Imani McNeil’s nothing-but-net 3-pointer sent the game past regulation, Moe Shida’s 3-point bank shot in overtime iced the game and the South Georgia Tech Lady Jets outlasted the host Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers 80-71 in the 2021 Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Women’s Conference Championship.
Unable to match South Georgia Tech’s size, the result marks GHC’s third-straight loss to the Lady Jets in the GCAA conference final.
“(The Lady Jets) went to their strength early which is their inside game,” Lady Chargers head coach Brandon Harrell said. “That got them rolling and next thing you knew, you turn around and they bank in a three, so you go from down four to down seven. That just sucks the air out of you. (We) just couldn’t recover.”
A back-and-forth contest throughout, no team had more than a 7-point lead at any point in the game. Up 68-65 with 11 seconds remaining, South Georgia Tech took a timeout and GHC’s goal was plain and simple: defend the perimeter. But McNeil found space beyond the arc and fired away.
“Give her credit, heck of a shot,” Harrell said. “We spent the whole timeout talking about give them a layup, but don’t give them an open three. That was our chance to win it and we didn’t, and they just played a little better than we did.”
South Georgia Tech (21-3) dominated the five-minute overtime session, outscoring Georgia Highlands 12-0 before freshman Jashanti Simmons tallied the first and only Lady Chargers’ point of OT with 11 seconds to play on a basket from downtown.
“(We) couldn’t score, couldn’t get stops,” Harrell said. “You have to be prepared. I think we were prepared, I just think the ball didn’t bounce our way a couple times when we needed it to.”
As the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Jets burst onto the court and broke out the scissors to cut down the nets on road floor.
The Lady Chargers (20-3) walked back to the locker room not knowing if they would have another opportunity to suit up during this COVID-shortened season.
In the win, STGC’s Femme Shizukani led the way offensively with a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Veronica Charles was second with 18 points.
In the loss, GHC saw four Lady Chargers reach double figures in point totals. Jada Alston and Jashanti Simmons notched 17 apiece.
SGTC torched GHC in the paint, outscoring the Lady Chargers 46-18.