The East Georgia College men’s basketball team accomplished a pair of firsts Saturday.
By beating Chattahoochee Tech, 74-71, in Swainsboro, the sixth-ranked Bobcats — who have four players from Liberty County — not only claimed their first Georgia Collegiate Athletics Association title, but also earned the program’s first berth in the National Junior College Athletics Association Division I tournament.
GCAA player of the year Jordan Johnson, GCAA all-tourney pick DJ Felder, Jon Blair and Jalen Watson — all of whom are former Liberty County players — will be part of the Bobcats team in the national tourney, which starts Monday in Hutchinson, Kan.
According to njcaabbtrny.org, the Bobcats (30-2) have a first-round bye. They will play the winner of Coffeyville CC and Walters State at 2 p.m. March 20.
On Saturday, the Bobcats held off a second-half charge by the 14th-ranked Golden Eagles. The Bobcats jumped out to early 8-0 lead and shot 55 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 37–22 lead at halftime. Felder had 16 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
The Golden Eagles used a strong half-court zone defense to claw back in the second half. EGC was forced into quick shots, which allowed the Eagles to start their transition offense. Chattanooga Tech had seven 3-pointers in the second half.
EGC had a five-point lead in the final minutes when Johnson hit a big shot to push the Bobcats’ lead to eight going into the final minute of the game. EGC used free throws to hold off Chattanooga Tech. However, the Golden Eagles had a final shot. Down three with seven seconds remaining, the Golden Eagles got the ball but were unable to get a shot off as time expired.
EGC point guard Tre’ Hagood had 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Felder ended the game with 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Johnson had 12 points, Blair had four points in 19 minutes, and Watson had four rebounds in 10 minutes.
Chattanooga Tech’s Malcolm Riley led all scorers with 27 points.
Courier staff contributed to this report.