No. 1 Johnson County outraces No. 4 KCKCC in battle of ranked powers

De’Jaria Guillory went up for two of her team-high 11 points in KCKCCs 75-55 loss to Johnson County Wednesday night. Teammates Aliyah Myers (3) and Mercer Roberts (4) trailed the play. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

Johnson County and Kansas City Kansas Community College squared off in a battle of two of the top four teams in NJCAA Division II women’s basketball Wednesday.

It was the sixth time the two long-time archrivals had gone head-to-head with JCCC as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and the Cavaliers lived up to their lofty perch, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 75-55 win over the No. 4 Blue Devils.

It was the 16th meeting between the two teams when ranked nationally, with JCCC holding an 11-5 edge and 4-2 when ranked No. 1.

The win kept JCCC unbeaten (14-0) and all but wrapped up the Jayhawk Conference championship with a 5-0 record while the Blue Devils fell to 13-2 overall and 3-2 in the conference with four games to go, three on the road.

At Hesston Saturday and Highland next Wednesday, the Blue Devils are home against Labette March 27 before finishing at Fort Scott March 31.

Shooting proved to be the difference Wednesday. The Cavaliers just did a better job, knocking down 28-of-68 shots for 41.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils had nine field goals the first quarter (9-21) for 42.9 percent, then made only 11 field goals the final three quarters in finishing at .294.

Even then, the Blue Devils were within striking range at 56-49 with 8:30 remaining only to have pint-sized guard D’Asya Collier-Williams deliver daggers, two back-to-back jump shots with the shot clock running down on both for a 61-49 lead. By the time KCKCC scored again, it was 67-49 with 6:40 remaining.

Rebounding was also a big factor in the second half. The Blue Devils were almost dead even in rebounds the first half (23-22) but were dominated the second half 30-16.

Freshman De’Jaria Guillory was the lone Blue Devil in double figures with 11 points while Aliyah Myers added nine, Faith Putz and Trinity McDow eight each and Tiaria Earnest seven. Earnest led rebounding with eight, Guillory had seven.

The Blue Devils committed just nine turnovers to 11 for JCCC but just couldn’t overcome the frigid shooting for the last three periods – .235 in the second, .214 in the third and .250 in the fourth. Also, the Blue Devils were just 5-of-33 from 3-point (.152).

LaJahda Boyland had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Jaylen Townsend 14 points and Collier-Williams and Kierra Prim 10 each for JCCC, which also got 10 rebounds from Gabby Fuller.

KCKCC was without head coach Joe McKinstry, who was sidelined by illness, and third leading scorer Hannah Valentine, out with a leg injury. Athletic Directory Tony Tompkins and assistant Timeka O’Neal took the coaching reins.