The fourth-seeded Golden Knights upset No. 1 Middle Georgia College in a 93-89 thriller on Saturday evening in Warner Robins, setting the stage for today’s title showdown against No. 2 Oxford College at 4 p.m.
“We don’t think we are underdogs,” noted WGTC coach Niki Okolovitch. “Our kids deserve to win. They play so hard and, you know, everything has not gone our way this year but they stayed together and kept believing. I told them when you play hard and do things the right way, those two things will carry a team. And that is what has happened with us.”
Sophomore standout Randazerro Chaney is closing his WGTC career in grand fashion, pouring in a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting in the win over Middle Georgia College (17-13).
“That’s my guy. I never met one person who has said anything bad about him. He does things the right way, and we are very lucky to have him here,” Okolovitch said. “We hope to get him to another school to finish his college career so someone else can enjoy him as much as we have. He really is a great talent.”
Alyja Hennings added 13 points, Victor Wynn had 12 and Jon Perry dropped in 11 to round out the double-figure scoring for the Golden Knights (16-15).
D’Meco Rozier scored 23 and Dwayne Bryant had 21 to lead Middle Georgia Tech.
The Golden Knights now meet a familiar foe in Oxford (21-9), the same team they beat on their home floor in last year’s championship game.
West Georgia Tech lost both meetings with Oxford this season, 67-63, in Tallapoosa and 74-67 in Covington.
Since that Feb. 9 road loss, the Golden Knights have won five straight.
“I don’t think I’ve seen Oxford take a bad shot all year,” Okolovitch said. “Their half-court offense is so tough to defend and their defense is solid. It will be a challenge for our guys, but I know we’ll be ready. This team loves playing these type games. And [Sunday] will be another exciting opportunity for us.”
WGTC Women’s Basketball
The WGTC women’s basketball team saw its season come to a close in the semifinal round of the Region 17 Division III Tournament on Saturday, dropping a 62-59 decision to Middle Georgia Tech in Warner Robins.
The Golden Knights (11-16) nearly made an improbable comeback in the game’s final seconds. Trailing 62-56, a WGTC 3-pointer with six seconds on the clock pulled them to within three. Sharika Pennamon then stole the in-bounds pass, which set up an open 3-point try with just two seconds left, but it missed.
“We came out flat [Saturday], but we still had shots at the end and that is a testament to how hard we play,” said WGTC women’s coach Kenny Edwards. “I think the two-week layoff between our last regular-season game and [Saturday] hurt us. It seemed that it took us about 10 minutes to really get going. But give Middle Georgia Tech credit, they played well.”
Middle Georgia Tech led for much of the game, never trailing after the 9:30 mark in the first half. It led by as many as 10 in the first half, but a late run by the Golden Knights narrowed the margin to 29-24 at halftime.
In the second half, West Georgia Tech tied the game at 48-all on a Nicole Marshall 3-pointer with 6:30 remaining. But the Lady Titans pulled ahead on a three-point play just seconds later and then stretched the lead to eight with 2:40 left.
The Golden Knights clawed back, but ran out of time.
Marshall led the Golden Knights with 13 points, as she connected on 3-of-5 3-pointers. Victoria Conner added 11 points and Sha’Ron Forte, playing in the last game of her WGTC career, scored 10 to round out the double-figure scoring for West Georgia Tech.
West Georgia Tech’s leading scorer, Sharika Pennamon, was held to six points.
Middle Georgia Tech was led by current Region 17 Division III Player of the Year Ashley West, who had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Two WGTC players finished their careers in a Golden Knight uniform on Saturday, with Forte and Bria Hollins serving as the lone sophomores on this year’s squad.
“We’ll miss them. They were a big piece of the puzzle this year for us, and they laid the foundation for future success. They gave us great leadership, which we needed since we were such a youthful team,” Edwards said.
The WGTC baseball team was swept in a doubleheader by Southern Union on Saturday in Wadley, Ala., suffering 3-1 and 2-1 setbacks.
The Golden Knights (9-6) got solid efforts on the hill from Game 1 starter Brad Bartlett, who went the distance, yielding three runs on seven hits in six innings, fanning three and walking one. In the nightcap, Chris Irwin worked seven innings, allowing three hits, walking three and striking out a season-high nine batters.
“Both games were well-pitched ball games by both clubs,” said WGTC coach Todd Pratt. “Our pitchers really performed well, as they have all season. Our hitting has to get better, and that is something we’ll work on.”
The Golden Knights return to action Tuesday at home against Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.). First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m.