DENMARK -- The Voorhees College Tigers and Lady Tigers will be heading to Lincoln College in hopes of capturing the 2019 Association of Independent Institutions’ (A.I.I.) Men and Women’s Basketball Championship to be played Feb. 22-24 in Lincoln, Ill.
The Tigers, 19-5, are the No. 3 seed, while the Lady Tigers are the No. 6 seed and are 15-12 on the season.
Derrick Mitchell, head men’s basketball coach, said he and his team are always humbled to qualify for the conference tournament.
“I teach my players to embrace each moment on the court like it is their last. We have worked tirelessly, and we will not stop now,” Mitchell said.
Denzel Famble, a senior forward and Savannah, Ga. native, will be competing in his third championship.
“As a senior it would be a blessing to bring the trophy home,” Famble said.
“Every team goes through difficulties and victories, but the downs are what make us stronger as a team. We are undefeated at home, with a 14-0 record, so we are going to take that same mentality to Illinois.”
Senior guard Javari Albergottie of Beaufort, said he is looking forward to sharing this last team-bonding experience on the road.
“God has made this opportunity happen, and we are going to Illinois to be a force to be reckoned with,” Albergottie said. “Our overall goal is to make it to nationals so our team must be focused during the conference championship.”
Edward Glover, head women’s basketball coach, said it is a blessing to be in the field because the conference consists of more than 15 colleges and universities and only the top eight qualify for the tournament.
“Each of our teams has a chance to be one of the three qualifiers from the conference to get a bid to the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NAIA) National Tournament,” Glover said.
Nijah Davis, a senior forward and Sumter native, said this is her last time going to the conference tournament, so she wants every team effort to count toward making it to nationals.
“We know team preparation and staying a step ahead of the competition will help us win another championship,” Davis said. “
Ca’Washa Ceasar, a junior guard and Sumter native, said hard work and focusing on the game have allowed the team to prevail.
“The Lady Tigers have had success against the competition in the recent run of defeating teams down the stretch,” Ceasar said. “As a team, we will apply everything we have worked on all season.”
Charlene Johnson, vice president for the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said this is a proud accomplishment for Tiger basketball.
“Both of our teams are headed to the conference representing Voorhees College in a positive, yet competitive light. This is something our fans have been waiting for and now the event has arrived,” Johnson said.