2018-2019 Blue Devil's Men's Basketball News
Defense Shines as Blue Devils get revenge in 76-75 thrillerJanuary 15, 2019Kansas City Kansas Community College’s defense stepped up when it was needed most Monday night, paving the way for a 76-75 win over North Central Missouri in Trenton. “We had three good stops down the stretch,” said KCKCC Coach Kelley Newton. The last one was a heavily contested North Central 3-pointer that went astray at the horn. The win avenged an earlier 78-52 home loss to the Pirates and set the Blue Devils (6-12) up for back-to-back home games Thursday and Friday that will close out non-conference play. KCKCC will host Saint Mary JV Thursday at 7 p.m. after the Blue Devil women entertain Southeast Nebraska at 5 p.m. On Friday, the Blue Devil men will host Park University JV at a time yet to be determined. A spectacular 3-point shooting performance by Taylor Turner, a 6-1 freshman guard from Albuquerque, N.M., paved the way for the win at North Central. Turner drained 8-of-11 3-pointers in a career high 26-point performance. “Taylor was on fire; he really gave us a great lift offensively.” Sophomore Arother Ratliff added four 3-pointers in 10 attempts and 17 points and a game high eight rebounds for the Blue Devils. Calvin Slaughter and Daiyon Taylor scored eight points each, Kelyn Bolton and Jonathan Richmond six apiece and DuVonte’ Beard five to round out the KCKCC scoring. Bolton led in assists with five and hauled in seven rebounds while Daiyon Taylor had six rebounds and Taylor Turner five. Trailing 41-31 at the half, the Blue Devils were down by as many as 13 points at one time and were still down by nine before their big comeback. Ratliff finally put KCKCC ahead for the first time 64-63 with a 3-pointer with 6½ minutes left and the Blue Devils never trailed again although the Pirates twice pulled even. Daiyon Taylor broke a 67-67 deadlock with a rebound shot with 4:30 left and Slaughter put KCKCC ahead to stay 70-67 with a layup and free throw a minute later. Ratliff’s follow shot made it 74-69 but former Blue Devil Solomon Thomas hit a trey with 2:03 to go. Two Taylor Turner free throws with 1:48 left were just enough to hold off another Pirate trey with 1:18 to go before the Blue Devil defense twice stepped front and center in the final 59 seconds. “Our guys really stepped up and competed for 40 minutes,” said Newton. “It was a growth spurt that was very great to see. To get those three last stops, two in the final minute, was really showed growth as a team. Our defense really came up big down the stretch.”
Blue Devil Classic Highlights six games in 11 days for KCKCC MenJanuary 09, 2019Idle three weeks for the holiday break, Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball team will return to action in a rush – six games in 11 days heading into Jayhawk Conference play. The Blue Devils (4-10) resume play against Northern Oklahoma (9-5) in Tonkawa Tuesday at 4 p.m. before hosting four of the next five games. Highlighting the remaining non-conference games will be the Blue Devil Classic, a four-team event Friday and Saturday. Fort Scott (9-8) will open the Classic against Metropolitan Community College Friday at 5:30 p.m. with KCKCC hosting On Point Academy at 7:30 p.m. Three games will be played Saturday. Fort Scott will play On Point Academy at 2 p.m.; the KCKCC women will play McCook (Neb.) at 4 p.m. and the Blue Devils will take on Metropolitan at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will then close out non-conference play, facing North Central Missouri on the road Jan. 14 and then entertain Saint Mary JV Jan. 17 and Park University JV Jan. 18 before opening Jayhawk play with a home game against Labette Jan. 23. The busy non-conference schedule will give Coach Kelley Newton a chance to fine tune the Blue Devils for conference play. “Our focus will be the same, getting better position by position day by day,” says Newton. “We have a lot of young players (nine freshmen) and will try to match up against whomever we play.” An extremely balanced 13-man squad, nine Blue Devils have started three games or more. Jalen Davis, a 6-2 freshman guard from Houston, is the lone Blue Devil scoring in double figures. Shooting a torrid 56.5 percent from the field, Davis is averaging 12.3 points per game. Another frosh, 6-2 Calvin Slaughter of Macon, GA., is next at 9.4 followed by 6-5 sophomore Arother Ratliff (7.5) of Glenwood, MS., and 6-6 freshman Daiyon Taylor (6.5) of Detroit. There’s a log jam of four players grouped at 5.4 points a game – sophomores DuVonte’ Beard of Belton and Malcolm Tate of Wichita South and freshmen Kelyn Bolton of SM East and Johnathan Richmond of Columbia (MO.) Hickman. Freshmen Cody Dortch of Paragould, Ark., and Andre Boykins of Washington, D.C., are both averaging 4.5 followed by freshman Taylor Turner (3.7) of Albuquerque, N.M., and sophomore Tama Johnson (2.7) of F.L. Schlagle. Daiyon Taylor (4.1), Beard (4.0) and Slaughter (3.8) lead in rebounding while Bolton leads in assists with 3.2 per contest. Defensively, the Blue Devils rank No. 9 nationally at 69.1 points a game which is far and away the best in the Jayhawk. “We pride ourselves defensively, especially the way we finished the first half of the season,” says Newton. “We just need to turn our defense into more offense, stopping other teams from making big runs and putting ourselves in position to go on our own runs. It’s hard when you play good defense and are not rewarded with points.” Unbeaten Highland has emerged as the Jayhawk Conference favorite. With a 16-0 start, the Scotties are ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA Division II poll. Johnson County is 12-3 followed by Labette and Hesston, both at 9-7; and Fort Scott at 9-8. “It’s no secret Highland has the pieces on the floor and is very good,” says Newton. “Johnson County has had some real good wins. Labette plays very hard and is a tough out. Fort Scott finally got healthy. This is my sixth season and we’re in one of the toughest conferences for a reason. There’s no easy game anywhere and anyone can be beaten on any one night.”
KCKCC Men's Basketball Season PreviewNovember 02, 2018Good defense has always been a staple of Coach Kelley Newton’s basketball program at Kansas City Kansas Community College. But it may be even bigger in 2018-19. That’s because of the return of 6-9 Tyson Beringer of SanTan Valley, Ariz., the leading shot blocker in the Jayhawk Division II Conference last season around whom the Blue Devils can build a stellar defense. The Blue Devils will open the season Saturday at Southwestern Iowa in Creston (4 p.m.) and at Saint Mary JV in Leavenworth Monday (7 p.m.) before their home openers in the Keith Lindsey Classic against Link Year Prep and North Central Missouri Nov. 9-10. “Definitely a rim protector who has got stronger and more confident over the summer,” Newton says of Beringer. “His role changes this year – from a freshman trying to figure things out to being a sophomore leader. Our expectations are definitely on his going up in all categories.” In addition to averaging 2.5 blocks per game last year, Beringer averaged 8.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in conference play while shooting 50 percent from the field. A good jumper, Beringer runs the floor with the best which means frequently beating defenses down the floor for easy shots. And at 6-9 with leaping ability, it offers Newton all kinds of defensive options. “We’ve always had multiple defenses and that won’t change,” says Newton. The one concern is fouls. The last third of the season, Beringer never left the floor. The Blue Devils also return two other starters off last year’s 8-23 team that, because of team policy violations, finished with just six players the final eight games. DuVonte’ Beard, a 6-6 forward from Ruskin, started 19 games, averaging 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds, and 6-2 guard Malcolm Tate of Wichita South, averaged 8.1 points and 2.4 rebounds after stepping into the starting lineup the final eight games. “A couple of guys you like to go to war with,” says Newton. “DuVonte is comfortable playing inside or out. His production level should go up. Malcolm gives the team a lot of toughness and defends and rebounds well.” Newton also expects a big season from Arother Ratliff, a 6-5 forward from Greenwood, Miss., who averaged 6.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21 games last year. “He had a great summer,” says Newton. “Long and athletic, he’ll help on both ends of the floor.” Other frontcourt help will come from a trio of 6-6 Daiyon Taylor of Detroit, 6-6 Jonathan Richmond of Columbia (Mo.) Hickman and 6-8 Jeremiah Brantley of Belton. “Both Taylor and Richmond bring size, wide bodies who can bang,” says Newton. “Taylor has some skills, good shooter and passer; Richmond is also a real good passer.” A quartet of freshmen and 6-4 Cowley College transfer Tama Johnson, who played at FL Schlagle High School, will provide depth at the small forward/shooting guard position. The four freshmen are 6-4 Andrew Boykin, Washington, D.C.; 6-2 Jalen Davis, Houston, Tex,; 6-2 Calvin Slaughter, Macon, GA,; and Cody Dortch of Paragould, Ark. “Boykin is a strong athletic guard who can shoot and dribble,” says Newton. “Davis is another tough guy who can dribble, shoot and pass; Slaughter is tough, athletic guard who defends well and brings a lot of versatility to the guard position; and Dortch is a knockdown shooter who can shoot from range.” Freshmen Taylor Turner of Albuquerque, N.M., and Kelyn Bolton of S.M. East, will share the all-important point guard responsibilities. “Turner can handle the ball, shoot and pass and will definitely be one of our top scorers; Bolton brings quickness to the point guard position and is very good at getting into the lane and making other people better,” says Newton, who is being aided by fourth year assistant Alton Mason. Until the season gets underway, Newton says much will be done by committee. “Everything is work in progress. We have so many freshmen who have not been tested and until then we won’t know what we have. But I think by the end of the year we can be pretty good on the defensive end which we can turn into offense.” Ranked No. 4 behind Highland, Johnson County and Fort Scott in the pre-season coaches poll, the Jayhawk Conference will have a new full-time member this year in Hesston, which competed only on the regional level in recent years. As for the conference race? “Wide open, as usual,” says Newton. “It’s such a tough conference. I’m in my sixth year and someone different has gone to the national tournament each year.” And that includes KCKCC in 2015-16.