KCKCC women lose late at JCCC; to play Hesston Friday

KCKCC freshman Jada Mayberry needed an acrobatic move to make a shot between Johnson County’s Krystal Rice and LaJahda Boyland (15). Mayberry led KCKCC scoring with 14 points in a 73-59 loss. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
KCKCC’s Aliyah Myers made a determined effort to shoot over Johnson County’s Christen Curry while JCCC’s LaJahda Boyland and KCKCC’s Kamryn Estell trailed the play in the Blue Devils’ 73-59 loss. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Sophomore Caroline Hoppock took a shot on just one leg in KCKCC’s 73-59 loss at Johnson County Saturday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

One thing has become apparent about this year’s Kansas City Kansas Community College women’s basketball team – the Blue Devils can’t be counted out.

Last Wednesday, the Blue Devils came from 14 points back to overtake No. 7 ranked Highland 69-56. On Saturday, they overcame another 14-point deficit to take a fourth quarter lead before No. 8 ranked Johnson County (25-4) pulled away for a 73-59 win that was a lot closer than the final score would indicate.

Finishing fourth in the Jayhawk Conference at 5-5, the Blue Devils will take a 24-6 record into a first-round Region VI playoff game with Hesston Friday. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. at KCKCC.

KCKCC had to overcome a miserable start to get back into contention at JCCC. Trailing 13-2 in the first seven minutes, the Blue Devils didn’t get their second field goal until the 1:17 mark in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 14 points midway through the second period and 38-30 at that half.

That all changed in the third quarter thanks to an aggressive KCKCC defense that forced seven turnovers. Aliyah Myers had nine points, Brodi Byrd knocked down a pair of threes and Adoreya Williams’ layup gave the Blue Devils a 49-45 lead with 2:28 left in the period.

KCKCC still led 53-52 early in the fourth period before the long journey back took its toll – just 2-of-12 field goals including all nine misses from 3-point the final eight minutes. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were 6-of-11 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

“We have to stop getting ourselves into a hole,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “While it is enjoyable to see them play hard and come back to take a lead, it puts us in a position where we have to play next to perfect basketball for the remainder of the game and that’s hard to do.”

Jada Mayberry came off the bench to lead KCKCC with 14 points including four treys while Myers added 11 points and Kamryn Estell and Adoreya Williams 10 each. The Blue Devils were guilty of just 10 turnovers (JCCC had 13) but couldn’t overcome chilly shooting. They put up 41 attempts from 3-point, made nine for 22 percent, and were 18-of-60 overall for 30 percent.

“I was pleased with our effort, our girls really played hard,” McKinstry said. “But we have to execute better in many areas and we have to be prepared as a group to make shots from the perimeter.”

K.K. Jackson-Morris had 17 points and Krystal Rice 15 for the Cavaliers, who were 26-of-55 from the field for 47.3 percent. JCCC led the rebounding 33-26 with Byrd grabbing six and Estell and Myers five each to lead KCKCC.

JCCC and Highland tied for second place at 7-3 behind champion Labette (9-1) but the Cavaliers lost the flip for the playoff’s second bye and will play host to Fort Scott in Friday’s other first round playoff game. Friday’s winners will play at Labette (23-4) or Highland (21-3) Tuesday, March 3.

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)

Lady Cyclones clinch conference, beat Barstow

Junior Jimena Lopez De La Cruz made a layup in the first half of Bishop Ward’s game against Barstow. De La Cruz finished with 15 points. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Bishop Ward Lady Cyclones won the Crossroads Conference title outright Friday evening, with a 76-17 drubbing of the Barstow Lady Knights. It was Ward’s ninth consecutive win.

Ward had control of the game all night, starting with defense. Applying heavy pressure on the ball, the Cyclones also had a knack for picking off Barstow passes for turnovers that turned into fast breaks.

Guards Jimena Lopez De La Cruz and Vanesa Otero forced the tempo on offense, and drove to the basket or found forwards Perla Frayre-Delgado and Tina Rosales for scoring opportunities.

De La Cruz led the scoring with 15 points. Delgado dropped in 14, and Rosales 10. In all, 10 players scored for the Lady Cyclones.

Head coach Dominique Washington, in his first year at Ward, has the team playing at a high tempo and encouraged the team’s intensity and effort. Ward administrator Kam Ridley also credited the team’s success this year to the teamwork of a group of players with years of experience together.

Ward’s prospects next year look bright, losing only one starter to graduation. Key players like Delgado and Otero are still juniors. Freshman Mercedez Dominguez lit up the offense when she came on late, hitting 3 of 4 three-point shots.

The Lady Cyclones hold a 14-4 record going into the last two games of the season. Ward will play host to Atchison on Monday at KCKCC, tipping off at 6 p.m. The Cyclones will finish the regular season on the road at Pembroke Hill on Feb. 25, and are projected to be the host of a KSHSAA 3A playoff game on March 3.

Junior Perla Frayre-Delgado drove in from the left baseline. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Sophomore Tina Rosales put up a short range jumper. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Sophomore Sofia Cook took a contested shot inside. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


The Bishop Ward cheerleaders performed stunts before the game. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Freshman Mercedez Dominguez got some kind words and a three-point sign from coach Dominique Washington. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Junior guard Vanesa Otero took a three-point shot. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Senior Anna Jones drove for a layup. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Sofia Cook tried to put back an offensive rebound. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Cut off inside by Barstow’s Jaelyn Glenn, Delgado looked for an outlet. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


De La Cruz sped around Barstow’s Nikky Lu. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)


Senior Anna Jones dribbled in for a layup. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)