For the second year in a row, the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 Women’s Championship was a show-off between Georgia Highlands and the South Georgia Tech Lady Jets. Nationally ranked SGTC (28-4|13-1) trailed the Highlands (19-14|12-2) after the first quarter in a back and forth duel. The Lady Jets dominated the Highlands in both regular season games, but with top scorers La’Deja James and Camille Coleman (ACL injury) gone for the rest of the season, the task of topping last year’s GCAA Champion Chargers was a tough task.
The Highlands led a see-saw game into the 3rd quarter before SGTC unleashed a barrage of timely 3 pointers by Freshmen Kanna Suzuki, Marina Balaguer and Sophmore Shaineequah Fluellyn. Fluellyn was aggressive on offense constantly creating a shot for herself in the lane and sinking threes from deep. She led all scorers with 30 points and has carried the Lady Jets as the main scorer since Coleman and James have been out. All American Desiree Corbin, also recovering from a knee injury, put in quality minutes although she fouled out late in the 4th quarter along with other big Houlfat Mahouchiza, who hit a key jumper in the 4th quarter to ward off a run by Highlands. Esther Adenike also came up with a big offensive rebound and put back late in the fourth quarter and Fluellyn and Kidd hit big free throws to cement the deal.
After last year’s nail biting loss to the Highlands, Head Coach James Frey was relieved to get over the hump and not repeat the misery of leading the GCAA all year only to miss the NJCAA tourney. Prior to the game, the GCAA announced several awards for SGTC, with Coleman and Corbin making All Conference 1st Team, Fluellyn making All Conference 2nd Team and Kanna Suzuki bringing in the GCAA Freshman of the Year Award. Coach Frey was also Co-Coach of the Year in the GCAA.
The Lady Jets now have a week to prepare for their next game on Saturday 3/11 versus Denmark Tech in District J at 2:00pm.