Top-ranked Lady Jets advance to national tournament with 32-game winning streak
Published 9:01 pm Sunday, March 12, 2023
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – The number one-ranked South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets captured the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Southeast District Conference title and earned their seventh straight trip to the NJCAA National Tournament with a 99 – 57 win over former GSW head coach Kelly Britsky and the Spartanburg Methodist College Lady Pioneers in the Hangar Saturday.
“This was awesome, but now the real work begins,” SGTC head coach James Frey said. With the victory, Frey’s club earned its seventh straight trip to the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, TX, which will take place at Lubbock Christian University March 22-27. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the conference, the district tournament and the southeast conference championship and earn the right to go to the national tournament,” Frey said. “The fourth goal was to win the national tournament. We have accomplished the first three goals, but the biggest challenge is ahead of us as we face the best 24 teams in the nation to attempt to win the national title.”
The Lady Jets are 32 – 1 overall this season and went undefeated in the conference with a 15 – 0 record. Their only loss this season was to Gulf Coast State College in their opening game. This is only the third time in the Lady Jets history 19-year history to post an undefeated conference record. The Lady Jets went 18 – 0 in 2018 – 2019, 17 – 0 in 2019 – 2020 and 15 – 0 in 2022 -2023. The sophomores on the Lady Jets are currently 59 – 8. They finished the 2021 – 2022 season 27 – 7 and in the Sweet Sixteen in the Nation and are 32 – 1 this season with the number one ranking going into the tournament.
Spartanburg Methodist and their head coach Kelly Britsky, who coached at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus prior to going to Spartanburg Methodist, was hoping to end the Lady Jets 31 – game winning streak. Her Lady Pioneers came out strong and had the Lady Jets down by as many as six points early in the first quarter.
The Lady Jets tied the game at 15 – 15 with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter, gave up one basket but tied the game at 17 – 17 with 4:07 showing on the clock in the first quarter. From that point on, the Lady Jets dominated the Lady Pioneers and never looked back. They were up 29 – 21 at the end of the first quarter. They outscored the Lady Pioneers 32 – 14 in the second quarter to go up 61 – 35 at the half.
The Lady Jets pulled ahead by as many as 49 points before securing the 99 – 57 decision and earning the right to advance to the national tournament in Lubbock, TX. This will be the Lady Jets’ 10th trip in 19 years and the ninth under head coach James Frey. The highest the Lady Jets have finished has been in the Elite Eight. Frey and his team are hoping to go all the way this year.
Sophomore center Fanta Gassama led the Lady Jets in scoring with 17 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore point guard Da’Nae Williams had 16 points, sophomore guard Luana Leite was next with 15 and then Alexia Dizeko and Susana Yepes closed out the double digit scoring with 14 and 13 points. Luana Leite had 15, Da’Nae Williams and Alexia Dizeko both had 12 and Fanta Gassama had 11 at the end of the first half.
Sophomore center Camryn James added seven points, Vera Gunnaydin and Veronika Palfi both had five, Laurie Calixte posted four points, Maeve Fotsa Fofou scored two and then Loes Rozing closed out the scoring with one point.
The Lady Jets are hoping to retain their number one ranking going into the tournament at the NJCAA Selection Show, which will air at 8 p.m. Sunday. A top ranking will give them a bye in the first round of the NJCAA Division 1 National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas March 22 – 27 in Lubbock, Texas.