by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
The two returning members of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 2019 national championship team made sure the Lady Blue Devils’ reign would not end on their own court Friday.
Caroline Hoppock and Brodi Byrd combined for 42 points to lead KCKCC to a 95-54 opening round Region VI playoff win. The win sends the No. 4 seeded Blue Devils (25-6) to No. 1 Labette (23-4) in Parsons Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Byrd scored 16 points including three 3-point goals that set a new record of 129 treys in her 2-year career while Hoppock knocked down six threes in eight attempts and led all scorers with 26 points. Byrd also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals while Hoppock was 10-of-13 from the field and led the Blue Devils in rebounding with seven.
Byrd wasted no time in tying the record of 128 threes shared by Camryn Swanson and Sierra Roberts by draining a pair with her first two shots just 1:37 into the game. The record came with 4:45 left in the second quarter.
“Coach called the play for me,” said Byrd, who flipped three fingers in the direction of the KCKCC bench to indicate a 3-point shot.
“Yes I did,” coach Joe McKinstry said about the record breaker.
“She made two in the first couple of minutes but then missed about four in a row. So I said let’s get this over and called a play for a 3-point attempt from the circle,” he said.
The two quick threes couldn’t have been a better start.
“I felt a lot better after that,” said Byrd, who was well aware of her record pursuit. “My parents have been counting down all year.”
Hoppock’s six 3-pointers put her in a tie for sixth on the all-time list for most threes in a game, an all-time record she shares after making eight last season.
“Very happy they went out with a win, for sure,” McKinstry said. “Brodi broke the record and Caroline was six for eight from three; great accomplishments for their last night in this gym.”
Freshman Jada Mayberry was the only other Blue Devils in double figures with a career-high 18 points and four rebounds. Aliyah Myers added nine points, Adoreya Williams seven and Destiny Zamudio, Tiaira Earnest and Kamryn Estell six each. Earnest also had five rebounds.
Offensively, the Blue Devils had an impressive 25 assists on 32 field goals with Zamudio, Earnest, Mayberry and Adoreya Williams adding three each to Byrd’s four.
“That’s one thing this team has been good at from day one, sharing the ball and looking for each other,” McKinstry said.
Defensively, the Blue Devils had a season-high 23 steals in forcing 34 Hesston turnovers.
“Without full court pressing and trapping, we did a real good job of putting the pressure on them and being active,” McKinstry said.
Tuesday’s meeting with Labette Tuesday will be the third this season. The Jayhawk Conference champion Cardinals won the conference opener at home 79-63, then edged the Blue Devils 66-62 at KCKCC.
“We did what we were supposed to do tonight and I’m proud of that,” McKinstry said. “But we have to clean some things up if we’re going to get a win on Tuesday.”