Saluqi Basketball has banner year
by Keith Gentry, Sports Information Director
The Southwest men’s basketball team is perennially one of the top teams in not only the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) conference, but also in the entire National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the 2017-18 season was no exception. The Saluqis ended the season with a 24-5 overall record, won the TCCAA regular season title at 15-3 in conference play, were runner up to Motlow State in the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII championship and ranked No. 18 in the final NJCAA regular season poll.
Several Saluqis received post-season honors for their contributions on the court. Head Coach Jerry Nichols was named TCCAA Coach of the Year (his fifth time in the past 9 seasons) and now has a 120-28 record at Southwest for an astonishing 81.0 winning percentage. Sophomore point guard Michael Littlejohn and freshman forward Carlos Marshall were selected first team All-TCCAA in a vote by the conference’s coaches. Freshman forward Shakem Johnson made the second team. Littlejohn led the team in scoring (14.4 points per game), assists (3.2 per game) and three-point shooting percentage (42.9). He scored a season-high 28 points in the Saluqis’ regional quarterfinal win over Jackson State Community College. Marshall was the second leading scorer with a 13.0 average and was among team leaders with 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Johnson added 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and was ranked second in the nation with an outstanding 72.5 field goal percentage.
The Lady Saluqis also had an impressive year under Andrea Martre who rounded out her 22nd year as head coach and the program’s all-time winningest coach with 351 wins. The Southwest women finished with a 21-8 overall record and were TCCAA regular season runner-up with a 14-4 conference record. Their season ended with a loss to Roane State in the quarterfinals of the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament.
Sophomore guard Atitiana
Titi Vincent was voted first team All-TCCAA after being named to the second team as a freshman. Vincent led the team in scoring (12.3 points per game) and also ranked among the conference leaders in assists (4.2 per game), steals (3.3 per game) and free throw percentage (85.4). Sophomore forwards Quinlan “Q” Hughes and Orlandra “LaLa” Humphries were second team selections. Hughes came off the bench to average 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, which ranked her second on the team in both categories. Humphries averaged 7.9 points per game and was the Lady Saluqis’ leader in rebounds (6.5 per game) and blocked shots (1.6 per game).