Region 8 claims five Player of the Week awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 16, 2017) - The National Junior College Athletic Association handed out its player of the week awards on Wednesday, and Region 8 claimed not one, not two, not three, not four, but five of the individual honors. 

St. Petersburg College's Jason Burnell and Gulf Coast State College's Taylor Emery were named NJCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Player of the Week, respectively. 

Both were selected as the Most Valuable Player of their respective FCSAA State Tournament. 

Burnell, a sophomore forward from Deland, Fla., averaged 17.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks in three games at the FCSAA Tournament. He shot 58.8 percent (20-of-34) from the field and 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line.

Burnell posted double-doubles in the quarterfinal win over Tallahassee (11 points, 10 rebounds) and in the championship game victory over NJCAA No. 11 Eastern Florida State (19 points, 12 rebounds). In between, tallied 21 points and nine rebounds in an overtime victory over NJCAA No. 21 Daytona State. 

Emery, a sophomore guard from Tampa, Fla., averaged 26.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.3 blocks in three games. She shot 54.7 percent (29-of-53) from the field, 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the three-point line and 84.6 percent (11-of-13) from the free throw line.

After a 23-point effort in the quarterfinals vs. Central Florida, she scored 35 points in a 99-69 win over NJCAA No. 9 Tallahassee in the semis. Emery then poured in 20 points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals in the championship game win over NJCAA No. 5 Chipola. 

Region 8 also claimed both Division I baseball honors.

Chipola College's Andrew Bechtold was named NJCAA Division I Baseball Player of the Week and the College of Central Florida's Nate Pearson was named NJCAA Division I Baseball Pitcher of the Week.

Bechtold, a sophomore third baseman from Chadds Ford, Pa., batted .688 (11-for-16) with seven runs scored, five doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs in four games during the voting period. 

He doubled, scored and drove in a run in all four games of the opening PC doubleheader vs. Tallahassee. Bechtold was 2-for-4 in game one then went a combined 7-for-9 in the middle two games of the series. He homered in games two and three of the set with Tallahassee and was 4-for-4 in game three. He had three RBIs in games two, three and four.

Pearson, a sophomore right-hander from Tampa, Fla., was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in one appearance during the voting period. 

He pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout vs. Seminole State on March 6, walking only one batter and striking out ten.

The final Region 8 honoree is Chipola's Morgan Goree, the NJCAA Division I Softball Pitcher of the Week. 

Goree, a freshman right-hander from Senoia, Ga., was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances during the voting period.

She recorded back-to-back complete-game victories vs. Central Alabama and Wallace State-Hanceville at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

Goree pitched a one-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts against Central Alabama then came back with a perfect game (eight strikeouts) in a 3-0 win over Wallace State-Hanceville.

For the week, Goree totaled 14 innings and allowed one hit, no runs and just one walk while striking out 18.