Georgia Northwestern Begins Post-Season Play

Thursday, February 20, 2014

With Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson’s win on February 17 over Welch College (TN), the top Bobcat is only three wins away from the 500 victory mark for his career.

 

Two potential wins towards that plateau could go down in Oxford, Georgia this weekend as the Bobcats square off in NJCAA Region XVII competition in the post-season national qualifying tournament. A first-round game in the district round of the NJCAA National Tournament next week would set the stage for win number 500.

 

But, it’s ‘win-and-you’re-in’ or ‘lose-and-go-home’ from this point on. It all begins Saturday at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium on the Emory-Oxford campus. That’s when the Bobcats will face-off with West Georgia Tech in the NJCAA Region XVII Semi-Finals. On the other side of the bracket is host Emory-Oxford and Southern Crescent Tech. The finals will take place at 4 p.m., Sunday.

 

The goal: Two wins in 26 hours.

 

The Cats (8-16, 2-4) have won at least two in a row twice this season. But this time, Georgia Northwestern has a spot in the National Tournament on the line. For NJCAA Region XVII, the Cats only have to win their semi-final match-up against West Georgia Tech. The region’s top two teams automatically advance to the district round of the national tourney.

 

The Golden Knights, winners of six of their last eight, won the region last year. The Carrollton, Georgia squad (18-16; 2012-13) came within one game of the NJCAA Elite Eight before falling to Caldwell Tech (NC) last March.

 

That was a different team. This year’s edition of the Golden Knights is 11-15 overall, 4-2 in region play. The 2013-14 editions of Georgia Northwestern and West Georgia Tech basketball both hover around the .500 mark at home and have sub-par records on the road.

 

Going into the tournament, the key players to watch are sophomores Tavish Reynolds (Calhoun, GA) and Hunter Ivester (Trion, GA) who earned slots on the All-Region squads for the season. For West Georgia Tech, Orlandis Hill, Devante Orebeau, and Jon Perry earned spots, as well.

 

“We have to get it in our head that we can play with them,” said Stephenson of West Georgia Tech. “We have to come out ready and confident. We start games a little less than confident. Then, we realize, a little late, that we can play with these squads. So many times we end up a possession or two away.”

 

Georgia Northwestern fell both at home and away to West Georgia Tech in the regular season. One of the oldest adages from post-seasons past is that beating the same team three times in a single season is tough. “Playing these guys on a neutral site may help out,” said Stephenson. “But simply put, we have to slow the ball down and play smarter basketball than they do. That can earn us a win.”

Other regular season honors included freshman Bobcat Devin Watkins (Cedartown, GA) who was named to the region’s honorable mention list. Ivester was named to the region’s All-Defensive Team. Ivester, along with Cody Cochran (Flintstone, GA) was named to the region’s Academic Achievement Team.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

On the women’s side of the tournament bill this weekend, the Lady Cats find themselves in an unusual position. Georgia Northwestern goes into a win-and-you’re-in NJCAA Region XVII title game as the underdog. In the previous two region crown match-ups in 2012 and 2013, the Lady Cats went into those games as favorites. Sunday at 2 p.m., Georgia Northwestern will be a heavy underdog against the nation’s seventh-ranked team in West Georgia Tech.

 

The Lady Golden Knights boast the region’s 2013-14 Coach of the Year in Kenny Hill and Player of the Year Kadriana Howard. West Georgia Tech (16-8) leads the nation in steals per game (19.5) and ranks in the top ten in total rebounds per game (47.1) and assists per game (17.4).

 

Two-Time NJCAA Region XVII Coach of the Year Jim Williams says his Lady Cats have been the underdog before. “We’ve had games where we thought we didn’t have a shot,” said Williams. “But, our team would walk into the gym and fight. Knowing that all it takes for a trip to the next round is one win is a real motivation for this club this week. With this being our third time around against this team, there is a lot we’ve learned and we hope we can make some things happen.”

 

It all rotates around NJCAA Region XVII All-First Team members Kiarra Parks (Cleveland, TN) and Alyssa Nichelson (Canton, GA). Parks (13.4 ppg) and Nichelson (10.4 ppg) were named All-Tournament Team starters after their freshman showing in the region tourney held last year in Warner Robins, Georgia.

 

Georgia Northwestern has been in a rebuilding year going 5-17. The Lady Cats finished up the regular season going 2-2 in the final two weeks of play. The two loses, however, were to West Georgia Tech. The Lady Cats advanced to the NJCAA Sweet 16 in 2011-12 losing on the road to Montgomery College-Rockville (MD).

 

As it is on the men’s side this weekend, West Georgia Tech has to complete one of the tougher things to do in sports to be able to move on. They have to win a third game in three tries in 2013-14 against the Lady Cats to move on.

 

Other regular season honors included freshman Brecia Hall (Rome, GA) and sophomore Sierra Smith (Armuchee, GA) who made the honorable mention list for their play in the 2013-14 season. Smith was also named to the region’s Academic Achievement Team.

 

For information on all Georgia Northwestern intercollegiate athletic programs, check out BobcatsCountry.com or e-mail the Bobcat Athletic Department atdstephenson@gntc.edu. GNTC is a member of the NJCAA, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, and an equal opportunity institute.


Five Area Players Voted to TSWA All-State Boys Basketball Team

Five area players have been voted to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association boys all-state basketball team. Area players voted all-state were Bradley Central's Cole Copeland, Brainerd's Kentrell Evans and Dajuonta Ross, Central's Ryan Montgomery, and McCallie's Junior Clay. 2015-16 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Girls All-State Teams   Class AAA   ... (click for more)

Lookouts Rally, Then Falter In Ninth Falling To BayBears Thursday, 6-5

Chattanooga rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at five in the top of the eighth inning, but ultimately lost the game, 6-5, on a ninth inning walk-off home run from Ronnie Freeman. Freeman was a Lookouts killer all night, he was 2-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs. Starter David Hurlbut pitched three effective innings for Chattanooga before giving up ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Pledges $6 Million For New Recreation Center At Avondale

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that he plans to include $6 million in his upcoming budget for a new Recreation Center at Avondale. He said at a press conference at the current center on Dodson Avenue, "We want to make an investment in Avondale." Mayor Berke said the current center by Wilcox Boulevard was built in 1949 and last remodeled in 2002. The new center, which ... (click for more)

Developer Plans Single-Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Retail On 7.5 Acres At South Broad Street

A developer is planning single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and retail on a 7.5-acre South Broad Street site. The development by South Broad LLC and DEW LLC is located within several blocks between South Broad Street, W. 26th Street, Long Street and W. 27th Street. It would include a 3-story U-shaped apartment building with ground floor retail at the north end of the ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)