If an opening 89-63 win at Missouri Southern Wednesday is any indication, Kansas City Kansas Community College has a promising future at the point guard position.
Solomon Thomas, a 5-11 freshman from Hogan Prep, poured in 29 points and 5-11 Sedalia frosh Zion Buckner added 14 as they combined for nearly half of the Blue Devils' opening night points. Thomas' 29 points are the most ever scored by a KCKCC freshman in his first game. Four other Blue Devils had nine or more points in a well-balanced attack.
The Blue Devils now come home to open their home season Saturday against Ottawa JV in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff followed Monday by another home contest with Park University in the second half of a doubleheader with Blue Devil women, The games are at 5 and 7 p.m.
"A great way to open the season," said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton. "It was really nice to see our team play hard together and work at being one unit. We have a long way to go but this was a good first step."
Leading 38-31 at halftime, the Blue Devils blew Missouri Southern away in the second half with 51.3 percent shooting and total domination of the rebounding. Missouri Southern had a 23-19 rebounding advantage the first half but managed only 12 the second half and just five off the offensive boards.
Meanwhile, KCKCC was doubling up on the rebounds with 24 led by Arother Ratliff, a 6-5 freshman from Greenwood, Miss., who had a double double with 12 rebounds and 13 points. DeVonte Beard, a 6-6 freshman from Ruskin, added eight rebounds and nine points; 6-0 sophomore Josiah Laws of Cumming, Ga., nine points and six rebounds; and 6-2 freshman DuJuan Sweet of Leavenworth nine points and five rebounds.
Thomas and Ratliff each had 13 points to lead KCKCC to its 38-31 halftime lead. Solomon's big half came on four 3-point goals and he finished with 6-of-11 treys and 10-of-16 for the night.