KCKCC STAYS IN RACE WITH 19-10 FINISH AGAINST HIGHLAND 65-53
Kansas City Kansas Community College saved its best to the end Saturday in a 65-53 home court win over Highland that kept the Blue Devils in the thick of the Region VI playoff race.
At 6-2, the Blue Devils trail Fort Scott (6-1) and Johnson County (5-1) for the two first round byes in this year's regional playoffs with a chance to move up with a road rematch at Johnson County Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
For 33 minutes Saturday, the Blue Devils (17-8) and Highland were nip-and-tuck with eight ties and nine lead changes before KCKCC took command, outscoring the Scotties 19-10 in the final seven minutes. Leading 46-43, Kellan ignited a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer, Dehaven Talley contributed a basket and two free throws and Joe Lendway had a pair of charity tosses to open a 55-43 lead that eventually expanded to 18 points with 2½ minutes remaining.
Four Blue Devils scored in double figures. Jonathan Murray led the way with a double double of 11 points and 12 rebounds while Turner led the scoring with four 3-pointers, 14 points and five assists. Dehaven Talley added 12 points and Joe Lendway 10 while Mike Lee had another big assist night with eight.
"We played outstanding defense in the second half," said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton, whose Blue Devils limited Highland to just 7 field goals in 20 attempts while forcing nine turnovers. I thought our attention to detail was the key to the victory, We had contributions from everyone. Joe (Lendway) and Jon (Murray) were very big on the inside and our guard play continues to improve every day."
Highland led by as many as five points in the first half before KCKCC inched to a 29-28 halfitme lead. The win gave KCKCC a sweep of the Scotties this season.
Highland's Brandon Hashim (5) loses control of the ball against swarming KCKCC defenders (from left) Armoni Shorter, Kellan Turner, Jonathan Murray, Trevor Young and Mike Lee who held the Scotties to just seven second half field goals in a 65-43 win. (KCKCC Photo by Brooklyn Bockover)