"This is some of the best junior college basketball action you'll ever see," said Michael Rickard, Owens athletic coordinator. "We're expecting an exciting tournament. As the defending regional champions, the Owens Express is proud to host these 11 teams from Michigan and five from Ohio, "
The tournament begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 in Alumni Hall. Four games will be played daily on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m., 4: 10 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Two games will be played Friday evening at 5 and 7: 10 p.m. and the Championship Game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for students for each day. Free parking is available adjacent to Alumni Hall.
This will be the third year in a row for Owens Community College to host the NJCAA Region XII Tournament. For the past two years, Owens has been the site for the regional women's tournament.
The teams in the tournament include: Alpena CC, Delta College, Grand Rapids CC, Henry Ford CC, Kalamazoo CC, Kellogg CC, Lake Michigan College, Mott CC, Muskegon CC, Oakland CC and St. Clair CC - all of Michigan. The Ohio teams include: Clark State CC, Columbus State CC, Cuyahoga CC, Lakeland CC and Owens CC.
"This is a great opportunity for us to be involved with a large tournament," Express Head Coach Jim Welling said. "I think this is one of the largest and best fields ever assembled for Region XII."
Among the Michigan teams attending, Mott CC (21-5) is ranked second in the NJCAA Division H for the nation and Grand Rapids CC is leading the Western Division of the Michigan Community College Athletic Conference. The Owens Express is ranked 12th in the nation and conference regular seasons co-champions.
The Express (21-6) has won the Region XII Tournament for the past four of five years - 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
"We're coming into the regionals with some momentum. We've won our past 10 straight games and we'll be playing on our home floor," Welling said.
The tournament brings players primarily from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, but also from New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Louisiana.
Local Express players in the tournament include: Brett Kuron, a Bowsher High School graduate; Wes Lamb, a Scott High School graduate; Mickey Honas, a Whitmer High School graduate; Kedran Barnhill, a DeVilbiss high School graduate; and Anthony Amison, a Bowsher High School graduate.
The Region XII tournament champions will advance to the Division 11 nationals March 19-22 in Danville, IL. (see list below)
"Over the past 10 years, Region XII has been a dominant representative at nationals," Welling explained. "'Me strength of Region XII has fared well in the national tournament."
|Past NJCAA Region XII Champs||Past NJCAA National Champs|
|1986||Oakland CC, Union Lake, MI||Parkland College, Champaign, IL|
|1987||Oakland CC, Union Lake, MI||Oakland CC, Union Lake, MI|
|1988||Lansing CC, Lansing, MI||Lansing CC, Lansing, MI|
|1989||Delta College, University Center, MI||Delta College, University Center, MI|
|1990||Muskegon CC, Muskegon, MI||Allegheny CC, Pittsburgh, PA|
|1991||Lansing CC, Lansing, MI||Danville Area CC, Danville, IL|
|1992||Owens CC, Toledo, OH||Owens CC, Toledo, OH|
|1993||Owens CC, Toledo, OH||Owens CC, Toledo, OH|
|1994||Owens CC, Toledo, OH||Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL|
|1995||Grand Rapids CC, Grand Rapids, Ml||North Iowa Area CC, Mason City, IA|
|1996||Owens CC, Toledo, OH||Penn Valley CC, Kansas City, MO|
Coach Welling can be reached at 4191661-7229.