by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
At 5-foot-4 the shortest player on Kansas City Kansas Community College’s women’s basketball team, Gena Ojeda stood tallest in the Lady Blue Devils 75-47 win at Fort Scott Wednesday night.
A torrid 5-for-7 from 3-point, Ojeda scored a career high 17 points to help the Blue Devils run their record to 18-5 and 2-1 in Region VI play.
The win sets up KCKCC’s toughest test of the season Saturday when the Blue Devils host No. 3 ranked and Jayhawk Conference leader Highland at 2 p.m. Unbeaten in 23 games, the Lady Scotties defeated Hesston 102-51 Wednesday after demolishing No. 4 Johnson County 108-65 last Saturday.
A freshman guard from Shawnee Mission Northwest, Ojeda shared game-scoring honors with Lillie Moore, who got the Blue Devils off and running by scoring the game’s first 11 points. Averaging 3.2 points this season, Ojeda became the first Blue Devil outside of Moore, Kisi Young and Nija Collier to lead the scoring.
“Gena Ojeda gave us a fantastic effort off the bench,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “Fort Scott switched to a zone defense and we struggled to make shots from the perimeter but Gena came in and picked up right where she left on Saturday (12 points). Gena is starting to get more comfortable and it is showing. I’m extremely happy for her as she has had a long recovery from ankle surgery over the summer and she has worked hard to get herself back to the player she’s capable of being.
“Lillie Moore gave us great energy to start the game by scoring our first 11 points. She’s as talented as they come and when she’s locked in, she can do just about anything.”
Five Blue Devils scored in double figures. In addition to the 17-point efforts by Ojeda and Moore, Young scored 15, Collier 11 and Ashley Daniels 10.
Moore, Collier and guard Caitlyn Stewart had seven rebounds each as KCKCC dominated the boards 46-29. Stewart led in assists with five while Collier had four assists and blocked three shots.
KCKCC burst to a 20-12 first quarter lead and Fort Scott never got closer than nine points as a late second quarter surge pushed the Blue Devils to a 40-25 halftime bulge.
The Blue Devils took just 54 shots, converting 26 for a crisp 48.1 percent while holding Fort Scott to 16-of-53 for 30.2 percent. KCKCC was also guilty of only 13 turnovers while forcing 17 Fort Scott errors.
“This is a great road victory for us against a very hard-playing and well-coached Fort Scott team,” McKinstry said. “I thought our defensive effort as a group was outstanding all night long. Defense and rebounding were two areas of focus for us so I was pleased with what we did in those areas.”
The win pulled KCKCC into a tie with Johnson County for second behind unbeaten Highland in the Region VI standings. JCCC edged Labette 50-47 in Wednesday’s other action.