Kansas City Kansas Community College's Brandon Burgette has his first Jayhawk Conference win as a head coach, thanks to a workmanlike 88-69 win over Hesston Saturday.
Building a 15-point lead in the first half, the Blue Devils never trailed in ending Hesston's 9-game winning streak. The loss dropped the Larks to 13-6 overall and 1-1 in conference play while KCKCC (8-12) won for the sixth time in the last 10 games.
Enjoying the win will be short-lived, The Blue Devils are right back in action Monday when they host Park University's JV at 6 p.m. (a game originally scheduled for 7 p.m.). Then it's back on the road for the Blue Devils, who are at Fort Scott Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) and Highland Saturday (3 p.m.).
The Blue Devils took control against Hesston with long-range shooting and domination of the defensive rebounding. KCKCC outscored Hesston 24-3 from 3-point in the first half, knocking down 8-of-20 treys while the Larks managed just one three in eight attempts. Deron McDaniel had three 3-pointers and Ezekiel Lopes and Jalen Davis two each in the opening surge.
The Blue Devils also limited Hesston to just one first half offensive rebound on the way to a 40-34 edge on the boards. Robert Rhodes had a game high 12 rebounds, six in each half, while Jermaine Yarbough added seven and Calvin Slaughter six.
KCKCC opened a 27-12 lead in the first 13 minutes, had a 43-34 advantage at halftime and then expanded it to as many as 23 points in the second half.
"The guys stepped up and made shots in the zone," said Burgette. "We also did a good job guarding the three and gang rebounding." Hesston managed just 4-of-19 3-pointers for 21.1 percent and 39.6 percent overall. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils were an identical 15-of-34 each half for 44.1 percent.
Six Blue Devils accounted for all but two points. Davis had 19 points, McDaniel 18, Lopes 17 and Slaughter 15 to lead the way while DeAngelo Ball added nine and Rhodes eight. Slaughter and Ball shared assist honors with five while Slaughter also had four steals and Lopes and Rhodes three each.
"We let one slip away Wednesday," said Burgette. "Today, we came back with a lot of energy, played fast, made shots and sped them up to run in transition. A good win."