KCKCC

A 28-4 record – the second most wins in KCKCC history – is the legacy left by a Lady Blue Devil sophomore class of, front row, from left, Rashaun Casey, Cierra Gaines, Eirenei Alesana and Cassidy Harbert; standing, Janai Mitchell, Erin Andrews, Alyson Weber, Iland Shurn and Julia Garrard. The 28 wins came on the heels of 24 wins as freshmen. (KCKCC photo by Mark Greathouse)
A 28-4 record – the second most wins in KCKCC history – is the legacy left by a Lady Blue Devil sophomore class of, front row, from left, Rashaun Casey, Cierra Gaines, Eirenei Alesana and Cassidy Harbert; standing, Janai Mitchell, Erin Andrews, Alyson Weber, Iland Shurn and Julia Garrard. The 28 wins came on the heels of 24 wins as freshmen. (KCKCC photo by Mark Greathouse)

Lady Blue Devils defeated No. 1 basketball team while finishing with second most wins in 28-4 season

by Alan Hoskins

It was a very special season for Kansas City Kansas Community College women’s basketball in 2014-2015 – in many ways.

For the first time in history, the Lady Blue Devils defeated a team ranked No. 1 in the nation and on the No. 1 team’s home court. A 73-64 winner at Johnson County, it was one of only two losses (and most decisive) for the Lady Cavaliers, who would go on to win the NJCAA Division II national championship.

The Blue Devils also defeated Highland, the runnerup in last year’s national tournament, three times including a dramatic come-from-behind 54-53 win at Highland. Trailing 28-14 at the half, the Blue Devils won it on a pair of clutch free throws by Cassidy Harbert with two seconds remaining.

Cowley was routed 76-56 for the first time in Valerie Stambersky’s 16 years as head coach and the Blue Devils twice ran off nine-game winning streaks.

The 28 wins in a 28-4 season are the second most in KCKCC history. Only the 1996-97 team which finished fifth in the nation in Division I with a 35-2 record won more games. Of the four losses, all came to teams in national tournaments – Hutchinson (36-1), which finished second in Division I; Coffeyville (26-10), the Jayhawk East champion; and JCCC (34-2) twice. The second JCCC came in the Region VI championship game. Leading by just two points at the half, JCCC pulled away down the stretch for a 70-51 win and a berth in the national tournament.

The Blue Devils shared the regular season Division II championship with Johnson County with 11-1 records and finished in a tie for second with the Cavaliers (11-2) in the Jayhawk East behind Coffeyville (12-1),

But it was more than wins and losses that made the season very special for Stambersky.

“This team had a lot of talent but numerous teams have a lot of talent but they don’t play together as well as this group did,” Stambersky said. “The way this team bought into the program was something I really hadn’t had and made it a special group.”

The foundation, Stambersky said, was laid by returning freshmen from a 2013-14 team that had finished 24-8. Four starters returned from that team, Cassidy Harbert, Janai Mitchell, Rashaun Casey and Julia Garrard and reserves Iland Shurn, Eirenei Alesana and Alyson Weber were joined at the start of the 2014 spring semester by two transfers, Cierra Gaines and Erin Anderson.

“Cierra and Erin came in the spring knowing they were not going to play,” Stambersky said. “We’ve had others come in and just go through the motions but Erin and Cierra came in and helped us get better by pushing everyone to be better.”

Gaines and Anderson joined Harbert, Mitchell and freshman Cheyenne North in the starting lineup this season but the talent was so deep that Stambersky was never hesitant about putting a second unit of Garrard, Casey, Shurn, and freshmen Sierra Roberts and Aricca Day on the floor. The result was six players averaging seven or more points a game and three more with more than five points a contest.

The highest scoring team in KCKCC history, the Blue Devils averaged 81.9 points a game, outscoring opponents an average of 26.0 points per contest. They also out-rebounded foes 47.8-36.8 per game and held opponents to just 34.1 percent from the field while averaging 42.6 percent.

Gaines led the scoring with a 14.1-point average and earned second team All-Jayhawk honors while North, a 5-11 freshman from Gallatin, Tenn., was a first team selection after averaging 11.5 points and leading in rebounding at 7.9 per game. Harbert, who led in assists (5.1) on the way to becoming KCKCC’s all-time career assist leader, earned honorable mention. Second in rebounding with 5.2 per game, Harbert was also fourth in scoring at 8.1.

Graduation losses will be heavy. In addition to Gaines and Harbert, the Blue Devils will be losing Mitchell, who was third in scoring (8.4) and rebounding (4.9); Anderson, the leader in steals (3.0) and second in assists (2.4) while averaging 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds; Casey, who averaged 6.1 points and 2.3 rebounds; Shurn, 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds; Garrard, a standout defender who averaged 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds; and Alesana, 2.0 points and 1.9 rebounds.

North heads the returnees along with Sierra Roberts, a 5-7 guard from SM South who was second in three-point goals behind Gaines while averaging 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds; Arrica Daye, a 5-4 guard from Des Moines East who averaged 5.0 points and 2.2 assists; and Janay Jacobs, a 5-10 guard from Wichita Kapaun who average 2.4 points.

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

by Kelly Rogge
Kansas City Kansas Community College will bring an ethnic flair to Wyandotte County next month with the 10th annual Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival: A Human Family Reunion.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at the KCKCC Athletic Field House, 7250 State Ave. The event is free and open to the public. There is also no charge for parking. Tax deductible donations will be accepted at the door.

“The goal of the festival is to bring people together to enjoy different types of music, dance, foods and to educate each other about different ethnicities and cultures,” said Curtis Smith, professor of biological sciences at KCKCC and co-organizer of the WyCo Ethnic Festival. “The festival is like a trip around the world with no cost. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the pure joy of being human without the trappings of politics or economics for one day.”

More than 45 countries, ethnicities and organizations affiliated with Wyandotte County will be represented at the festival. In addition, two individuals will be recognized with the “Legends of Diversity” award – Kamiasha Tyner and Janith English.

Smith said the goal of the festival, which was started by former KCKCC Trustee Karen Hernandez and the former director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, Professor Melanie Scott, is to celebrate Wyandotte County’s greatest asset – its diversity and all the unique culture of people who live, work or attend schools in the county.

Back again as the master of ceremonies is Clarence Small. Shawn Derritt, director of the Student Advising Center at KCKCC and his wife Gloria, will kick off the event with “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by a rousing spiritual version of “America the Beautiful.”

New to the festival this year is Kolograde, a musical combo performing music from the Balkans; a Colombian dance group, Sabor a Peru Dancers and a Latin Jazz Combo in tribute to Cuba. Notable returnees are Danny Hinds and Ayotunde, who will provide Caribbean music; the Harvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra; Nartan Dancers from India; the ever-popular West of Marrkesh Dancers; Los Bailadores Mexican Dancers; local rap artist Roger Suggs; Tikvah Israeli Folk Dancers; the Santa Monica Inspirational Choir and a South Korean TaeKown Do demonstration.

In the food court area there will be six different vendors with traditional ethnic food ranging from “soul food,” Indian and Mexican to Peruvian and Columbian foods. In addition, free water and mint tea will be available. Caffeinated drinks can be purchased from the pop machine. Popcorn will be sold outside by “Combat Corn.” Proceeds go to support veterans.

Educational presentations will be made by the Wyandot Nation of Kansas, the Quindaro Museum of History, the Wyandotte Historical Journal of Wyandotte County and Chinese Qugong and Tai Chi. In addition, there will be an outdoor Creative Children’s Tent supervised by the director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, Barbara-Clark Evans.

“The festival would not be possible without the generous support of the community college and community sponsors,” Smith said. “Their support makes everything possible and the committee extends its heartfelt appreciation.”

College sponsors include the KCKCC Endowment Association, Enrollment Management Division, Athletics, Buildings and Grounds, Music Department, Sound Engineering, Campus Police and the Intercultural Center. Community sponsors are the Unified Government Human Relations Commission and Community Development Department; the Board of Public Utilities; Wyandotte Daily News; Dos Mundos Publications; Google Fiber, Gene Hernandez and Imagine Magic Productions and co-founder of the festival, Melanie Scott.

“It is an annual celebration that promotes cultural awareness and inclusion in WyCo,” Smith said. “We especially highlight our greatest strength, which is our diversity while at the same time celebrating our common humanity.”

For more information about performance times, the list of ethnic groups or organizational participants, visit www.freewebs.com/wycoethnicfestival/.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor for Kansas City Kansas Community College.

KCKCC’s two returning All-Jayhawk Conference players will continue their softball careers at four-year universities this fall – pitcher Leslie Ford, left, at Indiana-Purdue Calumet and centerfielder Justice Scales at Park University. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
KCKCC’s two returning All-Jayhawk Conference players will continue their softball careers at four-year universities this fall – pitcher Leslie Ford, left, at Indiana-Purdue Calumet and centerfielder Justice Scales at Park University. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Outfielder Justice Scales to Park University; pitcher Leslie Ford to Indiana-Purdue Calumet

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s two returning All-Jayhawk Conference softball selections can concentrate fully on the 2015 season.

Both are signed to continue their softball careers, outfielder Justice Scales at Park University and pitcher Leslie Ford at Indiana-Purdue Calumet in Hammond, Ind.

A graduate of Garden City High School, Ford was the ace of the pitching staff of last spring’s 32-15 team, compiling a 22-8 record with a 1.91 ERA, while Scales was second in hitting with a .491 average. A graduate of Shawnee Mission South, Scales led in extra base hits (29), was third in RBI (41) and played errorless in anchoring the outfield in centerfield.

Scales chose Park over Ottawa University and Indiana Wesleyan.

“They saw me at the Sophomore Showcase at Butler County last October,” said Scales, who is expected to step right into the Park starting lineup. “They told me they don’t take transfers if they aren’t going to play.”

Scales said coming to KCKCC was a last minute decision.

“I was going to go to Kansas State and not play softball but then coach (Kacy) Tillery talked to me and I decided to continue my softball career at KCKCC. A good decision,” Scales said.

Ford chose Indiana-Purdue Calumet more for the college’s computer engineering program.

“I emailed every good engineering school and then looked at both their engineering and softball programs because I definitely wanted to continue playing,” Ford said. “Then I visited there and it was just perfect.”

Ford, who had eight shutouts and three no-hitters as a freshman, is expected to step right into the starting rotation after finishing fourth in the nation in innings pitched. Indiana-Purdue Calumet will be in just its third season of softball and boasts a new all-turf field.

Although Garden City is nearly 400 miles across Kansas, Ford said she needed only one visit to decide on KCKCC. “I fell in love with coach Tillery and the program. It’s definitely been a good learning and growing experience.”

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

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