No. 1 Georgia Perimeter downs SGT women in region title game

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- This one might have South Georgia Tech hurt the worst.

Despite an inspired second half rally, the Lady Jets were unable to erase a 21-point deficit and had to watch as Georgia Perimeter College took the NJCAA Region XVII Championship game by a final of, 78-70, on Saturday at Darton's Cavalier Arena.

If that's not enough heartache, this loss marks the third time this season that the Lady Jets have played GPC hard and still fell short.

"For us to win this game we would have to stay out of foul trouble and have a couple of big calls go our way," said SGT coach Brandan Harrell, whose team lost to GPC, 54-43, and 79-71 in the regular season. "We didn't stay out of foul trouble and we had a couple of big calls down the stretch go against us."

One of those big calls Harrell was referring to came on the middle of a 36-14 SGT run, which began with 15:29 remaining, that lost some steam when conference Player of the Year Ophelia McMath thought she had made a clutch basket while being fouled, only to be called for a charge -- leaving her team trailing, 71-60, with 2:30 left in the game.

"If we get the block call instead of the charge call, (and hit the free throw) that cuts it to eight," Harrell said. "Two possessions later they had already cut it to four so that could have given us a chance to at least make it a one-possession game."

Even though that call put the brakes the Lady Jets' comeback, they still played until the final buzzer, just as they had done for the entire game -- except for the tail end of the first half when GPC took over the game with a 21-5 tear that began with 5:30 remaining to go up 46-30 at halftime.

Other than that, the No. 2 team in the region was playing like there was no tomorrow.

Shontae McCall got it going for the Lady Jets first and finished 11 first-half points. In the second half, McCall was riddled with foul trouble -- and only finished with 14 points -- but McMath picked up the slack as she scored 20 of her game-high 25 in the second half.

"Both of them are big time players," Harrell said of McMath and Mcall. "Both those players can take over a game."

The Lady Jets wrapped up their 2010-11 campaign with a 27-3 record overall and as runner-up in the Region XVII. But only the winning team advances to the national tournament as GPC now gets set to host a district playoff next week.