Jets fall to South Georgia State in Region XVII Quarterfinals
Published 3:06 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023
From Staff Reports
WAYCROSS, GA – The South Georgia Technical College Jets dropped an 84 – 69 decision to South Georgia State College in the quarterfinal round of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XVII tournament in Waycross. South Georgia State will now advance to the NJCAA Region XVII semi-final round in Rome, GA on Friday, March 10th to face Albany Tech.
The Jets ended the 2022 – 2023 season in seventh place in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) conference with a 5 – 11 conference performance. They were 8 – 22 overall. The Jets, who represented Region XVII in the Division I Men’s National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas last season had been ranked as the pre-season favorite to win the GCAA conference this season.
“It was a tough loss last night,” said South Georgia Technical College Jets head coach Chris Ballauer. “But it’s that time of the season where you win or go home. Even with the loss, I am really proud of the guys for fighting and not giving up. This is not the season we had envisioned, to say the least. We were picked first in the pre-season, and things just never materialized.
“The guys worked hard this season, we just didn’t get the results we had hoped for,” continued Coach Ballauer. “I am expecting great things from my sophomores going forward, and my freshmen got some really good experience.”
In the quarterfinal championship game against South Georgia State College Tuesday night, the Jets suffered a hard loss to close out a hard season. In their 22 losses in the 2022 – 2023 season, the Jets were within striking distance of a win in almost contest but just failed to convert.
The quarterfinal game in Waycross Tuesday was no exception. The Jets were only down 34 – 32 at the end of the first half that had seen the two teams battle for the upper-hand. There were five lead changes and two ties in the first 20-minutes.
But South Georgia State came out in the second half and scored 12 unanswered points in less than three minutes to gain the upper hand and dominate the Jets for the remaining half. South Georgia Tech put full-court pressure on the Jets and caused turnovers to stretch their lead to as many as 18-points before finally capturing the 84 – 69 decision.
Coach Ballauer gave credit to South Georgia State. “Hat’s off to South Georgia State College. They came out to start the second half ready to go and we didn’t. Things just snowballed from there. After they pulled ahead we just could not find a way to get back in the game.”
Sophomore Kalin Fonseca was the leading scorer for the Jets with 15 points. He was three of four from the three-point line in the first half and then came back and hit two of four in the second half to become the Jets leading scorer in his last game in a Jets uniform.
Sophomore Aaron Pits, Jr., was the only other Jet in double-figures. He had five points in the first half and then added eight in the second half to come away with 13 points on the night. Four of those were free throws, along with one three-pointer, and three layups.
Sophomores Jordan Brown and Bryce Turner both added nine points, freshman Ryan Djoussa had eight, and then sophomore Nathan Wilson and freshman Tim Loud came away with six points each. Justin Evans closed out the scoring with three points.
Georgia Highlands will host Central Georgia Tech in a semi-final match-up on Friday in Rome and then South Georgia State will face Albany Tech. The two winners will advance to the championship round and the winner will earn a berth in the NJCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.