August 15, 2018

West Georgia Tech Men and Women Aim for Conference Championships

(Carrollton, GA) — The postseason has arrived for the West Georgia Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams, as both squads prepare to head to Oxford College of Emory University for this weekend’s Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association – Region 17 conference tournament in Oxford, Ga.

The West Georgia Tech men are seeded No. 3 and will take on No. 2-seed Oxford College on the Eagles’ home floor in a semifinal game Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

The winner will advance to play either No. 1 Southern Crescent or No. 4 Georgia Northwestern in Sunday’s championship game at 4 p.m.

The West Georgia Tech women, ranked No. 8 in the country, earned the No. 1 seed and an automatic berth in Sunday’s championship game, which will tip at 2 p.m. They will play the winner of Georgia Northwestern and Southern Crescent, which will play in Saturday’s semifinal game.

The Golden Knights men are aiming for its fourth-consecutive GCAA-Region 17 Tournament championship. In fact – West Georgia Tech is 7-0 in GCAA Tournament games since it joined the conference back in 2011-12.

West Georgia Tech and Oxford College have met in the last three conference tournament championship games – all West Georgia Tech victories, with two of them coming on Oxford College’s home floor.

This time, West Georgia Tech will have to get by the Eagles in the semifinals.

The Golden Knights got what should be a boost of confidence with a huge win at Oxford College Saturday afternoon to close out regular season play, 70-59.

WGTC overcame a 32-26 halftime deficit by outscoring the Eagles 44-27 in the second half en route to the 11-point win.

“We played one of our better halves of the season in the second half and that was certainly the difference in us getting the win over there,” WGTC head coach Niki Okolovitch said.

“I hope we can build on that momentum into next weekend. Unfortunately we have to play them again in the first round. Beating Oxford is hard enough – beating them back-to-back at their gym is an enormous task. Oxford’s coaching staff does a great job scouting and preparing. They play solid defense, refuse to take bad shots on offense, and basically won’t beat themselves. So we have our work cut out for us.”

Trenton Madison led West Georgia Tech with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field. Devante Orebeau added 13 points and Martize Spearman scored 12 to round out the double-figure scoring for West Georgia Tech.

“I’m proud of the guys that usually get all of the top accolades and average the most points, but we’ve also had some guys step up for us off the bench lately – guys like Tim Favors and Chris White,” Okolovitch said.

“Chris White has matured from a kid who was one step away from not being a part of our program back in September – because he wasn’t living up to the standards we set for our players in the classroom and on the court -to a kid who finished the first half with a 3.5 GPA, and who is now our vocal leader on the court. He is proof of what hard work and a positive attitude can do and he has put himself in position to have a bright future both on and off the court.”

The West Georgia Tech women closed out the regular season with an exhibition-type Alumni Game on Saturday, in which the current West Georgia Tech squad took on former WGTC players who just recently graduated from the program.

This year’s Golden Knights defeated the Alumni Team, 91-49.

Four WGTC sophomores – which make up the most successful sophomore class in the history of the program – were honored at a halftime ceremony.

Jhalyn Feaster (Chicago, Ill.), Mahogany Harris (Tallapoosa), Keonna Harris (Shiloh, Ga.) and Tattyanna LaRocque (Jonesboro) played their final game at home in a West Georgia Tech uniform.

“It was a great day for our program – to honor four very well-deserving young ladies who have poured so much sweat and effort into the program, and to also see several of our former players who laid the foundation for the current successes we are enjoying,” said West Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Edwards.

“This is the first time we have done something like this and I anticipate we’ll do it again in the years to come. But now we are focused on what is ahead. We have to win the conference championship and if we are fortunate enough to do that, we’ll have an opportunity to once again play for a national championship.”

Should West Georgia Tech win the conference championship game on Sunday – and the Golden Knights are the heavy favorite to do so – WGTC will play the champion of Region 20 in a one-game playoff for the District G Championship on February 28th at the site of the Region 20 champion.

The winner of that game will earn one of eight spots in the NJCAA D-III Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament, which will be held in Bethlehem, Penn., March 12-14.

The two most likely contenders to come out of Region 20 are Westmoreland County Community College (16-7) and Prince George’s Community College (12-10).

Westmoreland County C.C. is located in Youngwood, Penn., while Prince George’s C.C. is located in Largo, Md., just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C.

West Georgia Tech played in the National Championship Tournament last year for the first time in school history and finished in seventh place.

The Golden Knights women are currently ranked No. 8 in the country and are 18-8.

“I certainly feel like our experience of playing in the event last year will help us this time around should we be fortunate enough to make it again,” Edwards said.

“Our four sophomores all went last year and know what to expect. But we have to take it one game at a time, and we have to play great basketball over the next couple of ballgames to get there.”

West Georgia Tech leads the nation in both rebounding margin and three point percentage defense, and is No. 2 in the nation in steals per game.

Should the West Georgia Tech men defeat Oxford in the semifinals on Saturday, it would set up a West Georgia Tech doubleheader on Sunday for both the women’s championship and men’s championship. Should WGTC lose the men’s semifinal game on Saturday, WGTC’s women will still play on Sunday at 2 p.m.

For West Georgia Tech fans planning to make the trip, Oxford College of Emory University is located at 110 Few Circle, Oxford, Ga., 30054. Oxford is located just outside of Covington, about thirty minutes east of Atlanta on Interstate 20.

GCAA – REGION 17 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA

February 21-22

Saturday, February 21

Noon     Women’s Semifinal – No. 2 Southern Crescent vs. No. 3 Georgia Northwestern

2 pm      Men’s Semifinal – No. 1 Southern Crescent vs. No. 4 Georgia Northwestern

4 pm      Men’s Semifinal – No. 2 Oxford College vs. No. 3 West Georgia Tech

Sunday, February 22

2 pm      Women’s Championship – No. 1 West Georgia Tech vs. Semifinal Winner

4 pm      Men’s Championship – SCTC vs. GNTC Winner vs. Oxford College vs. WGTC Winner

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