Brandan Harrell's South Georgia Tech Lady Jets team finished the school's first perfect region record in school history, but faltered in the Region XVII Championship on Saturday afternoon, getting blown out by Georgia Perimeter --- a team they'd beaten twice during the regular season.
SAVANNAH — A perfect regular season Region XVII record. Region Coach of the Year honors. A 17-game winning streak.
It all mattered very little to South Georgia Tech coach Brandan Harrell after his Lady Jets got routed by Georgia Perimeter in Saturday’s region championship game, 83-47.
“I thanked my sophomores for a tremendous season and told them it was unfortunate that you do everything right for 3-4 months and then you have one game where you catch a team playing great and you play just OK,” Harrell said.
Harrell then added: “And then your season is done.”
Harrell said he wasn’t too shocked to lose to a Georgia Perimeter team that played two close games against the Lady Jets in the regular season. However, the way South Georgia Tech lost was stunning.
Georgia Perimeter jumped out to an early lead and never let up. GPC led 45-22 at halftime and pushed its lead to over 30 points in the second half.
“There wasn’t very much they could do wrong, and there wasn’t very much we could do right,” said Harrell, whose Lady Jets finished with an 18-0 region record in the regular season for the team’s first perfect region record in school history. “(GPC) played with a ton of energy and confidence. I thought that they really took the first punch and kept punching. And they never stopped punching.”
No. 3 seed GPC, which took care of Albany Tech in the opening round of the tournament and then handedly beat Darton in the semifinals, shot 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range in the first half. And when they missed, 6-foot-4 center Brittany Logan was there to clean up the glass. Logan finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds, while sophomore guard Kamiya Burwell scored a game-high 24 points.
South Georgia Tech’s star players couldn’t get much going.
Samantha Phillips led the Lady Jets with 13 points, while region Player of the Year Shontae McCall had just 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kayla Ritchie added 11 for SGT.
“That kid deserved to play in the national tournament,” Harrell said about McCall. “I hurt for my sophomores because they put in enough work and deserved to play in the national tournament.”
Instead, GPC advanced for the second year in a row to the national tournament, which will be played March 20-24 in Salina, Kan.
Harrell said he is already thinking about next season.
“Next year starts tomorrow,” he said.
Harrell then added: “This was a great year. I am proud of my kids, and what they accomplished. They accomplished a lot more than most people thought they could. It just came down to 40 minutes where we caught a good team on a good day.”