NJCAA Region XVII’s defending champions have exactly 15 hours to rest after winning a non-region match-up over Toccoa Falls (GA) Friday night before they have to hit the bus to Rossville, for the biggest came of their title defense season.
Led by a squad that appears to be streaking at just the right time, Georgia Northwestern dropped the visiting Lady Eagles by 15, 86-71, in Rome’s Winthrop-King Centre.
Cleveland, Tennessee native freshman guard Kiarra Parks led all Lady Cat scoring with 17 points in the win. Alyssa Nichelson (Canton, GA), Sierra Smith (Armuchee, GA), and Alana Jones (Rockmart, GA) dropped in 16, 14, and 12 points, respectively, Friday night. Jones added four steals while Smith went four-of-eight from three-point land.
The stat that has this entire NJCAA region watching is the one that Lady Cats sophomore post Odessa Person continues to dominate. Coming into the night, “D” was leading the region with nearly 13 boards a contest. Tonight she cleaned the home glass for 17 rebounds over the four-year program from Toccoa, Georgia.
“Keeping the team healthy and rested is priority number one tonight,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jim Williams. “Tomorrow is a must-win if we want to have a real chance at repeating.”
The reigning region champs hope to return to the national tournament this year after earning the college’s first-ever bid to a national event last year. However, it all begins Saturday at 2 p.m. at The R.A.C. (Rossville Athletic Complex) in Rossville, Georgia.
The Lady Cats host the Middle Georgia Tech Lady Titans, a middle-of-the-pack team in NJCAA’s Region XVII. Here’s the catch; a win splits the top spot in the region making Georgia Northwestern (12-10, 4-1) and West Georgia Tech (11-15, 5-1) regular season co-champions.
However, with a Lady Cats win Saturday, it now appears it will come down to the final tie-breaker scenario to determine the top seed in the post-season finale which tips-off February 22. A coin-toss would be held before the tournament to decide who gets the nod.
The winner of the tournament earns the regions automatic bid into the NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Tournament which begins one week later. The Lady Cats fell in the first round of the national tournament last year losing at the nation’s eventual fourth-place finisher in Montgomery College-Rockville (MD) 99-51.
Friday night’s game was seen as more of chance to try out some new looks for the Lady Cats as they gear up for a chance at the repeat. “We had things to work on such as defensive schemes tonight,” said Williams. “We wanted to use this game as a working game. It was an important night tonight. However, we wanted to see what might work for tomorrow.”
Toccoa Falls senior guard Angela Little, a Rome, Georgia product, went four-of-four from the three-point line scoring 12 points in the loss for the Lady Eagles.
Georgia Northwestern is a member of NJCAA Region XVII, the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, and is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.
Georgia Northwestern (86) – Kiarra Parks 17, Alana Jones 12 (4 steals), Emily Cole 10, Alyssa Nichelson 16, Flaherty, Sierra Smith 14 (4-8 3’s, four steals), Price 7, Mostella 4, Person 6 (17 rebounds).
Toccoa Falls (71) – Rudd, Morris 4, Cassidy Lang 15, Bechtold 8, Antonidi 2, Moody 8, Mueller, Clemonts, Kim Crapse 22, Angela Little 12.
Halftime Score: 49-36, Georgia Northwestern.