By Su Ann Bird
ROME, GA – This was a reunion between two nationally ranked teams of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), but on the final bell on the 16the The Lady Jets of South Georgia Technical College lost a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) conference decision 77-63 to the 7e ranked the Lady Chargers of Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Georgia. It was SGTC’s second loss to Georgia Highlands and head coach Brandon Harrell this season.
“Same story, different day,” said James Frey, athletic director for South Georgia Technical College and head coach of the Lady Jets. “We had better numbers than Georgia Highlands everywhere except on the turnovers and offensive rebounds. They scored 30 points on our turnovers and it’s hard to beat a good team when you allow that many points on the turnovers.
The Lady Jets lost to the Georgia Highlands 65-54 in November at Americus and Coach Frey was hoping his young team (10 freshmen) would have matured after a month and nine games. However, the Lady Jets still committed 24 turnovers (one less than Game 1 with 25) while Georgia Highlands went from 14 turnovers in Game 1 to just 10 in Game 2 against the Lady Jets.
“We’re still 11-4, even with the two losses to Georgia Highlands, but we have to do something to stop the turnovers and get back on track,” said coach Frey. The two losses to the Georgia Highlands make it extremely difficult for the Lady Jets to win the GCAA regular season conference title. Georgia Highlands won the regular season championship last year in a shortened COVID-19 season, but the Lady Jets beat Georgia Highlands 84 – 82 at Rome in double overtime in the GCAA tournament to earn the right to qualify for the national tournament for the fifth consecutive year.
Coach Frey is hopeful that the Lady Jets can come together and make the same scenario happen in the 2021-22 season. But his team will have to grow by February and March.
Rookie Alexia Dizeko led the Lady Jets with 19 points. She had a total of nine rebounds, six defensives and three offensives. Red-shirt sophomore Kamya Hollingshed scored 17 points and finished five of 11 on the three-point line. She had three rebounds and one steal. The only other Lady Jet in double digits was Laurie Calixte with 12 points.
Luana Leite followed with five points, Susana Posada had four, then Maikya Simmons and Fanta Gassama closed the scoring with two points each. The Lady Jets shot 39% from the field, 33% from the three-point line and had 77.8% of their free throws. They totaled 40 rebounds, 11 offensives and 29 defensives.
Georgia Highlands totaled 35 rebounds, 16 offensives and 19 defenses. They shot 40% from the field, 25.8% from the three-point line and 47.8% from the free throw line. Their score was balanced with four double-digit starters. Crystal Corley was the leader with 19, Jada Alston 15, Jashanta Simmons 13 and Alexandra Shinshkina 11.
The Lady Jets will now take a short vacation break and return to the Americus field for the Lady Jets Holiday Classic on December 28.e – 30e. South Georgia Tech, Tallahassee Community College, Georgia Highlands, Gulf Coast State, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, St. Petersburg College, Eastern Florida, and Lawson State will all be featured.
The Lady Jets will open on Tuesday, December 28e at 1 p.m. against Tallahassee Community College. The Georgia Highlands and Gulf Coast play at 3 p.m., followed by Chattahoochee Valley and St. Petersburg at 5 p.m. East Florida faces Lawson State at 7 p.m. ET.
Wednesday, December 29e. The Chattahoochee Valley opens with Tallahassee at 1 p.m. East Florida takes on Georgia Highlands at 3 p.m., Gulf Coast and St. Petersburg College face off at 5 p.m., and the Lady Jets end the night with Lawson State at 7 p.m.
The tournament ends on Thursday, December 30e. Matches begin at 10 a.m. with East Florida and the Chattahoochee Valley, then at noon St. Petersburg will face Lawson State. Tallahassee Community College and Georgia Highlands will meet at 2 p.m. and the Lady Jets will close the tournament with a game against Gulf Coast at 4 p.m.
“Our Lady Jets Holiday Classic has become one of the premier women’s junior college events. We have eight teams, four of which are ranked in the top 25 in the country. There will be four games a day for three days in the Hangar and it will be top level college basketball, ”said Frey, who invited the community to come support the Lady Jets.