May 22, 2018

March Madness in February for WGTC Women

(Carrollton, GA) — One year after reaching the National Junior College Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Division III National Championship Tournament for the first time in school history – the No. 6 West Georgia Tech Golden Knights are aiming for a repeat trip.

To get to the elite tournament, which has just an eight-team field, the Golden Knights must first win the District G play-off game at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The game will broadcast locally on B-92 Country (92.1 FM, WBTR) with Aaron Sones handling the play-by-play. For those outside the listening area, fans can tune in via the TuneIn Radio app (WBTR 92.1), or online at www.GradickCommunications.com (click the B-92 Country logo at the top of the website to open the audio player).

Officials from both schools are closely monitoring the winter storm system that is expected to impact the region Wednesday and Thursday. If roads from Carrollton to Largo – which is a few miles east of Washington, D.C. – are too dangerous for travel overnight on Thursday, the game could be changed to another date, perhaps Sunday.

West Georgia Tech’s current travel plans are to charter overnight Thursday and arrive in Maryland on Friday morning to begin preparations for Saturday afternoon’s game.

When the game is played, it will feature a pair of teams who won their respective region championships.

West Georgia Tech cruised past Southern Crescent in the Region 17 title game last Sunday, while Prince George’s won Region 20 with a 57-44 win on the road at Westmoreland County Community College (Penn.).

“We are excited and honored to have the opportunity to play in a District Championship and represent our College and our state,” West Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Edwards said. “It will be a tough road trip for us because Prince George’s is a very good team and they will be ready and prepared to play. It will take a complete team effort.”

West Georgia Tech and Prince George’s have met once before – a 77-46 victory by West Georgia Tech over the Owls in a regular season game last year in Carrollton.

The West Georgia Tech men’s team has played Prince George’s twice in the District playoffs – WGTC won in overtime last year, 87-81, and dropped an 85-83 decision to the Owls in 2011-12.

This year’s West Georgia Tech squad is 19-8 overall with six victories against NJCAA Division I programs. WGTC has climbed in the national rankings to No. 6 – it’s highest ranking ever. Prior to winning the Region 17 Tournament championship, WGTC cruised to the regular season title.

WGTC head coach Kenny Edwards was named Region 17 Coach of the Year for a second-straight year, and Joi McCoughtry (Atlanta) Keonna Harris (Shiloh, Ga.) and Jacky Jones (Marietta) earned GCAA – Region 17 All-Region First Team honors.

In addition – and more importantly – four West Georgia Tech players were named to the Region 17 All-Academic Team: Mahogany Harris (Tallapoosa), Brittany Pierce (Bowdon), Jhalyn Feaster (Chicago) and Sierra Turner (Stone Mountain).

The Golden Knights average 66.4 points per game while giving up just 34.7 – which is second in the nation in points-per-game allowed.

West Georgia Tech leads the country in rebounding margin, a staggering plus-31.1 rebounds per game. The Golden Knights also lead the nation in total rebounds per game (57.0), free-throw attempts per game (27.0) and opponents’ three-point percentage (19.8 percent).

WGTC utilizes a full-court pressure defense for much of the game, which has led to 17.8 steals per game, which is 2nd in the nation.

West Georgia Tech has a balanced line-up with all 13 players on the roster averaging at least ten minutes per game.

Only one West Georgia Tech player averages in double-figures – freshman post player Joi McCoughtry, who is scoring at an 11.6 points-per-game clip. McCoughtry also leads the team in rebounds, with 10.4 per game.

Six other West Georgia Tech players average at least five points per game: Colette Onenda (6.0), Jacky Jones (7.7), Mahogany Harris (5.0), Angerika Colbert (6.1), Sydnee Clark (6.2) and Keonna Harris (9.0).

Jacky Jones is second on the team in rebounds, with 9.2 per game.

The Golden Knights will play a Prince George’s team coached by Tiona Harris – who just won her first region championship as head coach of the Owls.

Prince George’s has a 13-10 overall record this season. PGCC averages 54.7 points per game while giving up 56.5. The Owls only turn it over 14 times per contest, which is in the top-25 statistically nation-wide. They are also particularly good on the offensive glass, pulling down 15.7 offensive rebounds per game.

Defensively West Georgia Tech will have to stop sophomore Jaida Jenkins and freshman Markaila Carter.

Jenkins is one of the top post players in the country, as she averages 19.1 points per game and pulls down 15.0 rebounds per contest. She is no. 3 in the nation in the rebounding category. Carter, a guard, is averaging 16.3 points per game and 3.5 steals per contest.

“We’ll have our hands full with those two,” Edwards said of Jenkins and Carter.

“But we are mainly focused on making sure we are prepared to play our game, our style of play. At this point in the year it is a mental game. We have to play attention to small details. We’ll stick to the process of playing our basketball that we have played all year, with high intensity. I believe we’ll be ready to play. I’m proud of them for what they have accomplished so far with hard work in the classroom and on the court. Now we have an opportunity to accomplish some really big things and we are all eager to see what we can do.”

A win Saturday – or whenever the game is played due to weather – puts West Georgia Tech in the eight-team field at the National Championship Tournament, which will be held at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Penn., March 12-14.

If WGTC makes the field, the Golden Knights would need to win three games over three days to win the school’s first national championship.

But first, West Georgia Tech must make the 697-mile trek to Largo and play well enough to win over a feisty Prince George’s team on its home floor in front of what will surely be a rowdy crowd at the Novak Field House.

March Madness is here – perhaps a little early since we are still in February and given the current weather conditions in the Southeast. But it’s here nonetheless for West Georgia Tech.

Fans can follow the action via radio (92.1 FM), online (www.GradickCommunications.com), the TuneIn Radio app (WBTR 92.1), Facebook (www.Facebook.com/WGTCAthletics) and on Twitter (@WGTCAthletics).

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