and 164 – 22 GCAA record. He has also been the GCAA Coach of the Year seven times and won the GCAA conference title seven times. This season will be the seventh straight year that they Lady Jets have advanced to the national tournament.