REGION CHAMPS! GOLDEN KNIGHTS STUN OXFORD COLLEGE 65-46 TO WIN SECOND-STRAIGHT REGION 17 CHAMPIONSHIP
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- The West Georgia Technical College Golden Knights won their second-consecutive NJCAA Region 17 Division III championship Sunday afternoon by winning their third game in as many days, 65-46 over the No. 2-seeded Oxford College Eagles Sunday afternoon in Warner Robins, Ga.
The Golden Knights, entering the tournament as the no. 4 seed, beat No. 5 Georgia Northwestern Friday night (73-33) and top-seeded Middle Georgia Tech on Saturday (93-89) to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
“How about those kids?” said WGTC head coach Niki Okolovitch. “There must be something in the February water around West Georgia Tech. This is the second year in a row that these guys have done this. They told me, ‘Coach, we are not going to lose, we are not going to lose.’ And they came together and did it. I hope the people on our campus know how special those guys are. It’s a great group of kids. They deserve it.”
The Golden Knights have won six in a row and seven of eight to bring their record to 17-15. Oxford College dropped to 21-10. Oxford won both regular-season meetings.
WGTC will represent Region 17 in the District 7 Semifinals in two weeks, March 8-9, which will be held in North Carolina at the site of the Region 10 champion.
West Georgia Tech also beat the Eagles in last year’s championship game (66-52), that time on their home floor. On Sunday, the Golden Knights played spectacular defense, much like Friday’s effort against Georgia Northwestern.
Four players scored in double-figures for West Georgia Tech, led by Randazerro Chaney with 17 points (7-of-12 shooting).
Ryan Jones had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Alyja Hennings added 12 points and Shaun Monk scored 11 to round out the double-figure scoring.
But it was sophomore Victor Wynn who received the postgame accolades from Okolovitch.
“Vic showed the heart of a champion during the entire tournament,” he said. “He showed his true character this weekend. Some of our other guys get a lot of the credit and they should, but Victor has been our rock.”
WGTC held Oxford to just 25.8 percent shooting from the field (16-of-62). The Eagles connected on only 1-of-22 three-point shots.
The Golden Knights didn’t have a great day offensively either, shooting 38.5 percent.
West Georgia Tech dominated the glass, outrebounding the Eagles 53-40.
The game was close throughout, until the final two minutes. WGTC led 48-43 with 3:20 to go, but ended the game on a 17-3 run.
West Georgia Tech’s largest lead in the first half was eight, at 27-19 with a couple of minutes remaining. The Eagles closed the gap to 27-23 at halftime. Oxford got to within two points at the 9:01 mark, 38-36. But the Golden Knights pushed the lead back out to eight, 46-38, with 5:51 to play.
“Oxford is a great team and they have a slower style of play than what we saw last night,” Okolovitch said. “We didn’t get a lot of looks in transition. We looked shaky at times in the half-court offense, but we hit the shots when we had to.”