South Georgia Tech coach Brandan Harrell
AMERICUS — South Georgia Tech and Darton will say good-bye to 2011 the same way they have been saying so long for the past three years.
Both women’s basketball teams will spend the next two days getting ready for a run in 2012 in the Lady Jets Classic basketball tournament today and Saturday at South Georgia Tech.
Darton opens the classic at 4 this afternoon against Chipola and South Georgia Tech plays Northwest Florida at 6 p.m. Darton meets Northwest Florida at noon on Saturday and South Georgia Tech plays Chipola at 2 p.m.
Both of the teams from Florida are ranked in the top 15 in the nation, and Northwest Florida comes in ranked No. 2 in the country.
“It kind of gives us some warmup games before the conference starts back up,’’ SGT coach Brandan Harrell said. “Typically, it’s us and Darton every year, and we’ve had different teams come in over the years. It kind of gets us going. We try to bring in some really good teams.’’
That’s the idea and both Darton and South Georgia Tech (7-7) will be tested against the nationally-ranked teams.
South Georgia Tech is 7-7, but the Lady Jets, who are led by Shontae McCall (18.4 points per game) and Shanique Holston (16.8 ppg), had to forfeit four of their first six games for playing an ineligible player. Since then the Lady Jets are 7-1, but are coming off a loss to Shelton. Darton (7-3) is led by Michelle Mitchell (16.4 ppg ) and Chanteniece Fann (14.3 ppg).
GSW men cruise past Lenoir-Rhyne
GREENWOOD, S.C. — Phillip Brown scored 26 points as Georgia Southwestern dominated the first half and cruised to a 68-52 victory against Lenoir-Rhyne University in the first round of the Bearcat Holiday Classic Thursday night at Finis Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.
The Hurricanes improved to 8-2 while L-R dropped to 4-6.
Brown scored his game-high 26 points in 27 minutes of action, making 11 of 17 shots from the floor while hitting four of five free throws. He also grabbed nine rebounds, sharing game-high honors with teammates Marlon Rivera and Milos Kleut.
Colin Slotter scored all nine of his points during a key first-half run for GSW, Kleut also scored nine points and Rivera had a game-high eight assists and three steals.
Allan Jones led the Bears with 17 points while D.J. Blackmon added 10. Denzel Dillingham, Blackmon and Jones paced L-R with four rebounds apiece.
After grabbing a 6-5 lead in the opening five minutes of the game, the Hurricanes scored nine unanswered points to take control early. Bobby Glover started the run with a 3-point basket, Rivera followed with a pair of free throws and Brown scored twice to give GSW a 15-5 lead at the 13-minute mark.
Jones completed a three-point-play to pull the Bears within 18-10 with 11:47 until halftime. That’s when the Blue & Gold blew the game open, closing the half with a 21-4 run for a 39-14 halftime advantage.
Evan Mobley started the run with a 3-pointer and Slotter scored nine points, including a 3-point shot that made it 34-14 with 5:15 remaining before the break. Will Kenimer followed with a 3-pointer at the 3:04 mark and Glover added two free throws with 1:40 on the clock as the Hurricanes scored the final 10 points of the opening stanza. GSW held the Bears scoreless over the final six-plus minutes of the half.
GSW maintained its 20-plus lead through much of the second period, taking its largest lead of 29 points on a Brown 3-point basket, making the score 59-30 with eight minutes remaining.