Archive for KCKCC

Big second-half rally could be pivotal for Blue Devil men

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

While a big second half rally fell three points short in an 87-84 loss at North Arkansas Community College Wednesday, the comeback could take a pivotal place in Kansas City Kansas Community College’s basketball season.

Guards Dion Union and Sterling Hicks and forward DuVonte Beard combined for 34 points in the second half in a 46-39 Blue Devil rally. The trio was 15 of 23 in the final 20 minutes for 65.2 percent.

The loss evened the Blue Devils’ record at 3-3 heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against Saint Mary junior varsity. The Blue Devils are also home Tuesday against Iowa Western at 7:30 p.m.

“Games like this will pay off in the long run,” KCKCC coach Kelley Newton said. “We are so close to turning the corner. We have a young team and have to grow up soon but I’m proud that our guys don’t quit.”

Union led all scorers with 20 points, 12 in the second half; Beard had 13 of his 16 points in the final period and Hicks 9 of his 15. The Blue Devils would not have been in contention the second half, however, had it not been for Josiah Laws, a 6-5 sophomore forward who had 14 points in the first half. Union also had a half-dozen assists while Beard had five rebounds and Zion Buckner, Malcolm Tate and Ro Ratliff four each.

North Ark built a 48-38 halftime on 60 percent shooting (15-of-25) to just 13-of-32 for KCKCC (.375). The Pioneers also had a 21-17 edge on the boards the opening half.


KCKCC women’s streak ends as North Ark sweeps two 3-point wins

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s women’s unbeaten winning streak came to an end Wednesday night, but not without a whale of a fight.

Unbeaten North Arkansas held off a late Lady Blue Devil rally for a 78-75 win in Harrison, Ark., The loss was the first in seven starts for KCKCC while the Lady Pioneers won their fourth in a row. North Ark’s men also held on for a 3-point decision, running their record to 5-1 with an 87-84 win after leading by 10 at halftime.

Both Blue Devil teams are right back in action Friday – the women as hosts of Park University’s junior varsity at 5 p.m. and the men entertaining Saint Mary University’s junior varsity at 7 p.m. The Lady Blue Devils are also at Penn Valley Saturday at 4 p.m.

Trailing by as many as 10 points in the last quarter, the Lady Blue Devils got back-to-back 3-point goals from freshman Tyrionne (Tee) Martin, the second with 22 seconds left, and had a game-tying 3-point shot that missed.

“We weren’t very good from start to finish,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “We battled hard to stay in the game and give ourselves a chance but the bottom line is we beat ourselves tonight.”

Kisi Young led KCKCC with 21 points. Caroline Hoppock was the only other Blue Devil in double figures with 12 points while Lizzie Stark and Nija Collier added eight each and Martin, Myra Ford, Lizzie Stark and Ashley Daniels six each. Hannah Villines, a 5-9 sophomore guard, led North Ark with 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

The Blue Devil men trailed 48-38 at halftime of the nightcap before building an 8-point lead in the second half only to drop an 87-84 decision. Kamari Balton, a 6-2 freshman guard, had 30 points and seven assists and 6-7 sophomore Josh Breathitt 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead North Ark.

“We are so close to turning the corner,” KCKCC coach Kelley Newton said. “We have a young team and have to grow up soon. I am proud that our guys don’t quit. Games like this will pay off in the long run.”


KCKCC played one of nation’s toughest volleyball slates

Four sophomores who made major contributions to the KCKCC volleyball program the last two years were honored at this year’s Sophomore Night. They are, from left, Erin Reilly, Morgan Schwarz, Alissia Nevarez and Katie Heeter. (KCKCC photo by Blair Russell)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

For a look back at Kansas City Kansas Community College’s volleyball season, one needs to go no further than the final match for a microcosm of the 2017 season.

The No. 7 seed in the NJCAA regional playoffs, the Blue Devils had to play at No. 2 Highland. Beaten 25-15, 25-22 in the first two sets, the underdog Lady Blue Devils roared back for 25-23, 25-18 wins only to drop a 15-13 heartbreaker in the final.

Playing in arguably the toughest Division II conference in the country with one of the youngest teams, the Lady Blue Devils finished the season 13-15.

“At one point this season, seven teams in our conference were ranked in the Top 20 including our two national qualifiers, No. 4 Coffeyville and No. 8 Cowley,” KCKCC coach Mary Bruno said. “Every one of our 15 losses were to teams ranked in the Top 20 when we played them and we took several of them to multiple sets.”

The good news is that eight Blue Devils will return next year although a lot of leadership will be lost by the departure of four sophomores – outside hitter Katie Heeter of Shawnee Mission South, who was named to the All-District second team; middle blockers Alissia Nevarez of Turner and Morgan Schwarz of Burlington, Texas, and Erin Reilly of Belton.

“Our sophomores were great leaders and a great contributing factor to our success,” Bruno said.

Randi Johnson, Brittney Winter and Kelsey Rankin head the list of returnees. A 6-0 middle blocker from Lee’s Summit, Johnson was named the All-District first team and All-Jayhawk second team. In the final match against Highland, Johnson had 23 kills and only five errors while Heeter and Winter each had 14 kills.

Johnson led in kills for the season with Heeter second and Winter third while Rankin finished fourth in assists per set in the conference despite the Blue Devils running a six-two format instead of a five-one. The Blue Devils also return both Liberos, Kelli Sleefe and Jaylie Thornton along with 6-3 Lauren Leavendusky and 5-10 Amanda Dickie on the right side and 5-8 setter Paige Dresslaer.

“Leavendusky did not get a lot of playing time but we’re looking forward to what our workouts in the spring will do,” Bruno said. “The same can be said for Amanda Dickie and Paige Dresslaer who worked very hard in the fall and will work very hard in the spring. We’ll also have Yvette Tamez from Texas, a sophomore who redshirted this season because of a knee injury. We’re excited to having her back.”

Bruno is still awaiting next year’s schedule but one thing is for certain, she will not shy away from tough competition (this year’s schedule included the No. 2, 4, 5 and 7 ranked teams).

“I was proud of the way our team battled this,” Bruno said. “We played a bunch of tough opponents and never backed off from tough competition. We know to compete with the caliber of the teams we have to play in our conference that we have to play quality teams outside the conference.”