PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Owens Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams are a few steps away from being crowned national champions after winning their respective district tournaments. As a result of their postseason success, the Express basketball programs will now advance to the NJCAA Division II National Championships, Tuesday-Saturday, March 19-23.
This marks the third occasion in which both programs have earned national tournament berths in the same year. The Express teams also accomplished the feat during the 1998-99 and 2002-03 seasons.
The Owens men’s basketball team, led by David Clarke, brings a 24-8 overall record into the NJCAA Division II National Championship tournament, which is taking place in Danville, Ill. Owens advanced to the national tournament by winning the NJCAA Region XII (District 11) Championship in Cincinnati. The Express were victorious over Lakeland Community College 99-84 in the championship game.
Owens earned its eighth berth in the national championship tournament. The men’s basketball program captured NJCAA national championships during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons and finished national runner-up in 1993-94. The Express’ most recent tournament appearance occurred during the 2002-03 season.
During the regular season, Clarke’s team finished in second place in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (10-2 record).
Express men’s basketball will play Iowa Lakes Community College (Estherville, Iowa) in their first game of the double elimination national tournament at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19. If they would advance, the Express will play the winner of the Mott Community College/Central Community College-Columbus game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20. The national championship game will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.
Sixteen men’s basketball teams are competing in the national tournament. Participating teams include Mott Community College (29-3), Monroe Community College (29-3), Louisburg College (32-1), Rend Lake College (26-3), South Suburban College (30-3), Brown Mackie College (26-5), Moraine Valley Community College (28-5), Owens Community College (24-8), Essex County College (25-6), Grand Rapids Community College (21-8), Iowa Lakes Community College (26-6), Phoenix College (20-12), Cecil College (16-14), Central Community College-Columbus (19-13), Howard Community College (16-12) and MCC-Penn Valley (22-11).
The Express women’s basketball team earned their trip to the nationals by winning the NJCAA Region XII (District I) Championship in Cincinnati. Owens defeated Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 69-65 in the championship game to advance to the national tournament in East Peoria, Ill.
This marks Owens’ fifth trip to the national championship tournament. The Express’ previous appearances included the 1997-98 (seventh place), 1998-99 (eighth place), 2002-03 (sixth place) and 2003-04 (ninth place) seasons.
Led by Head Coach Michael Llanas, Owens’ overall record now stands at 25-7. Earlier this year, the Express captured its first Ohio Community College Athletic Conference title (10-2 record) since the 2010-11 campaign. Owens is ranked No. 9 in the most recent NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball poll.
Owens will play Community College of Rhode Island (Providence, R.I.) in their first game of the double elimination national tournament at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19. If they would advance, the Express will play the winner of the Louisburg College/Erie Community College game at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20. The national championship game will occur at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.
The 16 teams competing in the national tournament include Mesa Community College (24-6), Louisburg College (28-3), Illinois Central College (29-3), St. Clair County Community College (30-1), Lake Michigan College (25-6), Highland Community College (27-5), Owens Community College (25-7), Iowa Central Community College (24-8), Monroe College (22-7), Community College of Rhode Island (24-5), Chesapeake College (22-1), South Suburban College (21-12), Elgin Community College (26-6), St. Louis Community College (19-9), Erie Community College (21-5) and North Platte Community College (15-14).