KCKCC

Hiago Gaspar (KCKCC photo)
Hiago Gaspar (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College has its first soccer All-American with the naming of Hiago Gaspar to the NJCAA second team.

A freshman forward from San Paulo, Brazil, Hiago led the Jayhawk Conference with a Blue Devil record 17 goals and was second in assists in the conference with 11. He was named to both the All-Jayhawk and All-Region VI first teams.

Led by Gaspar and six other all-conference honorees, the Blue Devils compiled one of their best records in history – 10 wins, 4 losses and a second place finish in the Jayhawk.

“A natural talent, a natural scorer,” KCKCC head coach Ruben Rodriguez said of Gaspar. “He’s usually in the right place a lot and you can’t teach that. He’s also very technical, very good on and off the ball with a high soccer IQ.”

Assistant coach Burke Slusher agreed.

“Great speed, probably in the 4.4 range and very calm under pressure. Good in the air and reads the game very well,” Slusher said.

Rodriguez has been equally impressed by Gaspar’s progress academically. When he arrived at KCKCC this past summer, he knew no English. Now he speaks it well enough to graduate from ESOL classes into regular classroom curriculums.

Gaspar’s talents have not gone unnoticed.

“I’ve already been contacted by some Division I schools and all the local NAIA schools,” Rodriguez said. “His desire is to play at the next level, either in Division I or professionally. This has been our best year so far and we expect better next year. We have a bright future.”

Joining Gaspar on the All-Jayhawk first team were defend Ricardo Angelo and midfielder Guilherme Grave, both of Sao Paulo; while second team selections included sophomore forward Thiago Elias, also of Sao Paulo; sophomore midfielders Giovanni Calderon of Harmon and Tanner Helms of Ashland, Mo.; and sophomore defender Jake Salmons, also of Ashland, Mo.

Mike Lee’s dramatic game-tying 50-foot shot was in the air with 0.4 seconds left before it settled in the nets to force overtime in KCKCC’s 80-78 loss to Iowa Western Tuesday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Mike Lee’s dramatic game-tying 50-foot shot was in the air with 0.4 seconds left before it settled in the nets to force overtime in KCKCC’s 80-78 loss to Iowa Western Tuesday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Kellen Turner, whose dramatic 3-point goal nearly forced a second overtime, didn’t get a basket with this acrobatic move  but it did give the KCKCC guard two crucial free throws in the Blue Devils’ 80-78 loss to Iowa Western Tuesday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Kellen Turner, whose dramatic 3-point goal nearly forced a second overtime, didn’t get a basket with this acrobatic move but it did give the KCKCC guard two crucial free throws in the Blue Devils’ 80-78 loss to Iowa Western Tuesday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College packed enough drama into its game with heavily favored Iowa Western to last for a full season Tuesday night.

Trailing 70-67, the Blue Devils got a desperation 50-foot ‘Hail Mary’ 3-pointer from mid-court from Mike Lee Jr. to force overtime and then got another game-tying 3-pointer from Kellen Turner in the closing seconds of overtime before Iowa Western escaped with an 80-78 win.

“That was one heckuva college basketball game,” said Iowa Western coach Michael Johnette, whose Reivers had beaten KCKCC by 31 points (92-81) in an earlier meeting in Council Bluffs. A perennial NJCAA Division I power, Iowa Western marked its 10th win in 12 starts.

KCKCC trailed 67-62 with less than 30 seconds left in regulation but got a rebound basket from Daniel Kingcannon and a layup from Turner with six seconds to go and then Lee got the opening he needed when Iowa Western’s Jeremiah Jefferson missed the second of two free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining. His game-tying 50-footer settled in the net as time expired.

Iowa Western twice led by as many as four points in overtime but a 3-pointer by Lane Hartley and a layup by Donald Metoyer closed the gap to 78-75 and this time it was Turner who tied it with a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to go. But the gutsy Blue Devil effort came up short when Donovan Walker was fouled on a drive to the basket. His two free throws with 2.8 seconds left won it even though Lee did get up another desperation try at the horn. Iowa Western had just two overtime goals but made six of eight free throws.

“An outstanding effort, I can’t say enough,” said KCKCC coach Kelley Newton. “I just hope this carries over into the rest of the season.” The Blue Devils close out pre-holiday play Saturday afternoon against Iowa Lakes in Estherville.

The Blue Devils got off to a spectacular start, surging to a 24-6 lead midway through the first half behind 66.7 percent shooting (10-of-15). Jon Murray and Lee led the way with 10 points each and Turner added nine to keep KCKCC in front 33-27 at the half.

Iowa Western finally pulled even 37-37 four minutes into the second half and from there on it was a furious give-and-take battle with a half-dozen ties. Iowa Western’s biggest lead was 53-48 but two goals by Murray and a 3-pointer by Kingcannon evened it a 55-55 and set up the big finish capped by Lee’s spectacular tying shot that brought everyone off the KCKCC bench.

The game was highlighted by one of the best rebounding performances in KCKCC history, a 22-rebound performance by Jon Murray that was fourth best ever, trailing only Bobby Harris (28) and Dennis Tinnon (23 twice). Murray also led the Blue Devils in scoring with 19 points before fouling out late in the overtime. It was his 10th double double of the season.

Lee also had a double double with a career high 10 assists, 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals awhile Turner had 19 points including 5-of-7 3-pointers and four steals. Led by Murray, KCKCC had a 47-38 command on the rebounding but committed 18 turnovers including two in overtime.

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

The Catholic Students of Kansas City Kansas Community College is planning a celebration of Mass on Dec. 7 and is inviting all students, staff and faculty to attend.

The Mass will be said by Monsignor Michael Mullen, Parish Priest at St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kan. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Upper Jewell. Light refreshments will be served after the Mass. In addition, a Christmas gift will be presented to the family of KCK Police Detective Brad Lancaster, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year.

The purpose of Catholic Students of KCKCC is to help all Catholic students have a place to connect, share their faith and discuss issues related to the Catholicism. And while the group is designed for Catholics, the group welcomes individuals from all religions, including the non-religious and irreligious, to come and learn about the Catholic faith. Everyone is welcome.

For more information on the Catholic Students of Kansas City Kansas Community College, contact the faculty adviser, Victor Ammons, at 913-288-7233 or vjammons@kckcc.edu. Information is also available on the group’s Facebook page, “Catholic Students of KCKCC.”

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at KCKCC.