Seeded fourth in the four-team field at the District 7 Tournament, WGTC shocked top-seeded and seventh-ranked Sandhills Community College — the defending national champions — in a 110-97 barnburner Friday night to advance to Saturday’s championship game in Wentworth, N.C.
The victory is being billed the biggest win in the young history of West Georgia Tech Athletics.
West Georgia Tech has now won seven straight, including three in a row in the Region 17 Tournament two weeks ago, to move its record to 18-15. Sandhills finishes the season 25-7.
“I said before the game that if you wanted to play an up-tempo style against us, that we were fine with that. That’s how we like to play,” said WGTC coach Niki Okolovitch. “We never slow down. Our practices in the off-season are filled with conditioning drills with the heat turned up in the gym. Our guys run and condition themselves on their own. That pays dividends this time of year. It carried us [Friday].”
West Georgia Tech will play Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute out of Hudson, N.C., today at 3 p.m. in the district finals. No. 3 Caldwell Tech (22-10) easily defeated No. 2 Anne Arundel (Md.), 104-75, in Friday’s other semifinal game.
Sandhills came into the game averaging a nation-best 100.7 points per game, but West Georgia Tech was the better offensive team Friday. The Golden Knights shot 55.8 percent from the field (43-of-77) and 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
The Golden Knights were led by Randazerro Chaney and Alyja Hennings, who scored 25 points apiece. Hennings was 11-of-13 from the field. Victor Wynn had a strong game, as well, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
“We played good team ball,” Chaney said. “These boys played hard. I told them that I was here last year and that we could win these ball games, we just needed to share the ball and play hard. We did that [Friday].”
Kermeriaz Harrington led the Flyers with 21 points.
West Georgia Tech held Sandhills to 45.9 percent shooting from the field and just 8-of-28 from 3-point range.
After trailing 45-43 at halftime, the Golden Knights outscored Sandhills, 67-52, in the second half.
Caldwell Tech has won nine of its last 12 contests. One of those three losses was to Sandhills in the Region 10 Tournament championship game at the buzzer, 70-69.
“Caldwell showed that they like to full-court press, and sometimes we do well against it and sometimes we don’t,” Okolovitch said. “Caldwell has some natural shooters, and that is something we’ll have to adjust to defensively.”