6-9 Blue Devil duo of Metoyer and Murray score 18 each, hit game-clinching free throws
Kansas City Kansas Community College grabbed firm control of the Division II Region VI basketball race Saturday, thanks in no small part to the biggest play and performance of Donald Metoyer's career.
With the Blue Devils leading 74-71 at Johnson County on a Jon Murray free throw with eight seconds to go, Metoyer grabbed Murray's miss on the second free throw, was fouled and made the free throw that gave KCKCC a 4-point lead, enough to withstand a Cavalier 3-pointer at the horn in a 76-75 win.
Easily the biggest win of the season, the win thrust the Blue Devils (5-1) two full games ahead of five teams in the wildest race in regional history. JCCC, Highland, Fort Scott, Labette and Brown Mackie are all 3-3 after Labette won at Highland 76-74 and Brown Mackie nipped Fort Scott 81-79 in two other thrillers Saturday.
"What a great way to finish the first round of regional play," said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton. "We stayed poised and did not get rattled at the game's biggest moments." The Blue Devils are right back in action Wednesday, hosting Hesston at 7:30 p.m. before they get a week off.
After leading 32-30 in a first half that had seven ties and four lead changes, the Blue Devils went ahead to stay on a Kellen Turner 3-pointer 35-32 early in the second half and led by as many as 12 points. The lead was still 60-52 with 2:29 left before the Cavaliers twice closed within one point in the final 1:20.
Lane Hartley's jump shot turned back the first JCCC challenge with 1:06 left and Metoyer's layup repulsed the second, giving KCKCC its 74-71 lead with 26 seconds remaining. Murray kept the lead at three when he matched a Marquawn Wilson free throw with eight seconds left and Metoyer corralled the offensive rebound that sealed the win.
A 6-9 sophomore from Washington High School, Metoyer scored a career high 18 points to share game scoring honors with Murray. A 6-9 soph from Macon, Mo., Murray also hauled down 15 rebounds to go with Metoyer's six as the Blue Devils made the most of their size to dominate the rebounding 38-23.
"We executed our game plan and that was simply to get the ball inside anyway we could to take advantage of our size," said Newton. "Donald and Jon played very well, passing the ball to one another and finishing around the basket. Our guards also did a good job finding them in the open and getting the ball to them." Mike Lee led with five assists along with eight points and four rebounds.
Kellen Turner and Lane Hartley provided the outside offense for the Blue Devils, who were 7-of-14 from 3-point range. Turner had 15 points, all on 3-pointers (5-of-9), while Hartley had eight points including a pair of treys. The Blue Devils also got a big contribution off the bench from Artavious Banks, who had six points and four rebounds.
In addition to winning the rebound battle, the Blue Devils had one of their best shooting nights, netting 30-of-54 for 56.6 percent while the Cavaliers were 24-of-56 for 42.9 percent. "If there was anything that I could change," said Newton, "It would be our turnovers. We had 19."