Cuthbert, Ga - For the second-consecutive year, the No. 2 CGTC Titans have been crowned the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Region XVII Division I Men's Basketball Champions, as they defeated No. 5 Georgia Highlands College 75-65 in the championship game on Saturday evening. The achievement marks the Titans' second conference title in program history.
Following the leadership of the returning sophomores, the Titans were able to assert their dominance early. Anyeuri Castillo and Evins Desir were clutch in the paint, scoring early baskets to get the Titans' offense going. Taking advantage of Georgia Highlands' defensive lapses and early foul trouble, the Titans had a 10-point lead at the 7:54 mark. But that lead was soon cut to four, as the Titans lost offensive possessions due to unforced turnovers.
The Titans were able to pull away from Georgia Highlands again with the strong offensive presence of sophomore forward Aaron Ridley III. Ridley added 12 points, two rebounds, and one steal off the bench in the first half.
Determined to repeat as conference champs, the Titans turned up their offense in the second half. Driving to the basket and forcing Georgia Highlands to foul, the Titans were able to stretch their lead to 19 by knocking down baskets in the paint and at the free throw line. The Titans outscored Georgia Highlands 50-34 with points in the paint and shot 80 percent from the charity stripe, making 15 of their 20 attempts.
The Titans had four players score in double digits. Aaron Ridley III scored a team-high 16 points to go along with two rebounds, one assist, and one steal. DeJon Waters Jr. recorded a double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, one block, and two steals. Anyeuri Castillo finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and five assists, while Evins Desir added 12 points and five rebounds.
As the winner of the GCAA Region XVII/District XIII Championship, the Titans earned a spot in the 2019 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Men's Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kansas March 18-23. The Titans await tournament seeding which will take place on Monday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m., via livestream on the NJCAA Selection Show on www.njcaatv.com.
For more details on the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball championship, visit 2019 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship Central.