AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - South Georgia Technical College Jets interim head basketball coach Chris Ballauer and the 2021 Jets came away with two big wins over the 21st national ranked South Georgia State College Hawks this past week. Which moved them into first place in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) standings with an 8 – 2 GCAA record and a 10 – 6 overall record.
This is the first time since 2013 – 2014 that the Jets have had a chance to go into the GCAA playoffs as a top-ranked team. Right now the Jets are in first place over Georgia Highlands (7 – 2) and Albany Tech (7 – 3). South Georgia State dropped to fourth this season with a 6 – 3 record after the back-to-back losses to South Georgia Tech. Central Georgia Tech is currently fifth (5 – 6), Southern Crescent Tech is sixth (4 – 6), Gordon is seventh (4 – 7), East Georgia (3- 9) is in eighth place and Andrew College is ninth with a 2 – 8 record.
“I am really proud of our guys,” said South Georgia Technical College Jets interim head coach Chris Ballauer. “We had a tough loss against Southern Crescent in overtime on Tuesday, but they bounced back and got two big wins on Thursday and Saturday against the nationally-ranked South Georgia State Hawks.”
The Jets defeated South Georgia State 91 – 76 in Waycross, and then came back and took their second up-set win 87 – 77 in Americus on Saturday.
In the first game against South Georgia State on Thursday, freshman 6′ 4″ guard Marvin McGhee from Atlanta, GA, “really put us on his back and kept us in the game,” said Coach Ballauer. “We got into foul trouble early. Our bench brought great energy and when their numbers were called, they were ready.”
The Jets and the Hawks were tied at 39 – 39 at the end of the first half. “Jordan Stephens came out and scored the first 10 points of the second half to really get us going and set the tone for the rest of the game. Waycross may be the toughest place to play and win in our league. They just do not lose many games at home, so getting out with a win is always good,” said Ballauer. The Jets outscored South Georgia State 52 – 39 in the second half.
In that win, Marvin McGhee was the top scorer with 30 points. He was 10 of 18 from the floor and seven of 11 from the three-point line. He also made three of his four free throws. Jordan Stephens joined McGhee in double-figure scoring with 22 points. Stephens was four of six from the three-point line and seven of 12 from the floor. He also made four of four from the foul line. The only other Jet in double-digits was Will Johnston with 14 points.
Jalen Reynolds ended the night with eight points, Kadeem Wilks added six, Justice Hayes, 4, and then Tabais Long, Dhal Fleg, and Radim Havel each tossed in two points. Nikola Sasaroga closed out the scoring with one point. Reynolds led the team in rebounds with 12.
Coach Ballauer knew that it would be very tough to come back two days later and come up with their second straight win but that is exactly what the Jets did in the Hangar on Saturday. This time, the Jets ended the game with an 87 – 77 victory.
The Jets spread out the scoring in the game Saturday. Five Jets ended the night in double-digits. Freshman guard Will Johnston led the group with 22 points. He was four of eight from the three-point line and seven of 15 from the three-point line. He also made four of six free throws. He also had seven assists and one steal.
Jordan Stephens had another good night with 18 points and nine rebounds. Jalen Reynolds had a double-double night with 15 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocked shots. Josh Pain came off the bench and hit three of six three-pointers and a layup to earn 14 points and then Tabais Long added 13 points to close out the double-digit scoring for South Georgia Tech. Marvin McGhee was the only other Jet to score and he had five points.
The Jets will be off this week but will have to play hard to hang on to their first-place ranking in the GCAA when they travel to Albany on Tuesday, March 16th for a 7 p.m. match-up. Albany Tech will come to Americus on Thursday, March 18th for a 7 p.m. rematch. The Jets and the Lady Jets will both be at home on Saturday, March 20th for sophomore day. The Lady Jets open at 1 p.m. against East Georgia State and the Jets follow at 4 p.m. for a game with Gordon State College.