by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
The stage is set Saturday for an early season collision of the top two ranked teams in NJCAA Division II women’s basketball – No. 1 Kansas City Kansas Community College vs. No. 2 Kirkwood on Kirkwood’s home court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.
KCKCC will take a 4-0 record into the showdown of the last two national champions with a 76-56 win over Southeastern Community College of West Burlington, Iowa, in the opening round of the Kirkwood Classic Friday. Kirkwood (3-0) cruised past John Wood 77-40 Friday. Saturday’s game is scheduled to be streamed on the Kirkwood and NJCAA websites.
Outstanding performances by freshmen Aliyah Myers and Jada Mayberry and a big defensive effort propelled the Blue Devils past Southeastern. A 5-7 freshman from Derby, Myers had a game high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting while Kapaun-Mt. Carmel freshman Jada Mayberry just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Belton freshman Kamryn Estell added 12 points and seven rebounds; Adoreya Williams seven points and Brodi Byrd and Destiny Zamudio six points each as the Blue Devils got a whopping 46 points from their bench.
Trailing 19-17 after one quarter, the Blue Devils gave up seven field goals the first period – and only eight the final three quarters. The middle two quarters were game changing. The Blackhawks were just 2-for-13 (.154) in the second period as KCKCC burst to a 35-27 halftime lead and 2-for-10 the third period as a 24-10 Blue Devil surge spread the lead to 59-37.
Mayberry had eight points and Myers five for KCKCC in the second quarter and Myers 10 in the third including two of her four 3-pointers (4-for-7). Byrd and Murcer Roberts also had treys in the period.
“Aliyah Myers and Jada Mayberry were both great for us,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “The two of them carried us and made plays on both ends of the floor to keep our heads above water, especially early on.”
KCKCC won the rebounding battle 41-33 but also committed a season high 20 turnovers, The Blue Devils got off 16 more shots (71-55), shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point. Southeastern was 27.3 percent from the field and .143 from distance.
“It’s good to get a win against a good program like Southeastern but the truth is, we didn’t play very well tonight,” he said. “We lacked the energy and enthusiasm we’ve been playing with and Southeastern came out very strong to start the game. On the other hand, I felt like we did do a good job of forcing them into tough shots. Southeastern didn’t get many easy opportunities in the half court. We also did a good job of rebounding the ball and getting ourselves into our transition game.”
Southeastern surged to a 6-0 lead and enjoyed its biggest lead at 9-2 before field goals by Tiaira Earnest, Estell and Adoreya Williams and a 3-pointer by Byrd evened the game at 11. There were three lead changes and two ties before the Blue Devils pulled away on 3-poiners by Myers and Mayberry to start the second quarter.