by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s young women’s basketball team will play host to a first-round NJCAA Division II playoff game.
The Lady Blue Devils wrapped up a home berth Saturday with a 75-59 win over Fort Scott, a team they will likely meet in the playoff opener at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28. A solid fourth place with a 4-4 record, KCKCC leads Fort Scott (2-6) by two games with two games remaining – and trails Johnson County and Labette (both 5-3) in the race for second and third place.
To overtake either, the Blue Devils will have to do it on the road against nationally ranked powers, finishing regular season play at No. 3 Highland Wednesday and No. 14 Labette Saturday.
Boosting their record to 20-8, KCKCC’s fourth 20-win campaign in the last five seasons (19-13 last season), the Blue Devils did it with exceptional balance. All 10 Blue Devils scored at least two field goals but one (Caitlyn Stewart made the only shot she took) and all but one had a rebound.
Kisi Young was the only Blue Devil in double figures, posting another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds along with a game high seven assists but seven other Blue Devils scored six or more points. Niji Collier had 9 points, Lillie Moore 8, Lizzie Stark 7 and Alix Wilson, Gena Ojeda, Miya Ford and Camryn Swanson 6 each.
“I’m very pleased to get win No. 20 on the season with this group,” said KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry. “We did a lot of good things at times today and we had some moments that we need to forget. Bottom line, we’re going to have to be ready to make shots when teams try to do their best to take away our play around the basket.”
The Blue Devils started slowly in a first quarter than had two ties and four lead changes and it took a Swanson 3-pointer at the horn to give KCKCC a 12-10 lead. But the Blue Devils doubled their first quarter outlet in the second period, outscoring the Greyhounds 24-8 on the way to a 36-18 halftime lead.
Four 3-pointers in nine attempts fueled the uprising. KCKCC finished with 11 3-pointers in 33 attempts with Wilson, Ojeda, Swanson and Collier netting two each. The second half was never close as the Blue Devils built leads up to 24 points.
KCKCC also dominated on the boards 50-29 including 20 off the offensive boards, In addition to Young’s 10, Ford had seven and Ashley Daniels and Collier five each.
The game was the final regular season home game for the Blue Devils’ lone sophomore, Alix Wilson, who was honored in post-game ceremonies with Elizabeth Briggs, a Bonner Springs graduate who served the all-important role of team manager the past two seasons.
In other Region VI action Saturday, Highland (28-0) wrapped up the championship with a 107-43 rout of winless Hesston while Labette was upsetting No. 7 Johnson County 74-63 at JCCC.