For the second time in as many games, the Georgia Highlands men’s basketball team upset a higher seed on Friday night, stunning top-seeded and host Andrew College Tigers 92-80 to advance to Saturday’s NJCAA Region XVII championship game.
The Chargers have fought through adversity all year due to injuries, losing three players for the season along the way, but have continued to grind out wins and are now playing for a GCAA and regional title as well as a berth in the NJCAA national tournament.
Georgia Highlands fought to keep the game close in the first half Friday, finishing the first half tied with Andrew at 35 each. The Chargers took a 15-point lead with 13:10 to go — their largest of the game — but the Tigers battled back to cut the Chargers’ lead to six late.
The Tigers were forced to foul and the Chargers made their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
“I am so proud how this team has fought through all the adversity this year. We have had so many injuries, but they found a way to battle and overcome every obstacle,” Georgia Highlands head coach Phil Gaffney said after Friday’s win.
The Chargers were once again led by GCAA Freshman Player of the Year Carl Johnson with 29 points. Khalyl Waters had 20 points, while Chris Wright battled through a sore ankle to score 20 points as well.
Georgia Highlands, which came into the tournament as the No. 5 seed, will face No. 2-seed Central Georgia Tech on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Andrew College in Cuthbert for the regional title.
The Central Georgia Tech Titans won their semifinal game against East Georgia State 61-59 on Friday.