College of the Ozarks men's and women's basketball teams were well represented when the Association of Independent Institutions held their annual awards banquet on Thursday evening.
Lady Bobcat senior guard Kelsie Cleeton and Bobcat senior forward Ethan Davidson were each named as A.I.I. Players of the Year for 2018-2019.
Cleeton has had a spectacular career for the Bobcats. In her senior season, she averaged double-double statistical performances with 13.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She recorded the Bobcats’ first quadruple double in a game against Lincoln Christian University (Ill.) on Feb. 16 – a showing that earned her the week’s NAIA Division II National Player of the Week award. Cleeton made 49.3 percent of her field goal shots this season. Hailing from Springfield, Mo., Cleeton has been named the A.I.I. Player of the Year for both the 2018-19 and 2017-18 seasons. She also collected the Defensive Player of the Year award for her third straight season.
Davidson, who has been a key four-year contributor for the Bobcats, was the A.I.I.’s leading scorer this season, tallying 25.2 points per game. The forward from Hollister, Mo. also led the Bobcats in rebounding (8.6 per contest), while making 57.6 percent of his field goals and 48.3 percent of his three-pointers (42 of 87). Davidson shares the top award with Indiana University Northwest guard Chris Dixon-Williams.
Cassidy Johnson (West Plains, Mo.), the Lady Cats’ leading scorer with an average of 19.2 points per game and ranking No. 1 in NAIA DII for 3-Point Field Goals Made per Game (3.793), was named First Team All-Conference and received the Champions of Character Award. Sophomore Abby Oliver (Strafford, Mo.) was named 2nd Team All- Conference. She contributed 12.1 points per game for the Lady Cats. Senior Madisen Brethower (Preston, Mo.) was named Honorable Mention, putting up 9.6 points per game. Oliver and Brethower have been significant contributors at both ends of the court.
Bobcat junior guard Brandt Cochran (Lawrenceville, Ill.) was named A.I.I. First Team All-Conference. Cochran averaged 21.3 points for the Bobcats this season, netting 117 three-pointers (52.4%), and has recorded a team-leading 127 assists and 47 steals on the season. Senior guard Heath Carmichael (Ozark, Mo.) was named Honorable Mention All-Conference and received the Champions of Character Award. Carmichael has drained a team-leading 120 three-point shots, scoring 15.8 points per game in the regular season.
College of the Ozarks’ Becky Mullis, head women’s basketball coach, was selected as the 2018-19 A.I.I. Coach of the Year after leading the Bobcats to a 26-3 record and a No. 5 national ranking in the NAIA Division II poll.
The 2019 A.I.I. championship tournament begins Friday, Feb. 22, with four quarterfinal games and continues with semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23, and the third place and final games on Sunday, Feb. 24. All women’s games will take place at Lincoln Christian University (Ill.), and the men’s games will take place at Lincoln College (Ill.). The two teams competing in the championship game and winner of the third-place contest will receive the A.I.I.’s automatic bids to the women’s/men’s NAIA Division II national tournament.