by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Extensive Kansas City area recruiting has paid big dividends for the Kansas City Kansas Community College women’s basketball program.
Eight of the 12 recruits who have signed with the Lady Blue Devils are from the immediate Kansas City area – five from Kansas including three from Wyandotte County and three from Missouri. Only one player, guard Alix Wilson, returns from this past season’s 19-13 team.
“Anytime we weren’t playing, my assistant, Chamissa Anderson, and I were watching high school games in the area,, often times multiple games in one night,” said head coach Joe McKinstry. “I think there’s a ton of talent in the Kansas City area. Our objective was to get the best players we could get in the area and try to build a reputation that local kids can come here, be successful and get the experience they are seeking.”
Several of the recruits enjoyed state tournament experience this past season including all three from Wyandotte County – Kiara Brown and Ashley Daniels of Schlagle and Miya Ford of Piper. Others include Caroline Hoppock of Olathe East, Caitlyn Stewart of Wichita Maize, Randi Johnson of Lee’s Summit and Tyrionne Martin of Helen Cox High School in Louisiana.
They are joined by Gena Ojeda of Shawnee Mission Northwest; Missouri recruits Camryn Swanson of Blue Springs, Lizzie Stark of Liberty North and Randi Johnson of Lee’s Summit; Nija Collier of Roseville, Mich.; and Lillie Moore of Magnolia, Ark.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of unknowns about this group and inexperience will be our biggest question mark but what excites me is that we’ll be starting from the ground up and over the span of two years, will make a lot of progress from the first day they stepped on campus,” McKinstry said. “I think we’ll have a lot more size (three in the 6-foot range) and depth than the last two years. I like players who can do a lot of different things on the court and the versatility of this group will pay off, especially ni year two.” The new signees:
Kiara Brown, 5-9 guard-forward, Schlagle – Three-year captain and four-time KCAL All-Conference team. Honorable mention all-state, Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle. Selected to play in GKCBCA and ShuKC All-Star games. In her career, she had 982 points, 520 rebounds, 256 assists and 353 steals.
Ashley Daniels, 5-6 guard, Schlagle – Played on Schlagle’s state tournament teams as both a junior and senior. First team All-Kansas City Atchison League as a junior and honorable mention as a senior, Played in ShuKC All-Star game as senior.
Miya Ford, 5-8 guard, Piper – Member of state tournament teams as sophomore and senior and four straight Kaw Valley Conference championship teams. Honorable mention All-Kaw Valley and ShuKC All-Star game participant as senior.
Caroline Hoppock, 5-10 forward, Olathe East – Played on state tournament teams both as a junior and senior. Honorable mention All-Sunflower League both seasons.
Gina Ojeda, 5-4 guard, Shawnee Mission Northwest – Earned honorable mention on the All-Sunflower League team as a senior.
Caitlyn Stewart, 5-5 point guard, Wichita Maize – Helped lead Maize to second in state tournament. KCBA All-State honorable mention and second team all-conference.
Camryn Swanson, 5-8 guard, Blue Springs – Blue Springs Offensive Player of the Year and All-District as a senior. Honorable mention All-Suburban Gold Conference as junior and senior. Student-Athlete Leadership Award recipient.
Lizzie Stark, 5-11 forward, Liberty North – All-District and honorable mention All-Suburban White Conference as a senior.
Randi Johnson, 6-0 forward, Lee’s Summit – Starter on Missouri Class 5 state runnerup team. A four-year varsity letter winner; honorable mention All-Suburban Gold Conference as a senior.
Tyrionne Martin, 5-4 guard, Helen Cox, Louisiana – Jefferson Parish Outstanding Athlete Award and VMann All-Star most valuable player as a senior. Member of state tournament Final Four team as freshman and honorable mention all-conference as sophomore and junior.
Nija Collier, 5-11 forward, Roseville, Mich. – MVP and Player of the Year in the Mac Gold Division after averaging 20.7 points and 17 rebounds as a junior with highs of 46 points and 30 rebounds. Missed part of senior season with injury but still MVP of Division, first team All-Defense while averaging 16.7 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists and steals.
Lillie Moore, 6-1 forward, Magnolia, Ark. – Highly decorated track, basketball and volleyball athlete at Magnolia. Three-time all-conference and all-state in basketball as a junior. Averaged 13.8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks as a senior. Also all-conference and all-state in volleyball and 4-year letter winner in track earning all-state recognition in discus and all-conference honors in shot put and discus.