Jets, Lady Jets advance to the NJCAA Region XVII semi-finals

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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AMERICUS – “One game at a time, one play at a time,” is the way South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach Jason Carpenter said the Jets and the Lady Jets will be approaching each game in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XVII semi-final contests Friday night and hopefully championship games on Saturday.

The Jets and the Lady Jets both earned the right to advance to the NJCAA Region XVII semi-final round Tuesday night when the second-seeded Lady Jets defeated the seventh place Southern Crescent Lady Tigers, 97 – 46, in the first half of a double-header.  The fourth-ranked Jets followed up with a narrow 54 – 53 last second win over the fifth-place Central Georgia Titans.

The Lady Jets will now advance to the semi-final round in Swainsboro, GA, where they will face third seeded Central Georgia Tech at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 15.  Top-ranked East Georgia State will take on Albany Tech in the opening semi-final game at 6 p.m. Friday.  The two winning teams will meet in the finals on Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m. in Swainsboro.

In the men’s NJCAA Region XVII semi-final action, the Jets will travel to Albany State’s main campus to face the top-ranked Albany Tech Titans at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15.  Third seeded South Georgia State College and the second place Georgia Highlands teams will play at 5 p.m. in the other semi-final contest.  The two winners will play at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Albany State Main campus gymnasium.

The win over South Crescent Tuesday moved the Lady Jets to 21 – 10 this season.  They were 13 – 5 in the conference before the quarter-final victory.  Southern Crescent ended the season at 0 – 18 in the conference and 1 – 29 overall.

The Lady Jets scored first and were already up 26 – 11 at the end of the first quarter.  Neither team scored much in the second quarter and the Lady Jets went into the half up, 40 – 17.  The Lady Jets stretched their lead to as many as 51 points before finally walking away with the 97 – 46 victory and the right to advance to the NJCAA Region XVII semi-finals.

“Our team has made significant strides this season and we are playing our best right now going into the tournament,” said Coach Carpenter.  “One of the things we emphasize with our team is focusing on the ‘next play.’  Whether the last one was a good play or a bad play, the next play is the most important one.  We will approach the tournament with that mindset:  one game at a time, one play at a time.”


Mio Sakano, 13, was the top scorer for the Lady Jets with 26 points against Southern Crescent in the NJCAA Region XVII quarterfinals.
Photo by SGTC Athletics

Freshman guard Mio Sakano was the top scorer for the Lady Jets in the quarterfinal tournament game against Southern Crescent.  She had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists on the night.  Sophomore guard Vera Gunaydin was next with 16 points.  She had eight rebounds and two assists.

Greta Carollo, Destiny Bishop and Enola Papin each scored 13 points in that contest to close out the double-digit scoring.  They were followed by Maeva Fotsa who added six points and five rebounds.  Jessca Kailainy led the team in rebounds with 10 and then she also came up with five points.  Isabel de Souza Bueno closed out the scoring with five points also.

The Lady Jets will take the ‘one game at a time, one play at a time’ into the semi-final game against Central Georgia Tech.  Central beat South Georgia Tech two out of three times earlier this season.  The Lady Jets lost to Central in Macon on January 10 and 20.  The first game, Central won 74 – 59, and then on January 20 they won by two, 67 – 65.  The Lady Jets won the third match-up in Americus, 63 – 55.

“This will be a tough game, but winning a conference championship is the standard here at South Georgia Tech,” said Coach Carpenter.  “I’ll be proud of this team’s growth and success regardless of what happens, but I know it would mean an awful lot to these young ladies to earn the right to call themselves champions.”

After the impressive win by the Lady Jets Tuesday, the Jets took to the court to earn their right to advance to the semi-final round of the tournament.

Sophomore guard Deonte Williams scored on a layup with 6.6 seconds remaining in the game to allow the Jets to come from behind and go ahead 54 – 53 in a strong defensive battle.  A turnover at the other end of the court allowed the Jets to secure the one-point victory and advance to the semi-finals round of the tournament.

The 40-minute game had 12 lead changes and eight ties.  The two teams appeared to be evenly matched.  The Jets were up 16 – 15 at the end of the first quarter but Central pulled ahead 29 – 28 at the end of the first half.  South Georgia Tech was able to pull ahead by as many as seven points in the second half and Deonte Williams’ last second layup gave the Jets the go-ahead victory.

While Williams’ layup clinched the win, freshman Camarion Johnson led the Jets in scoring with 21 points including three of five shots from the three-point line.  He also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals on the night.  He was the only Jet in double-digits.

Deonte Williams was next with nine points and then Kameron Foman added eight points.  Mohand Ammand, Ryan Djoussa and Vaughn Prosser had four points apiece.  Jafeth Martinez came away with three points and Israel Momodu closed out the scoring with one point.  He also led the team in rebounds with six.

The Jets will now travel to Albany to face the top ranked Albany Tech Titans.  Albany Tech is 13 – 3 in the conference regular season and 21 – 10 overall.  The Jets are 11 – 5 and 18 – 11.  The Jets lost to Albany Tech 74 – 69 in over-time in Albany and then 82 – 62 in the Hangar.  Albany Tech’s three conference losses this season were to South Georgia State, East Georgia and Central Georgia Tech.

Albany Tech defeated Andrew College 99 – 75 in the quarterfinal round to advance to the semifinals.  South Georgia State and Georgia Highlands both won quarterfinal games and will play in the other semi-final match-up at 5 p.m. Friday.  The two winners will advance to the finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Albany.