AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Three losses to nationally ranked teams within 12 days dropped the South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets from 5th in the nation to the number 10 spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division 1 Women’s basketball rankings. The Lady Jets are 13 – 3 overall and 7 – 2 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA).
However, the Jets pulled off a two-game upset against the nationally-ranked South Georgia State College Hawks last week to receive votes as honorable mentions as one of the nation’s top teams, and sophomore 6′ 7″ Jalen Reynolds of Darien, GA retained his spot as the NJCAA Division I top rebounder in the March 8th polls.
The Lady Jets lost to the fifth-seeded Jones College team on February 22 and then to 20th ranked Georgia Highlands back-to-back on March 5th and 6th in Rome, GA. The Lady Jets were ranked as high as second in the nation and unbeaten but now with three losses they have slipped to 10th in the nation and second in the GCAA behind Georgia Highlands. The Lady Chargers only conference loss this season came to South Georgia Tech. They are 8 – 1 in the GCAA and 13 – 2 overall. The non-conference loss was to the top-ranked Chipola team in a 91 – 78 contest in their first game of the season.
In addition to receiving votes as two of the top teams in the nation, the South Georgia Technical College Jets and Lady Jets each had players spotlighted nationally for their individual play. Sophomores Veronica Charles, Femme Sikuzani, and Hope Butera were recognized for the Lady Jets and sophomore Jalen Reynolds and freshmen Marvin McGhee and Will Johnston were the Jets who received national recognition.
Jalen Reynolds was the top rebounder in the nation for the second week in a row in the March 8, 2021 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I rankings this week. He has 199 rebounds in 16 games. That includes 71 offensive and 128 defensive. The second-place rebounder only has 183 over 13 games.
In addition to leading the nation in total rebounds, Reynolds was listed as fourth in the nation in rebounds per game with an average of 12.4 each outing. He also came in as the fifth-best offensive rebounder in the nation, averaging 4.4 per game, and was ranked sixth in defensive rebounds averaging eight per outing this season. Reynolds also received recognition for blocks. He has an average of 1.8 blocks per game this season to secure a tie for 41st in the nation in that category.
Joining Reynolds in the national spotlight were his teammates, Marvin McGhee, a freshman guard; and Will Johnston, freshman guard. McGhee has scored 231 points this season to be the 39th best scorer in the NJCAA Division I standings. He also is currently 18th in the nation in total rebounds with 125 and tied for the 43rd spot in defensive rebounding with an average of 6.1 per game. Will Johnston was recognized for averaging five assists per game this season which has him listed as the 45th best in the nation.
The three Lady Jets singled out for their top performances on the court were sophomores Veronica Charles, Femme Sikuzani, and Hope Butera. Charles is ranked 16th nationally in steals, averaging 3.4 per game over 16 games.
Sophomore center Femme Sikuzani earned national recognition in two different categories. Sikuzani ranks ninth in total rebounds. She has 139 rebounds this season including 61 offensive rebounds and 78 defensive rebounds. Her average of 3.8 offensive rebounds per game earned her the 41st spot in that category nationally. Her teammate, sophomore Hope Butera is currently 35th in the nation in total rebounds with 110 this season.
The Lady Jets will try to get back to their winning ways Tuesday night in a GCAA match-up against Albany Tech at 5:30 in the Hangar. Albany Tech is currently 5 – 5 on the season and seeded 4th in the GCAA. Albany Tech dropped three games to Georgia Highlands as well as one game to East Georgia and Central Georgia Tech.
The Lady Jets will travel to Albany Tech on Thursday, March 11 at 5:30 and then host them on Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. for rematches. On Tuesday, March 16, the Lady Jets host East Georgia State College at 5:30 and then travel to East Georgia on Thursday, March 18 before East Georgia returns to SGTC on Saturday, March 20 for a 1 p.m. game on Sophomore Day for the Jets and Lady Jets. That is the last regular-season game for the Lady Jets. The quarterfinal/Region XVII game starts on March 30.
The Jets are off this week but return to action on Tuesday, March 16 when they travel to Albany Tech for a 7 p.m. contest. The Jets host Albany Tech at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, and then host Gordon State at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 20 for Sophomore Day.