Neosho 7-footer too much for Blue Devils in second half

by Alan Hoskins
As hard as they tried, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Blue Devils could not bring down Goliath Saturday.

With 7-foot budding superstar Joseph Acuil either swatting away or intimidating just about every Blue Devil inside shot, Neosho County pulled away in the second half for an 82-58 win.

The good thing, however, is the loss doesn’t count against KCKCC in the Jayhawk standings. Because of the use of an ineligible player, the Panthers are banned from post-season play and their games do not count in conference play.

“That’s very unfortunate,” said KCKCC coach Kelley Newton. “Neosho is good, really good, probably the best in the conference. It’s too bad they’re not going to get to show how good they are in the post-season.” Officially, the Panthers are 13-9 but in actuality, they’ve only lost twice.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, who has committed to Baylor, Acuil got in early foul trouble and played just eight minutes in the first half, scoring only two points and grabbing no rebounds. As a result the Blue Devils led by as much as 20-14 midway through the first half before trailing 37-31 at the break.

But the Blue Devils had no answer for Acuil in the second half. That the 7-0 Acuil should throw down three thunderous dunks and block four or five shots and alter countless others should not come as a surprise but the fact he was able to go outside and drain 3-of-5 three-pointers was testimony to the fact he may be the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year next season.

KCKCC was still within five points at 47-42 with 11 minutes left when Acuil hit a 3-pointer and a layup, then added another trey and two more baskets for a 64-48 lead. He would finish with 20 points on 8-of-12 shots and seven rebounds to go along with 10 rebounds from 6-7 Greg Wimberly and 21 points from guard Brett Frantz.

Equally important, the Blue Devils were intimidated into their worst shooting performance of the season, just 27.3 percent on 18-of-66 shots while the Panthers were knocking down 31-of-54 for a sizzling 57.4 percent.

Bishop Ward sophomore C.J. Vallejo had another big night for the Blue Devils, knocking down five 3-pointers including four the first half to finish with a game high 24 points. Austin Hall chipped in with nine points, Roberto Hernandez seven and Ray Ridley six.

KCKCC actually won the rebound battle 43-37 with Joe Lendway leading with six and LeShawn Lewis and Babjide Aina five each.

The Blue Devils now return to Region play with three straight games on the road starting at Fort Scott Wednesday at 8 p.m. They’re also as Johnson County Saturday at 4 p.m. and Labette Feb. 4 before returning home against Fort Scott Feb. 7.

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

Blue Devils get another big win at Independence, 62-59

Dehven Talley (KCKCC photo)
Dehven Talley (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins

Long a disaster for Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball teams, the road has suddenly brought out the best in 2014-15 Blue Devils.

Leading virtually from start to finish, the Blue Devils took a 62-59 win Wednesday at Independence, a court that has doomed many KCKCC teams in the past. It was the Blue Devils’ third win over a Division I team, adding the Pirates to the list of Iowa Western and Coffeyville and all have been on the road.

Deadly shooting led by freshman Dehven Talley led the Blue Devils to their 13th win in 20 starts. A 6-2 guard from Shawnee Mission Northwest, Talley drained 5 of 6 shots including 4 of 5 from 3-point range in a career best 16-point performance that led all scorers.

That led to one of the best shooting performances of the season by the Blue Devils, who finished the game with 20-of-38 for 52.6 percent including 9-of-16 for 56.3 percent in the second half. The Blue Devils were equally effective from 3-point range when they netted 9-of-17 for 52.9 percent.

“Dehven Talley had a breakout game and I hope it snowballs,” said KCKCC coach Kelley Newton. “You could see with every shot he got more confidence and we needed every bit. We’ve been doing a much better job of concentrating on getting much better shots which in turn has helped on the defensive end.”

Newton was particularly proud of the Blue Devil defense. “The last three games we’ve held Coffeyville to 57 points, Highland to 55 and Indy to 59 so we’re doing a good job defensively. Anytime you win on the road in this league is awesome.”

Five other Blue Devils scored eight or more points in one of the best balanced efforts of the season.

Ray Ridley and Joe Lendway had 10 points apiece while CJ Vallejo, Babajide Aina and Austin Hall added eight points each. Both Ridley and Vallejo were 2-of-4 from 3-point. Ridley also contributed five assists and Aina four while Vallejo led rebounding with eight as KCKCC battled the Pirates to a 26-26 draw on the boards.

Indy led only once at 2-0 as the Blue Devils opened a 36-29 halftime lead, widened it to 11 and then held off a furious Indy rally despite not scoring a field goal in the final 2:45.

“Indy got to within one point with less than a minute left but Ray Ridley hit two free throws to hold them off,” said Newton as the Blue Devils rebuilt their lead to five.

The Blue Devils return home Saturday to play host to Neosho County in the second half of a 2-4 p.m. Jayhawk Conference doubleheader. It will be the second meeting of the two teams.

They first met in the Dodge City Classic. Neosho (12-9) posted an 88-67 win only to forfeit because of the use of an ineligible player.

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director of KCKCC.

KCKCC partners with local coalition to offer free tax preparation

Kansas City Kansas Community College is partnering with NextStep Kc and the United Way of Greater Kansas City to provide free federal and state income tax preparation.

The service, which begins Feb. 4, is available to taxpayers with incomes of less than $53,000. The free preparation is offered in Room 3632 in the upper level of the Flint Building on the KCKCC main campus, 7250 State Ave. and will be available:

• 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays (with the exception of March 18)
• 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays (with the exception of March 21)
• 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays (Month of February only)

The preparation is a joint venture between students in KCKCC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and NextStep KC., a community-based nonprofit that works to provide affordable financial services to low and moderate income families.

Assistance is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not email or call the location. Walk-in clients will be accepted only. Taxpayers need to bring a photo identification for themselves and their spouse, Social Security cards or Taxpayer Identification Numbers for everyone in the home, last year’s income tax return, income documentation such as W-2s and 1099s, daycare federal ID number, college tuition documentation, student loan interest documentation, mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable contributions and bank account and routing number for direct deposit. If elderly or disabled, please bring paid property tax or rent documentation as well. Refunds are available faster if clients use direct deposit.

The free tax preparation service is only available for federal returns as well as Kansas and Missouri state returns. It is not available for Schedule E (rental or royalty income), Schedule F (farm income) or estate and trust returns. Only 2014 returns will be prepared in February. Any returns 2009 through 2013 will be prepared in March and April.

For more information about other sites where the service is being offered, call the United Way’s 2-1-1 line.

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