Oxford, GA– The Golden Knights held on to defeat Southern Crescent 84-78 to claim the 2017 Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Division III Men's Basketball Tournament Championship here Sunday afternoon. West Georgia Tech (14-13) advances to the NJCAA District VII Tournament Friday at 6 p.m. against Montgomery College (MD). That tournament will also be hosted by Emory-Oxford.
The Golden Knights opened quickly against the Tigers, taking a 44-30 lead into the break. WGTC led by as many as 16 points in the second half before Southern Crescent rallied. Both Donovan Grubb and Joey Boyer paced the Golden Knights with 22 points, and Joe Williams pulled down 10 rebounds.
Coach Niki Okolovitch was pleased with his squad.
"It didn't end up the prettiest win in the world, but we'll take it," he said. "This is the moment we've talked about with our guys since our first days in August."
Okolovitch said he reminded the team about these two tournaments before the season started.
"In the preseason when they were running hills outside in the heat with heavy vests on, running hills with medicine balls, doing endless circuits on the asphalt, we kept reminding them of these two tournaments," the coach said. "At the end of the day, when the time came, they pushed through as a team. I cannot say enough how proud and excited I am for them. Now we'll shift our focus to three other solid teams who will all come in this weekend with the same goals and visions, so our guys have a huge task in front of them."
The Golden Knights last appeared in the NJCAA District VII Tournament in 2014, when they lost in the championship game against Caldwell Community College. The winner of the District Tournament receives a berth to the National Finals in Rochester, Minn., March 16-18.