A coin-toss in Oxford, Georgia this afternoon fell the way of Georgia Northwestern and the Lady Cats drew the top seed in next weekend’s NJCAA Region XVII post-season tournament taking place in Warner-Robbins, Georgia.
The Lady Cats became NJCAA Region XVII Co-Champions with a win in their regular season finale Saturday over Middle Georgia Tech. The win put the defending region champs at 13-10 overall, 4-2 in the region.
However, West Georgia Tech also boasts a 4-2 region record. With these teams splitting their regular season series, the final tie-breaker came down to a coin-toss at today’s coaches meeting for the February 22-24 national qualifier event.
“I got down to Oxford about an hour early and grabbed a burger,” said Georgia Northwestern Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jim Williams. “During lunch, I just kept saying to myself that if I get the chance to call the coin toss that I think I should call tails.”
Once the meeting began Sunday afternoon, the coin-toss took place between West Georgia Tech’s Women’s Head Coach Kenny Edwards and Williams. “Well, Kenny said that he thought I should call the toss since we were the defending champs,” said Williams. “So, the coin got tossed in the air. Then, for some reason, I shouted out ‘heads’ instead of tails. Man, it felt like that coin bounced around on that linoleum floor a dozen times. But, after it fell on heads, I was sure glad I changed my mind on the toss.”
The coin-toss determined the top seed for the tourney. Losing the toss put West Georgia Tech in a difficult position having to face tournament host Middle Georgia Tech in an elimination round game Saturday at noon. Georgia Northwestern will take on Southern Crescent Tech in the other elimination round game Saturday at 4 p.m.
The winners of those games will battle Sunday for the NJCAA Region XVII title and the region’s automatic bid into the NJCAA National Tournament beginning the following week. After winning the region title last season, the Lady Cats fell in the first round of the national tournament losing at the nation’s eventual fourth-place finisher in Montgomery College-Rockville (MD).
Georgia Northwestern’s lone returner from the 2011-12 National Tournament qualifier is sophomore guard Emily Cole (Adairsville, GA). Cole says that there is really only one thing this team needs to keep in mind for success in the post-season. “No matter what happens, we need to remember that it takes a team that loves each other to accomplish great things,” said Cole Sunday evening. “United we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall.”
In another unexpected win for Georgia Northwestern, the region’s coaches voted Williams as the Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. Also drawing honors from the region were Lady Cats Odessa Person (Lineville, AL), Kiarra Parks (Cleveland, TN), and Alyssa Nichelson (Canton, GA).
Person was named to the NJCAA Region XVII First All-Team Squad. She led the region with monster numbers on the glass. Person, cousin of former NBA star Chuck Person, led the region with 13 rebounds per game this season. This stat includes four games where the sophomore Lady Cat pulled down an unbelievable 21 rebounds each of those nights.
Making their way on the region’s Second All-Team Squad were Georgia Northwestern freshmen Parks and Nichelson. Parks scored 11 points and grabbed two steals each game this season from her guard slot. Nichelson would also add 11 points a pop and clean the glass for five boards each outing this campaign.
As for the men’s side of the NJCAA Region XVII bracket, the Bobcats will have a tough road next weekend if they plan to extend their season by way of the tournament. Georgia Northwestern (8-18, 0-8) would have to have a Cinderella-esque run to steal away the region’s lone NJCAA National Tournament bid.
The Cats open play at the event Friday at 5:30 p.m. against West Georgia Tech. The winner draws men’s top seed Middle Georgia Tech in the elimination round Saturday at 6 p.m. Southern Crescent Tech will take on Emory-Oxford in the other elimination game on Saturday at 2 p.m. All games will be held at Middle Georgia Tech in Warner-Robbins.
All region tournament action for both men and women’s match-ups will be available live in HD video online. Link information will be available at www.TheGCAA.com and at www.GNTC.edu. Be sure to keep up-to-date with Georgia Northwestern as they compete for a chance at history by following them on the Facebook and Twitter pages of GNTC.
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.