KCKCC drops 70-68 heavyweight thriller to Link Year Prep

Caleb Jones matched one of Link Year Prep’s five dunk shots with one of his own in KCKCC’s 70-68 loss Monday. Jones led KCKCC with 16 points and 11 rebounds. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

So much for opening a basketball season against a series of inferior teams.

Playing the third quality opponent (and arguably the best) in six days, Kansas City Kansas Community College dropped a 70-68 decision to Link Year Prep in a fierce battle that went right down to the final shot Monday night.

The loss came on the heels of a 118-115 double overtime loss at No. 6 ranked North Central Missouri last Wednesday and a 74-66 win at Central Nebraska in a game in which the Blue Devils rallied by scoring the final 11 points of the game.

“We’re two possessions away from being 3-0,” said KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette, never one to shy away from tough games. “We played well in moments but we’ve got to close out games and do a better job on the glass, especially against a team like Link Prep that is very talented.”

Extremely talented. A post-graduate academy in Branson, Missouri, geared to get high school graduates prepared for basketball at the highest level, the Lions’ roster included five players who have already committed to NCAA Division I schools and a quartet of players 6-7 or better who show-cased their athleticism with five jarring dunks.

For 40 minutes, the two teams traded punches like a heavyweight bout – six ties and six lead changes in the final 16 minutes. KCKCC led by nine points early (18-9); Link Prep’s biggest lead was five to start the second half (36-31).

The Blue Devils twice built 4-point leads in the final four minutes on 3-point goals by Jermaine Yarbough and Deron McDaniel but the Lions twice scored off offensive rebounds to forge a 66-66 tie and then went ahead 69-66 on Quaran McPherson’s second 3-pointer of the game with 1:44 left.

After Yarbough got KCKCC back to 69-68 with 36 seconds to go, McPherson missed one of two free throws to open the door for the Blue Devils to win or tie only to have McDaniel’s heavily contested 3-pointer come up short.

Caleb Jones led KCKCC with 16 points and a game high 11 rebounds but had to sit out crucial fourth quarter minutes with four fouls. Freshman Shayon Janloo added 14 points, Yarbough and McDaniel 9 each and Trey Bates 8. McPherson had 22 points for Link Prep.

Because of the Lions’ size, the Blue Devils had to go to the perimeter for much of their scoring and they did it well – six players knocking down 10-of-21 3-pointers. McDaniel had three of the treys, Trey Bates and Janloo two each. KCKCC was 28-for-57 for 49.1 percent overall to .421 for Link Prep and turnovers were even 15-15.

But the Lions’ size was the difference, a 37-29 rebound advantage including 13 off the offensive boards.

“We have to do better,” Burgette said. “We did not do a good job rebounding and defending the glass nor did we give ourselves a chance to get second shots (7 offensive rebounds).”

The Blue Devils are back in action Thursday when they play host to Park University junior varsity in a women’s-men’s doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website. Both Blue Devil teams are also at William Penn Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s home basketball opener Monday was played without spectators and players kept socially distanced. However, Blue Devil home games are being streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Former Harmon standout DeAngelo Bell goes high before making an underhanded pass to Caleb Jones in KCKCC’s 70-68 loss to Link Year Prep Monday. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Halftime wake-up call rallies Blue Devils to 74-66 road win

byAlan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

Kansas City Kansas Community College got a much-needed halftime wake up-call on the way to a come-from-behind 74-66 win over Central Community College Saturday in Columbus, Nebraska.

Down by as many as 13 points early, the Blue Devils trailed 43-32 heading into halftime.

“We got off to a slow start after the long bus ride and were down 11 with three players with three fouls,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “Even as bad as our first half was, we were just a few possessions away. But we weren’t playing up to our potential and we called that to their attention at halftime.”

What Burgette said worked. The Blue Devils scored the first 10 points of the second half to cut their deficit to 43-42 and set off a furious race to the finish. KCKCC built a 63-67 lead with 7:50 left, wiping out a one-point CCC lead with a 3-pointer by Deron McDaniel and two Caleb Jones layups.

The Raiders went back ahead 66-63 with 3:12 left – but didn’t score again as the Blue Devils scored the last 11 points. Field goals by Trey Bates and Robert Rhodes put KCKCC in front 67-66 with 1:55 left and McDaniel’s 3-pointer and two free throws in the final minute clinched the win.

McDaniel, who was good on five of eight 3-point attempts, had 17 points and Jones 16 on 7-of-8 shooting to lead the way. Bates and DeAngelo Bell added 11 points each and Shayon Janboo 9 on 3-of-3 3-point attempts. Rhodes had 10 rebounds and Jones five although the Blue Devils lost the rebounding battle 35-27.

However, KCKCC forced 16 turnovers while committing 10 and shot well – 10-of-24 from 3-point for 41.7 percent and 12-of-14 free throws (.857) in finishing 26-of-57 (.456) overall. Meanwhile, the Raiders were 23-of-58 (.397) and just 11-of-19 from the foul line.

“Caleb Jones stepped up the second half and Zach Nelson and McDaniel gave us huge spot minutes off the bench,” Burgette said. “And we got some stops to score on the other end and put more pressure on them to keep the ball out of the paint. CCC is a good team with guards who can jump up and make shots. There are a couple of things we have to tune up before conference play but we did a good job dominating the second half.”

The Blue Devils open at home Monday, as hosts of Link Year Prep at 7 p.m., and are home again Thursday against Park University junior varsity in a 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. doubleheader.

No. 6 North Central edges No. 19 KCKCC in two overtimes, 118-115

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Scoring 115 points will win 99 percent of all basketball games, just not enough for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men at No. 6 ranked North Central Missouri Wednesday in Trenton.

Wiping out a 5-point KCKCC lead with 8.5 seconds remaining, North Central won a wild 118-115 double overtime thriller in the opening game for both teams. The 115 points are the second most ever scored by a Blue Devil team in a loss and the combined 233 points are also the second most.

KCKCC led by as many as 16 points in the first half, the 19th Blue Devils dominating with fast-breaks, forced turnovers and rebounding. The Blue Devils led 48-37 at the half and not until the final seconds did the Pirates ever catch up.

The Blue Devils still led 90-82 with less than a minute remaining and 93-88 with 16 seconds only to have Jeramy Shaw hit a 3-pointer and then pick off an errant KCKCC in-bounds pass and tie it 93-93 with a jarring dunk with 6.5 seconds left.

The Blue Devils had to overcome a 98-93 deficit in the first overtime thanks to sophomores Caleb Jones and Deron McDaniel, who combined for all 11 KCKCC points in the overtime. McDaniel’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 100-99 and then Jones tied it 104-104 with a pair of layups and free throw.

After trailing 108-104 early in the second overtime, North Central led most of the rest of the way only to have McDaniel drain a difficult 3-pointer for a 115-114 KCKCC lead with 35 seconds left.

But fouls which cost the Blue Devils Robert Rhodes in regulation and Jones in the second overtime proved fatal, the Pirates making four of six free throws in the final 29 seconds and blocking KCKCC’s one attempt at regaining the lead.

McDaniel scored 32 points and Jones 22, both career highs, to lead the Blue Devils. Jermaine Yarbough added 12 points and Rhodes and Trey Bates 11 each, Cody Dortch and Shayon Janloo 7 apiece. Rhodes also had a team-high eight rebounds before fouling out.

The Blue Devils shot well from the field, knocking down 37 of 75 shots for 49.3 percent, and 10-of-25 three-pointers for 40 percent.

However, the Blue Devils were outscored by 38-31 from the foul line and were outrebounded 49-36. The Pirates went to the foul line 52 times as the Blue Devils were whistled for 34 fouls and lost Jones, Rhodes and Bates on fouls.

Six Pirates finished with 14 or more points led by 18 each from Kolten Griffin and Shaw. Shaw also led all rebounders with 13. The Pirates were 37-of-84 from the field for 44 percent and 6-of-22 from 3-point (.272).

“A great learning experience for us,” KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette said. “We had plenty of chances to win the game but we gave up too many offensive rebounds and let them shoot 52 free throws. I liked the way our guys competed and played hard. It wasn’t good enough. It’s on me down the stretch to do a better job of managing time, rotations and play calling down the stretch. It’s great to learn from in the long run but we hat to be better down the stretch to win games.”

The Blue Devils play Central College in Columbus, Nebraska, Saturday at 3 p.m. before their home opener against Link Year Prep Monday at 7 p.m. There are no spectators at KCKCC athletic events to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but home games will be streamed through the KCKCC website, www.kckcc.edu.