MCPHERSON — Ottawa finished off a record-breaking regular season with a hard-fought 76-74 victory Saturday over McPherson in McPherson.
The win gave the Braves (25-5, 19-5) the outright KCAC regular-season championship and an automatic berth in the NAIA Div. II National Tournament. The 25 victories is the most in program history for a single-season and the 19 KCAC wins is a program best. The No. 6 ranking in the latest NAIA Div. II coaches poll is the highest in program history.
The Braves open the KCAC Postseason Tournament 7 p.m. Thursday in Wilson Field House against eighth-seeded Avila (15-15). The semifinals are set for 7 p.m. Saturday with the championship game on Monday in Park City.
The Braves secured the outright title as Ryan Haskins stole the ball in the waning seconds of the game. Ottawa led 76-70 late in the game when the Bulldogs made a late push and had the ball for a chance to tie or win the game with a three.
Ottawa led 35-28 at halftime. The second half went back-and-forth until the end.
Darryl Bowie came off the bench to score 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Jaquan Daniels finished with 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. Mason McDow led Ottawa with four assists.
The Lady Braves nearly completed a furious fourth-quarter rally but came up short. McPherson held on for a 69-68 victory in the final game of the season for both teams.
McPherson led by 17 points heading into the final 10 minutes. Ottawa outscored McPherson 20-4 in the quarter and missed a shot at the buzzer to win it. Ottawa dug a 20-0 hole in the first quarter.
Senior Katlyn Hughes paced Ottawa with 15 points in her final game. Liz Vaughn and Mariah Grizzle finished with 12 points apiece. Madi McAvoy scored 10 points.
Ottawa finished at 8-19.