KCKCC’s 9-game winning streak stopped at JCCC, 99-91

KCKCC freshman Deron McDaniel soared over Johnson County’s Macaleb Hughes for two of his team-high 22 points while teammate Jalen Davis trailed the play in the Blue Devils’ 99-91 loss Saturday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
A 6-10 sophomore, Lukas Milner (21) scored 33 points in Johnson County’s 99-91 win over KCKCC Saturday but he had no chance to defend on this slam dunk by Jermaine Yarbough, who had 14 second-half points. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s newly crowned Jayhawk Conference Division II champions dug themselves a hole from which they could not escape at No. 20 ranked Johnson County Saturday.

Trailing by 18 points late in the first half, the Blue Devils rallied to within four points in the closing seconds before dropping a 99-91 decision.

The loss snapped a 9-game winning streak for the Blue Devils (8-2), who finished a game ahead of JCCC (7-3) in the final Jayhawk standings. Both teams draw first-round byes in the Region VI playoffs which begin Friday.

The No. 1 seed, KCKCC (16-13) will be the host of the winner of the Labette (16-12) at Fort Scott (18-11) first-round game Tuesday, March 3, while JCCC will play host to the Hesston (13-14) at Highland (19-10) winner. The championship game will be played at the Hutchinson Sports Arena March 6.

With 6-10 sophomore Lukas Milner turning in a career performance, the Cavaliers never trailed in avenging an 82-65 loss to KCKCC two weeks ago. Averaging just over 12 points a game, Milner had not scored more than 19 points this season before pouring in 33 on 14-of-21 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds, six off the offensive boards.

“We had no answer for him and they did a great of feeding him in the post,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “He’s a big presence in the post and we weren’t physical with him.” The Cavaliers had 20 assists on 33 field goals.

Shooting 60.7 percent (17-of-28) in the first half, JCCC led 43-25 with two minutes left and had a 45-30 bulge at halftime before the Blue Devils made repeated runs at comebacks. Four times the Blue Devils cut the deficit to under double digits but each time JCCC turned back the challenges as Milner scored 23 of his 33 points in the second half and the Cavaliers made 16-of-28 shots for 57.1 percent.

Still trailing 91-78 with two minutes left, the Blue Devils got a dunk from Jermaine Yarbough and a 3-pointer from Deron McDaniel to cut the lead to 95-91 with 25 seconds left but the Cavaliers closed out the win with two free throws each by Dale Talley and Nic Slavin, JCCC converted 25-of-42 free throws including 10 straight by JaQuaylon Mays, who had 21 points.

Six of the seven Blue Devils who played extended minutes scored in double figures led by big second-half performances by McDaniel and Yarbough. McDaniel scored 17 of his 22 points including 5-of-10 3-pointers in the second half; Yarbough had 14 points, all in the second half.

Calvin Slaughter added 16 points, Robert Rhodes 12 and Ezekiel Lopes and Jalen Davis 11 each for the Blue Devils, who knocked down 20-of-32 second half shots (.625) and finished at 50 percent for the game. Rhodes had 10 rebounds for KCKCC but the Cavaliers dominated the rebounding 36-23.

“We couldn’t keep them off the glass and I don’t think we guarded as well as we can,” Burgette said. “The deciding factors were free throw block outs and the second chance points we gave up. We have to get better at the little things and compete and fight harder.”

Sophomore Calvin Slaughter elevated between Johnson County’s Braijion Barnes and Isiah Sears (15) to get off a shot in KCKCC’s 99-91 loss Saturday. Slaughter had 15 points. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Blue Devils pound out 22 hits in home opening win

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College opened its home baseball season in rousing fashion Friday, pounding out 22 hits in a 15-1 thumping of Northeast Nebraska.

The two teams meet in a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon but a twin bill previously scheduled for Sunday has been canceled.

The Blue Devils (3-2) scored in every inning against Northeast as seven Blue Devils had at least two hits. Beneficiary of the big attack was sophomore lefthander Orvaldo Mendez (2-0), who gave up just three hits and one run in four innings. He struck out four, walked three.

Leadoff hitter Seth Kenagy set the tone for the assault, rapping out four hits in four trips to the plate. Jose Sosa, Griffin Everitt and Tyler Henry contributed three hits each and Eduardo Acosta, Caleb Adams and Raymond Paniagua two apiece.

Sosa had the lone home run of the day, a 2-run shot in the fifth, while Henry and Palmer Hutchinson doubled for the only other extra base hits. Sosa and Everitt each drove three runs and Kenagy two.

The Blue Devils took a 2-0 lead in the first on a single by Kenagy, Henry’s double and singles by Sosa and Trey Hoover and added four runs in the second on six straight hits – singles by Paniagua, Kenagy, Everitt, Acosta, Henry and Sosa.

Sosa’s 2-run home run highlighted KCKCC’s other big inning, a 5-run fifth that was capped by a 2-run single by Kenagy and an RBI hit by Everitt.

Parker Weddle and Josiah Crowley closed out the win with scoreless mound appearances. Weddle gave up two hits and struck out two in two innings while Crowley gave up one hit in the seventh.

Dramatic shot, comeback clinch first KCKCC men’s Jayhawk Conference title

Blue Devils come from 14 back for first men’s conference championship since 1969

First-year coach Brandon Burgette happily cut down the net following the Blue Devils’ 71-67 win over Highland Wednesday that clinched KCKCC’s first-ever men’s Jayhawk Conference championship. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Happy Blue Devils celebrated their place as the No. 1 team in the Jayhawk Conference for the first time in KCKCC history, following a championship-clinching 71-67 win over Highland Wednesday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Not only will 2020 go down as the year the Kansas City Chiefs ended 50 years without a Super Bowl, it is the year Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men’s basketball team ended 50 years without a conference championship.

Trailing by 14 points with seven minutes remaining, the Blue Devils surged from behind for a dramatic 71-67 win over Highland Wednesday that wrapped up the first Jayhawk Conference championship in the 51-year history of the conference and KCKCC’s first conference championship since the 1968-1969 season, the last year of the old Interstate Conference.

The win, the Blue Devils’ ninth in a row, improved their record to 8-1 and maintained a 2-game lead over second place Johnson County (6-3) heading into the season’s finale between the two arch-rivals in Overland Park Saturday at 4 p.m. The win also assured KCKCC (16-12) of playing host to a Region VI semifinal playoff game Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m.

The biggest goal of Calvin Slaughter’s two-year career at KCKCC provided the dramatics and had an enthusiastic crowd of Blue Devil softball and women’s soccer players on its feet.

In a 66-66 deadlock and time running out on the shot clock, Slaughter momentarily lost control of his dribble only to square up and drill a 3-pointer for a 69-66 lead with 51.7 seconds left.

“Desperation shot,” admitted Slaughter, “I knew it was good when it left my hand.”

“It’s almost March; a one shining moment type of shot,” said KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette of Slaughter’s game-winner. It also made Burgette a championship winner in his first year as head Blue Devil coach.

Highland cut the lead to 69-67 on a free throw but Slaughter and Deron McDaniel sealed the win with free throws after grabbing crucial defensive rebounds and set off a wild mid-court celebration and cutting down of the nets.

The Scotties had built their biggest lead at 62-48 with 7½ minutes left when Slaughter and McDaniel fueled one of the biggest comebacks in KCKCC history, outscoring Highland 18-4 to pull into the 66-66 tie.

Two free throws from Robert Rhodes and a McDaniel layup ignited the rally and Slaughter lit it up with back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit 58-52 and McDaniel took it from there, converting six of seven free throws for a 64-64 deadlock. Rhodes’ follow shot with seconds left kept the Blue Devils even and set up Slaughter for his game-winner.

“We showed ourselves how to win,” Burgette said. “Being down 14, we didn’t mope or quit or give up. We stayed with it and figured out how to win. We got stops and steals that led to layups and free throws. We shot the ball well from the free throw line, obviously Deron was amazing. And Calvin stepped up and made big shots, two to get us going and then the one that put us ahead. That’s what you need is your upperclassmen to step up.”

Slaughter finished with a game-high 22 points, 16 in the second half including four of his five 3-pointers when he was 4-of-5 from the perimeter. McDaniel added 20 points including a clutch 11-of-13 free throws.

“A little nervous,” McDaniel admitted. “I knew we needed them and we’d keep fighting.”

DeAngelo Bell and Rhodes were the only other Blue Devils with more than one field goal, Bell scoring 10 points and Rhodes eight. Rhodes also had eight rebounds as did Jermaine Yarbough in just 16 minutes of playing time.

Three-pointers and free throws were crucial. KCKCC outscored the Scotties by 21 points from 3-point, knocking down 10-of-32 for 31.3 percent to just 3-of-13 for Highland (.231).

The Blue Devils also converted 19-of-27 free throws to 6-of-9 for the Scotties, who shot better from the field (.474-.389) and had more rebounds (36-34) but committed 20 turnovers to 11 for KCKCC.

The son of KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette, 3-year-old Brayden, was lifted into the Blue Devils’ post-game celebration after a 71-67 win over Highland Wednesday that clinched the Jayhawk championship for the first time ever. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)