by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information
Size doesn’t seem to matter, at least to the Kansas City Kansas Community College duo of Aliyah Myers and Tiaria Earnest.
Both guards scored 20 points and terrorized Highland defensively in the Blue Devils’ 80-63 home court win Saturday. It was the second straight game in which both Earnest and Myers have both scored 20 points.
The win boosted the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils’ record to 12-1 heading into a showdown at No. 2 ranked and unbeaten Labette in Parsons Wednesday. Because of COVID, the game will be Labette’s first in Jayhawk Conference play.
A 5-6 guard from Detroit, Earnest also led all rebounders with 11 and had three steals; the 5-7 Myers led in assists and steals with four of each.
Hannah Valentine, who was 5-for-6 from the field, added 15 points and seven rebounds; Aysia Arrowood a career high seven points; Faith Putz six and De’Jaria Guillory four points and six rebounds.
Knocking down 7 of their first 13 shots, the Blue Devils raced to leads of 10-0 and 15-2 in the first five minutes but had to turn back one Highland comeback.
Trailing 24-12 after one quarter, Highland outscored KCKCC 13-1 to start the second period to close to 25-24 and it was still 30-26 before a layup by De’Jaria Guillory and six straight points by Valentine widened the KCKCC lead to 38-26 at the half.
The Scotties never got closer as the Blue Devils stretched their lead to 50-33 in the first five minutes of the third quarter and led by as many as 27.
KCKCC led the rebounding 46-38 and forced 31 turnovers while committing 21.
“Two of our smallest players, Tiaria and DJ (Guillory) combined for 17 rebounds which just shows how much rebounding is a matter of effort,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said.
Earnest’s 20-point effort was her third 20-point game since returning from the injured list seven games back while Myers has been a mainstay both offensively and defensively.
“Both are returners and played significant roles last year so I think that has played into their comfort level and confidence,” McKinstry said. “Hannah Valentine has been better lately. She’s someone I don’t have to call plays for, she’s just active and does it on her own.
“I think this is the fourth time we’ve force 30 or more turnovers and we’ve done it with a man-to-man half-court defense. I’ve said all along this is the fastest and deepest team I’ve ever had. And our guards do a little bit of everything. Highland makes it a little tough because they spread the floor so much.”