by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
While it’s seldom easy, No. 4 ranked Kansas City Kansas Community College pulled away in the second half for its seventh straight win Friday.
Trailing early in the third quarter, the Lady Blue Devils charged from behind with a 43-point second half for a 74-59 win over Central Nebraska in the first day of the Southeast Classic in Beatrice, Nebraska. The Blue Devils (11-1) faced host Southeast Saturday at 4 p.m.
Three Blue Devils combined for 42 points and 20 rebounds to lead the way.
Playing in only her second game after missing the first 10 games in concussion protocol, 5-10 Lee’s Summit North freshman Anija Frazier led the way with a near douhle-double – 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting along with eight rebounds and a game-high six steals.
Sophomore guard Brodi Byrd had 11 points, a team-leading nine rebounds and four steals; and freshman Allyah Myers had 12 points, a game high six assists and four steals.
“I was very happy with the play of Brodi, Allyah and Anija,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “The three of them impacted the game in different areas and were definitely the reason for our success today. It’s great Anija is finally healthy. We know she’s very talented and are hopeful she can continue to improve as she gets adjusted to the college game.”
Kamryn Estell added 11 points and Destiny Zamudio and Adoreya Williams seven points each for the Blue Devils, who led 31-29 at halftime but fell behind in the third quarter before grabbing a 52-43 lead with a 21-14 third period.
“Still not our best effort but we were able to do enough things well, specifically on the defensive end, to get ourselves a W,” McKinstry said. “Our defensive energy and positioning was really good. I was really pleased with that.”
The Blue Devils had 23 steals in forcing Central into 33 turnovers. Central was also limited to 19-of-53 field goal attempts for 35.8 percent while the Blue Devils were only slightly better, converting 27-of-68 shots for 39.7 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point (7-of-25).
“For the second straight game, we missed more than 20 layups and turned the ball over far too much (20 turnovers),” McKinstry said. “We’ve got to start doing a better job of that or it’s going to start costing us very soon.”
KCKCC closes out pre-holiday play with two games this coming week. The Blue Devils go to Southwestern in Creston, Iowa, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and then play Illinois Central in the St. Louis Classic next Sunday at 11 a.m.