OXFORD, Georgia -- No. 7 West Georgia Tech passed the first test of its postseason Sunday with a 75-47 win over Southern Crescent in the Region 17 Division-III Women's Basketball Championship Game, held in Oxford, Ga.
The Golden Knights (24-5) will play at Butler County (Pa.) Community College next weekend for the District G championship, with the winner earning one of eight coveted berths in the National Championship Tournament, held this year in Lincroft, N.J.
WGTC last made the national championship tournament two seasons ago and finished in seventh place.
"I'm proud of our effort, especially in the first half," West Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Edwards said. "We didn't play clean and it wasn't pretty at times, but that is how we play. When you play as hard as we do and you attack on both ends like we did today, you can overcome most of your shortcomings."
West Georgia Tech led from start to finish on Saturday.
WGTC jumped out to a quick 24-11 lead after the first quarter. The Golden Knights outscored the Lady Tigers 24-9 in the second quarter and led 48-20 at halftime.
West Georgia Tech's largest lead was 39, late in the second half.
Jacky Jones led the Golden Knights 20 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Sydnee Clark added nine points for the Golden Knights.
West Georgia Tech hit 33 of 73 shots from the field (45.2 percent), 1 of 12 from three-point range (8.3 percent) and 8 of 17 from the free-throw line (47.1 percent).
The Golden Knights defense forced 22 Southern Crescent turnovers while holding SCTC to 25-percent shooting from the field (17 of 68). SCTC connected on 5 of 27 from beyond the arc (18.5 percent) and 8 of 24 from the charity stripe (33.3 percent).
West Georgia Tech held the rebounding advantage, 62-46. The nation's top rebounding team grabbed 23 offensive rebounds, which led to 21 second-chance points for WGTC.
West Georgia Tech has won 10-straight games and is 15-1 over its last 16. The Golden Knights played a grueling non-conference schedule, finishing with a 10-5 record against NJCAA Division-I and Division-II teams, a school record. After starting the year with a pair of losses, WGTC is 24-3 over the last 27 games.
The exact date, time and location for next weekend's District G Championship Game will be finalized on Monday, but West Georgia Tech knows its opponent. The Golden Knights will face Region-20 champion Butler County somewhere outside of Pittsburgh.
The Lady Pioneers are 15-7 and feature one of the top players in the country.
Julia Baxter averages 23.7 points and 14.0 rebounds per game and is one of the top-shot blockers in the nation, with 3.8 blocks per contest. The freshman forward is shooting over 55 percent from the field.
West Georgia Tech will also have to deal with a long road trip. The drive to western Pennsylvania is expected to take more than 13 hours.
But the Golden Knights appear to be on a mission. A relentless full-court defense, an attacking offense and a deep bench have been the key ingredients to WGTC's success thus far -- and heart and guts, or the "will to win" as Edwards calls it.
"Championships are not easy to win," Edwards said. "They don't happen every day. We are blessed to win another one and we hope to continue our momentum into the next phase of the postseason. We are not satisfied and we all feel that we have a lot to prove to those around the country. We have played with that type of intensity all year long. And we have played through some difficult situations and have won games that perhaps we shouldn't have won. I feel like we are prepared for the next phase of this journey."
Regardless of what happens next weekend, this year will go down in the history books as the best season in West Georgia Tech's young athletics history.
The records and accolades are nice, but you get the feeling that this team wants more.
The road continues next weekend. And it's a long one.