C of O Women 1st, Men 2nd at A.I.I. Tournament

Press Release from Association of Independent Institutions

Top-seeded College of the Ozarks (Missouri) captured the 2021 Association of Independent Institutions women’s basketball tournament title, defeating No. 2 seed Crowley’s Ridge College (Arkansas) 85-46 Saturday afternoon in Paragould, Arkansas.

The Bobcats outscored the host Pioneers 43-20 across the second and third quarters to pull away in the championship game.

College of the Ozarks led 19-15 after the opening quarter. The team then relied on a stingy defensive performance to limit Crowley’s Ridge to eight points in the second 10-minute period.

Overall, the Bobcats’ defense held Crowley’s Ridge to 19.7 percent shooting for the contest.

Madi Braden came off the bench to score 21 points to lead the victors. Jordan Wersinger added 18 points, while Annie Noah and Kayley Frank chipped in nine points apiece. Frank grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

College of the Ozarks shot 51.4 percent (19-of-37) from the floor during the second half.

The Pioneers were led by Octavia Lowery with 13 points and Kianna Hardaway scored 10 points in the loss.

Meanwhile, Joell Davis scored 23 points to lead four players in double figures as Voorhees College (South Carolina) won the 2021 Association of Independent Institutions men’s basketball championship with a 68-60 victory over College of the Ozarks on Saturday in Paragould, Arkansas.

Voorhees has won two of the last three A.I.I. men’s basketball titles.

Hector Rosario added 14 points, while Tawon Buie and Statan Levine each scored 13 points in the victory for the Tigers.

Voorhees, the tournament’s No. 3-seeded team, jumped out to a 13-6 lead following a jumper from Buie seven minutes into the contest. The lead grew to 13 points, 22-9, after a basket by Terril Windom with 7:01 left in the first half.

However, the No. 4-seeded Bobcats mounted a run of their own at the end of the first half. Tanner Rogers’ 3-point field goal cut the deficit to 26-20 at the 4:10 mark and a pair of free throws from Josh Linehan brought College of the Ozarks to within four, 31-27, at halftime.

But, just like the game’s opening, Voorhees got off to a strong start in the second half. The team built a 49-36 advantage with 13:25 left in the game following a basket by Davis.

College of the Ozarks would only get as close as seven points in the closing minutes.

Ayden Stone led the tournament runner up Bobcats with 16 points, while Treydon Rackley scored 13 points and Andrew Mitchell added 11 points. Linehan scored 10 points in the defeat.

By reaching the championship games, all four teams earne the A.I.I.’s automatic bids to the NAIA national tournament.

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