KCKCC’s DERON McDANIEL NAMED THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICAN
Kansas City Kansas Community College sophomore Deron McDaniel led the nation in free throw accuracy. Now he’s an All-American.
A third team selection on the NJCAA DII All-America team, he becomes only the second Blue Devil named to an All-America team dating back to the College’s opening on its present campus in 1972-73. Dominique Washington is the only other All-American, earning second team honors in 2013.
“A special honor for Deron,” said KCKCC head coach Brandon Burgette. “It’s amazing to be honored as one of the Top 30 players in the country. It’s a truly special meaning to not only coach an All-American but coach only the second All-American here at KCKCC. I’m very proud of his efforts the last two years.”
McDaniel learned of his honor on Twitter and then called his brother. “I was kind of shocked; I didn’t even know I was nominated. I never thought at all of being an All-American. I was happy. All the hard work paid off.”
McDaniel made 43-of-45 free throws this past season, a .956 percentage that was No. 1 in the NJCAA DII. A first team All-Jayhawk and All-Region VI selection, McDaniel finished fourth in scoring in the Jayhawk Conference with a 15.2-point average.
McDaniel was also 14th nationally in 3-point goals although he only played in 18 games because of the Covid pandemic. A pure shooter, he was 56-of-141 from three for 39.7 percent. He scored in double figures in 13 games with highs of 32 against North Central, 27 versus Southeast and 26 against Fort Scott.
A second team All-Jayhawk selection as a freshman, McDaniel led the Blue Devils in assists (3.3), was second in scoring (15.6) and played a major role in KCKCC winning the Jayhawk championship for the first time ever; the Plains District title; and a berth in the 2019 NJCAA DII national tournament that was never played because of the pandemic.
A 5-11 guard who graduated from Next Level Prep in Kansas City, Mo., McDaniel averaged 17.8 points and 5.0 assists in high school. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Central Post-Grad League after leading his team to the league championship.
McDaniel has yet to decide about his basketball future. He is talking to a number of colleges including some out of state. “I just want to keep improving and making the best of my basketball career,” he says.
Idled by the pandemic the last three weeks, it seemed only fitting Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men’s basketball team should go overtime in its’ first game back.
Getting a do-or-die free throw from Caleb Jones with two-tenths of a second remaining to get into overtime, the Blue Devils rode 3-pointers by DeAngelo Bell and Shayon Janloo to a down-to-the-wire 73-70 win Saturday.
The win vaulted the Blue Devils (3-1) into first place in the Jayhawk Conference ahead of Johnson County (5-2), Fort Scott (4-3) and Labette (4-3) with one regular season game remaining. KCKCC finishes at Fort Scott Wednesday while JCCC is at Labette and Highland (2-2) at Hesston (0-7).
The Blue Devils (10-6) were a free throw away from a win – or a loss in the final second of regulation play Saturday. Caleb Jones, who had made two free throws to give KCKCC a 65-64 lead with 14 seconds to play, was fouled with :02 left and the Blue Devils trailing 66-65. His first free throw came up short, the second center cut and overtime.
Labette took a quick 68-66 lead in overtime before Bell and Janloo delivered game-deciding 3-pointers. Bell’s came with 3:15 left for a 69-68 lead and Janloo followed with the haymaker with 39 seconds remaining and a 72-68 lead. Labette’s Jermond Mosley’s layup made it 72-70 and the Cardinals sent Jones to the foul line with 14 seconds to go. He made the first but Bryson Dennis’ desperation 3-pointer to tie bounced off the back rim.
A 6-7 sophomore from Raytown South playing his final regular season home game, Jones led all scorers with a career high 26 points on 10-of-13 from the field. He also led the Blue Devils in rebounding with 10 with Robert Rhodes adding seven. Bell totaled 15 points including 3-of-5 treys, Jonloo 11 points and Trey Bates a career high 11 assists and three steals.
The Blue Devils came out blazing, converting 16 of 30 shots for 53.3 percent and a 39-27 halftime only to have the Cardinals drain 5-of-10 3-pointers in out-scoring KCKCC 39-27 the second half. Taking advantage of a sizeable size advantage, the Cardinals dominated rebounding 42-32 but committed 22 turnovers to 18 for KCKCC.
Kansas City Kansas Community College got some clutch field goals they’d been desperately missing in ending a three-game losing streak Tuesday night.
Getting 17 straight points from the duo of DeAngelo Bell and Bryce Johnson in the second half, the Blue Devils (3-5) held off repeated Metropolitan Community College challenges for a hard-earned 90-83 win.
The Blue Devils led by 10 points early in the second half only to have the Wolves close to 68-65 midway through the second period when Johnson started the decisive run with a dunk. Bell followed with three 3-pointers in a span of less than two minutes for a 79-65 lead and Johnson and Bell made it 85-75, closing a 17-10 run with a pair of treys with four minutes left. But even then Metro twice closed to within four points and it took four Deron McDaniel free throws in the final two minutes to clinch it.
“The guys stepped up and made shots but we have to do a better job of holding a lead,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. “We gave up two 10-point leads.”
Five Blue Devils finished in double figures led by sophomore Caleb Jones, who had yet another double double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. McDaniel added 16 points, Bell 15, Trey Bates 12 and Jermaine Yarbough.10. The Blue Devils also got a key performance from freshman Zack Nelson, who had game highs of eight assists and four steals.
Bell’s 15 points came on 5-of-6 3-pointers while Yarbough had three dunks and a layup in a 2½- minute span in the first half. Yarbough’s four goals and five points by Nelson highlighted a surge that pushed KCKCC to a 29-20 lead only to have Metro go ahead 30-29 in a furious first half that had six ties and nine lead changes.
The Blue Devils had a season low seven turnovers while forcing 16 by Metro that KCKCC turned into 23 points. “We did a good playing in transition,” said Burgette. “Metro played well and shot the ball well (47.1 percent). We just have to do a better job of rebounding and securing the glass.”
Metro won the battle of the boards 43-36 with 19 of the rebounds coming offensively. The Blue Devils were a terrific 13-of-26 from 3-point and 14-of-26 (.538) in holding off Metro in the second half.
The Blue Devils now go back on the road for their next three games starting at Southeast Nebraska Thursday at 7 p.m. They’ll also be at Park University’s JV Monday at 7 p.m. and they have a re-match with Metropolitan on the Penn Valley campus Feb. 18.
Metro defenders can only watch as Jermaine Yarbough delivers one of his three slam dunks in a 2-½ minute stretch of the first half in KCKCC’s 90-83 win over Metropolitan Tuesday night. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
For the first time this season, Kansas City Kansas Community basketball coach Brandon Burgette could relax in the closing minutes of a Blue Devil game Thursday night.
Getting big production from a deep bench and shooting 53.9 percent from the field, the Blue Devils built leads of up to 28 points in a 99-73 win over Park University’s developmental team. The win evened KCKCC’s record at 2-2 in a season that has seen the first three games decided in the final minute and in two cases, the final seconds.
The Blue Devils are right back in action tonight, playing William Penn’s JV at 7:30 p.m. in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The KCKCC women’s team will also play William Penn at 5:30 p.m. and both games will be streamed on the William Penn website.
The one-sided win enabled Burgette to get a lot of production from a bench that provided nearly half (47 points) of the Blue Devil scoring and 16 of 23 assists. All 12 Blue Devils in uniform saw a least 11 minutes of action and 11 scored, 11 had assists and 10 had rebounds.
Five Blue Devils scored in double figures led by sophomores Jermaine Yarbough, who had a career high 22 points and seven rebounds, and Caleb Jones, who had another double with 13 points and a game high 10 rebounds. Freshman Don’vae Ferguson just missed a double double with 14 points and 9 rebounds, both career highs; Deron McDaniel added 15 points, and Bryce Johnson 14 points in just 11 minutes. Basehor-Linwood freshman Conner Younger led in assists with five; Trey Bates had four and Ezekiel Lyons three and seven points, all off the bench.
Guilty of a dozen first half turnovers (16 total), the Blue Devils led only 25-20 midway through the first half. McDaniel scored nine of KCKCC’s first 17 points to get the lead before Yarbough almost single handedly broke the game open, scoring 10 straight points on two layups and two 3-pointers to expand the lead to 35-22. The Blue Devils led 48-20 at halftime.
“I think we let our guard down early,” said Burgette. “We have to come prepared no matter who we play and understand we have to compete and guard the right way. A good game, we are still learning and progressing. These games are getting us moving in the right direction.”
So much for opening a basketball season against a series of inferior teams.
Playing the third quality opponent (and arguably the best) in six days, Kansas City Kansas Community College dropped a 70-68 decision to Link Year Prep in a fierce battle that went right down to the final shot Monday night.
The loss came on the heels of a 118-115 double overtime loss at No. 6 ranked North Central Missouri last Wednesday and a 74-66 win at Central Nebraska in a game in which the Blue Devils rallied by scoring the final 11 points of the game.
“We’re two possessions away from being 3-0,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette, never one to shy away from tough games. “We played well in moments but we’ve got to close out games and do a better job on the glass, especially against a team like Link Prep that is very talented.”
Extremely talented. A post-graduate academy in Branson, Mo., geared to get high school graduates prepared for basketball at the highest level, the Lions’ roster included five players who have already committed to NCAA Division I schools and a quartet of players 6-7 or better who show-cased their athleticism with five jarring dunks.
For 40 minutes, the two teams traded punches like a heavyweight bout – six ties and six lead changes in the final 16 minutes. KCKCC led by nine points early (18-9); Link Prep’s biggest lead was five to start the second half (36-31).
The Blue Devils twice built 4-point leads in the final four minutes on 3-point goals by Jermaine Yarbough and Deron McDaniel but the Lions twice scored off offensive rebounds to forge a 66-66 tie and then went ahead 69-66 on Quaran McPherson’s second 3-pointer of the game with 1:44 left. After Yarbough got KCKCC back to 69-68 with 36 seconds to go, McPherson missed one of two free throws to open the door for the Blue Devils to win or tie only to have McDaniel’s heavily contested 3-pointer come up short.
Caleb Jones led KCKCC with 16 points and a game high 11 rebounds but had to sit out crucial fourth quarter minutes with four fouls. Freshman Shayon Janloo added 14 points, Yarbough and McDaniel 9 each and Trey Bates 8. McPherson had 22 points for Link Prep.
Because of the Lions’ size, the Blue Devils had to go to the perimeter for much of their scoring and they did it well – six players knocking down 10-of-21 3-pointers. McDaniel had three of the treys, Trey Bates and Janloo two each. KCKCC was 28-for-57 for 49.1 percent overall to .421 for Link Prep and turnovers were even 15-15.
But the Lions’ size was the difference, a 37-29 rebound advantage including 13 off the offensive boards. “We have to do better,” said Burgette. “We did not do a good job rebounding and defending the glass nor did we give ourselves a chance to get second shots (7 offensive rebounds).”
The Blue Devils are back in action Thursday when they host Park University JV in a women’s-men’s doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website. Both Blue Devil teams are also at William Penn Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s defending Jayhawk Conference champions have been voted the team to beat in the 2021 men’s basketball pre-season poll.
Jayhawk coaches voted the Blue Devils No. 1 followed by Johnson County, Highland, Labette, Fort Scott and Hesston. Labette, the defending Region VI champion, was tabbed No. 1 in the women’s poll followed by Johnson County, KCKCC, Highland, Fort Scott and Hesston.
The KCKCC men return five veterans from the 2019-20 team that won the Jayhawk championship for the first time ever. The Blue Devils (18-13) finished 8-2 in conference play and won 16 of their last 21 games on the way to winning the NJCAA DII Region VI championship and KCKCC’s second berth in the national tournament, a tournament cancelled by the COVID pandemic.
Starters returning include 6-7 forward Robert Rhodes, the Defender of the Year in the conference and runaway leader in rebounds and blocked shots; 6-0 guard Deron McDaniel, the team’s second leading scorer and assist leader; and point guard DeAngelo Bell, who was second in assists. Jermaine Yarbough, a 6-8 forward who was second in rebounding as the league’s best sixth man, is also back along with 3-point sharpshooter Cody Dortch, who is in his third season after suffering a torn ACL 11 games into the 2019-20 season.
The KCKCC women are coming off a 25-7 season and third place finish (5-5) behind Labette and JCCC. Aliyah Myers, a 5-7 guard from Derby, returns as the only starter although the other returnees, 6-0 forward Mercer Roberts and 5-6 guards Tiara Earnest and Jada Mayberry played significant minutes in 2019-20.
Both KCKCC teams open on the road at North Central Missouri in Trenton Jan. 20 and then go to Central Community College in Columbus, Neb. Jan. 23. The Blue Devil men will open at home against Link Year Prep Jan. 25 while both teams will be host to Park University’s JV Jan. 28
Following the recent recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NJCAA has made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming basketball championships as well as spring competition, effective immediately.
"In light of the progressive evolvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year," stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition. We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes."
Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.
Regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.
Along with the cancellation of competition, all on and off-campus recruiting for all sports will be halted until April 15 with further evaluation to be assessed at that point in time.
The NJCAA will explore the opportunity to expand allowable Letters of Intent for spring sports for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years under the recommendation of the NJCAA Eligibility Committee.
The NJCAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.
It was – the greatest comeback in Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball history.
Trailing nationally ranked Johnson County by 13 points with eight minutes to go in Hutchinson Friday, the Blue Devils not only stormed from behind for a 75-68 win but won going away – all the way to the NJCAA DII national tournament in Danville, Ill.
The second trip to the nationals for the KCKCC men in five years, it’s also the fourth time in that span that KCKCC has had a team in a national basketball tournament, the Blue Devil women winning national championships in 2016 and 2019.
So how do you outscore a good team like JCCC 25-6 in the final eight minutes? You get outstanding clutch performances from sophomores Calvin Slaughter and Jalen Davis and aggressiveness – both offensively and defensively – that wore the Cavaliers down to a point they missed 12 of their last 13 shots.
The Blue Devils also blocked a spectacular nine shots including three each by 6-8 Jermaine Yarbough and 6-1 Ezekiel Lopes; made 11 of 13 free throws in the final five minutes; and did a number defensively on JCCC’s two biggest scoring threats. Lukas Milner, a 6-10 sophomore who had 33 points in a 98-91 JCCC win two weeks ago, was limited to six points; the Jayhawk Conference’s most outstanding player, JaQuaylon Mayes, was just 4-of-12 from the field and 1-of-5 from 3-point in scoring 14 points, all in the second half.
Slaughter, who led all scorers with 25 points, hit shots that tied the game and put the Blue Devils ahead; Davis hit what proved to be the game-winner with 41.7 seconds left, an off-balance 3-pointer that broke a 68-68 deadlock.
It all started after Mayes had put JCCC in front 62-49 with three free throws with 8:12 remaining. Two layups by Robert Rhodes sandwiched around a jump shot by Yarbough ignited the comeback followed by two free throws by Deron McDaniel and four by Slaughter that closed the gap to 64-62 and set up the three biggest plays of the game.
Slaughter somehow came out of a wild melee with an offensive rebound and scored to tie it 64-64, then put the Blue Devils ahead 68-66 with a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:56 left. Mayes’ layup, the only JCCC field goal in the final six minutes, got the Cavaliers back even but Davis responded with the shot of the game, a 3-pointer as he was knocked backwards in front of the Blue Devil bench. Fouled on the play, his free throw made it 72-68 with 41.7 left.
Another free throw by Davis and two by McDaniel wrapped up the comeback as the Cavaliers missed six shots, five of them 3-pointers, in the closing 32 seconds in a game that had five ties and 10 lead changes.
The final horn set off a post-game celebration for the ages. Players, coaches and fans jumped up and down, swarming the court for hugs and high fives and countless photos. Blue Devils hoisted Coach Brandon Burgette on their shoulders. McDaniel hung on the rim, from which the net was eventually cut down.
Slaughter’s career high 25 points came on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 treys and 10-of-10 free throws along with seven rebounds and three assists. Rhodes had a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots; McDaniel contributed 14 points and three assists; and Davis had12 points. In early foul trouble, Davis played only five minutes in the first half, scoring just three points on one of his 3-of-5 3-pointers.
Despite Davis’ absence, the Blue Devils would open a 24-17 lead midway through the first half only to have the Cavaliers bounce back with sizzling 3-point shooting, 7-of-11 for 63.6 percent including 4-of-5 by 6-8 sophomore Isiah Sears, who led the Cavs with 17 points. The hot shooting pushed JCCC in front 39-31 and it took a 3-pointer by Lopes at the horn to cut KCKCC’s halftime deficit to 39-36.
The win improved the Blue Devils’ record to 18-13 (after a 2-8 start) and sends them to the national tourney in Danville the week of March 15-21. Runnerup to KCKCC in the Jayhawk, the Cavaliers finished 25-7 in Mike Jeffers’ final year of coaching.
Kansas City Kansas Community College is one win away from another trip to an NJCAA DII national basketball tournament.
A surprisingly decisive 100-79 winner over Labette Tuesday, the No, 1 seeded Blue Devils will collide in a third time showdown with arch-rival Johnson County Friday night at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson at 7:30 p.m. The No. 2 seeded Cavaliers reached the Region VI finals with a 73-68 win over Highland Tuesday.
The two teams split their first two games this season, the Blue Devils winning 82-65 at home; the Cavaliers rebounding for a 98-91 behind a career high 33 points and 10 rebounds from 6-10 Lukas Milner in the final game of the season for both teams.
A win will send a Blue Devil team to a national tournament for the fourth time in four years. KCKCC’s women won national championships in 2016 and 2019; the men advanced to the national in Danville, Ill., in 2016.
“We’ve got to be ready; I don’t think we were ready in our last game against Johnson and I put that on me,” said first year KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. “I don’t think I had us ready. To win, we must contain Milner and the guards.” Milner did not play in the first meeting for the Cavaliers, who also lost the Jayhawk’s leading scorer, JaQualon Mays, to a first half injury. Mays had 21 points in the second meeting.
While the Blue Devils put 100 points on the board against Labette Tuesday, the defense was equally effective, holding the Cardinals without a field goal for nearly 6½ minutes during a 21-1 stretch in which they built a 17-16 lead into a 38-17 bulge.
“We were locked in both offensively and defensively,” said Burgette. “We guarded them well, did a good job of contesting shots and getting rebounds and out-letting the ball for fast breaks. You never expect any game to be easy but now it’s win or go home and tonight we didn’t want to go home.”
Labette fifth year coach Jerrod Stanford credited KCKCC’s intensity for the win. “We were a foot slow,” said Stanford. “You can’t win games without intensity and KCKCC had more of it tonight.”
Sophomore Jalen Davis put a spectacular end to his home career, knocking down 9-of-10 shots including a pair of 3-pointers, to lead all scorers with 24 points. He also had five rebounds, five steals and a couple of dunks. “Jalen played great; really shot the ball well,” said Burgette.
Four other Blue Devils were in double figures. Jermaine Yarbough had 17 points including at least three thunderous slam dunks; Calvin Slaughter scored 14 points and led all rebounders with 11; Ezekiel Lopes also had 14 points including four 3-pointers and Deron McDaniel added 11 points.
Robert Rhodes led defensively with a career high seven blocks and seven rebounds while taking just three shots, making two. “He’s been phenomenal on the glass and a great rim protector,” said Burgette.
While delighted with 53.8 percent shooting from the field (35-of-65), Burgette was more impressed with a season high 28 assists on the 35 field goals. “That’s amazing,” said Burgette. “It just shows what you can do when no one cares who gets the credit. You play the right way, good things happen.”
Slaughter, Lopes and Davis each had five assists, Rhodes four, Bell and Yarbough three each and Jaemaal Newson two and six points in just eight minutes of playing time.
KCKCC’s pivotal 21-1 scoring rampage came after four ties and two lead changes the first nine minutes. Yaarbough started the run with a layup and two-handed dunk and Lopes drained a 3-pointer before Davis added two dunks, a layup and two free throws, Ball scored on a layup and McDaniel knocked down a trey. The Blue Devils doubled the score by halftime 51-25, making half of their 36 shots while limiting Labette to 28.6 percent, forcing seven turnovers and controlling the rebounding 27-17.
Not only will 2020 go down as the year the Kansas City Chiefs ended 50 years without a Super Bowl, it is the year Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men’s basketball team ended 50 years without a conference championship.
Trailing by 14 points with seven minutes remaining, the Blue Devils surged from behind for a dramatic 71-67 win over Highland Wednesday that wrapped up the first Jayhawk Conference championship in the 51-year history of the conference and KCKCC’s furst conference championship since the 1968-69 season, the last year of the old Interstate Conference.
The win, the Blue Devils’ ninth in a row, improved their record to 8-1 and maintained a 2-game lead over second place Johnson County (6-3) heading into the season’s finale between the two arch-rivals in Overland Park Saturday at 4 p.m. The win also assured KCKCC (16-12) of hosting a Region VI semifinal playoff game Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m.
The biggest goal of Calvin Slaughter’s two-year career at KCKCC provided the dramatics and had an enthusiastic crowd of Blue Devil softball and women’s soccer players on its feet. In a 66-66 deadlock and time running out on the shot clock, Slaughter momentarily lost control of his dribble only to square up and drill a 3-pointer for a 69-66 lead with 51.7 seconds left. “Desperation shot,” admitted Slaughter, “I knew it was good when it left my hand.”
“It’s almost March; a one shining moment type of shot,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette of Slaughter’s game-winner. It also made Burgette a championship winner in his first year as head Blue Devil coach.
Highland cut the lead to 69-67 on a free throw but Slaughter and Deron McDaniel sealed the win with free throws after grabbing crucial defensive rebounds and set of a wild mid-court celebration and cutting down of the nets.
The Scotties had built their biggest lead at 62-48 with 7½ minutes left when Slaughter and McDaniel fueled one of the biggest comebacks in KCKCC history, outscoring Highland 18-4 to pull into the 66-66 tie. Two free throws from Robert Rhodes and a McDaniel layup ignited the rally and Slaughter lit it up with back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit 58-52 and McDaniel took it from there, converting six of seven free throws for a 64-64 deadlock. Rhodes’ follow shot seconds left kept the Blue Devils’ even and set up Slaughter for his game-winner.
“We showed ourselves how to win,” said Burgette. “Being down 14, we didn’t mope or quit or give up. We stayed with it and figured out how to win. We got stops and steals that led to layups and free throws. We shot the ball well from the free throw line, obviously Deron was amazing. And Calvin stepped up and made big shots, two to get us going and then the one that put us ahead. That’s what you need is your upperclassmen to step up.”
Slaughter finished with a game-high 22 points, 16 in the second half including four of his five 3-pointers when he was 4-of-5 from the perimeter. McDaniel added 20 points including a clutch 11-of-13 free throws. “A little nervous,” admitted McDaniel. “I knew we needed them and we’d keep fighting.”
DeAngelo Bell and Rhodes were the only other Blue Devils with more than one field goal, Bell scoring 10 points and Rhodes eight. Rhodes also had eight rebounds as did Jermaine Yarbough in just 16 minutes of playing time.
Three-pointers and free throws were crucial. KCKCC outscored the Scotties by 21 points from 3-point, knocking down 10-of-32 for 31.3 percent to just 3-of-13 for Highland (.231). The Blue Devils also converted 19-of-27 free throws to 6-of-9 for the Scotties, who shot better from the field (.474-.389) and had more rebounds (36-34) but committed 20 turnovers to 11 for KCKCC.
In the 50 years of Jayhawk Conference men’s basketball, Kansas City Kansas Community College had never won, never tied for a conference championship. That streak is over! The drought has ended!
A 74-69 win over Fort Scott in a furiously fought battle that went right down to the wire Saturday clinched no worse than a tie for the 2020 championship with two games to go starting with a home contest Wednesday with Highland at 7:30 p.m.
“I don’t like to share; we want to cut the nets down,” said first year KCKCC head coach Brandon Burgette. “But every game gets tougher.” The win was the Blue Devils’ eighth in a row in improving to 15-12.
While there’s been no Jayhawk championship, KCKCC is not without conference titles. From 1940-69, Blue Devil teams dominated the Interstate Conference, winning 12 championships.
Late heroics by Jalen Davis and Deron McDaniel in the final three minutes rallied the Blue Devils past Fort Scott. In a span of 58 seconds, McDaniel pulled KCKCC even 64-64 with his third 3-pointer of the game and Davis followed with two tie-breaking free throws and a 3-pointer for a 69-64 lead with 1:39 remaining and the Blue Devils protected the lead from the free throw line – two each by McDaniel and Jermaine Yarbough after a game-clinching rebound.
“Deron made some clutch shots, Jalen hit big throws, Jermaine had key rebounds and Robert Rhodes had four blocked shots and was great on the boards,” said Burgette. “Robert has been our savior all year, protecting the rim and rebounding the basketball.” In addition to four blocks, Rhodes hauled down 16 rebounds and scored six points before fouling out with 1:09 left.
Davis and McDaniel shared offensive honors with 18 points each while Yarbough and Calvin Slaughter had 10 apiece and Ezekiel Lopes nine. Yarbough also had seven rebounds and Slaughter five although the Greyhounds had a 41-39 edge on the boards. In addition, the Blue Devils had 17 assists on 24 field goals with DeAngelo Bell and McDaniel handing out five each and Slaughter four.
KCKCC trailed by as many as eight points and led by as many as eight in the first half in a roller coaster game that would have six lead changes and seven ties. Trailing 34-27 at halftime, the Greyhounds surged to a 49-43 lead in the first six minutes of the second half. McDaniel wiped out most of that lead with a trey and a layup to set up a furious race to the finish.
Twice Fort Scott led by four points but two free throws by Yarbough and a McDaniel field goal kept KCKCC close and the Blue Devils went ahead briefly 61-59 on a Rhodes basket and two more Yarbough free throws. However, a Craig Jordan 3-pointer and two free throws put the Greyhounds in front 64-61 and set up the Blue Devils’13-5 finish in the final 2:37.
“We did a great job of keeping our composure when they went on a run and got key stops when it mattered,” said Burgette. “We struggled defensively all night and then did a good job of guarding them in the last two minutes.”
Statistically, the two teams were as close as the outcome. KCKCC shot .414, Fort Scott .406 from the field; KCKCC was 9 of 29 from 3-point, the Greyhounds 8 of 29. The Blue Devils had a slight edge in turnovers, 11 against Fort Scott’s 14.
In other action Saturday, Johnson County (5-3) stayed two games back of KCKCC with a 59-51 win at Labette while Highland (4-4) moved into a tie for third place with Fort Scott with a 73-63 win over Hesston. Fort Scott will be at Labette and Hesston at JCCC in other action Wednesday.
KCKCC’s basketball team had much to celebrate Saturday. Sophomores Calvin Slaughter (left) and Jalen Davis were presented photos and basketballs in recognition of their play the last two years and the Blue Devils clinched a share of KCKCC’s first ever Jayhawk championship with a 74-69 win over Fort Scott. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Kansas City Kansas Community College forward Robert Rhodes is the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) Player of the Week.
The Jayhawk Conference leader in rebounding, Rhodes was honored for his play in Blue Devil wins over nationally ranked Johnson County and Labette last week. He had double-doubles in both games as he helped the Blue Devils vault into undisputed possession of the Jayhawk Conference lead.
His fourth double-double of the season – 15 points and 14 rebounds – came in an 82-65 win in a showdown with JCCC for first place in the conference Feb. 5 and he followed it up with 14 points and a career high 18 rebounds in an 81-77 win over Labette on Saturday. He’s the first KCKCC men’s player to be named Player of the Week. The Lady Blue Devils’ Kamryn Estell earned the women’s honor earlier. Rhodes leads the Jayhawk in both rebounds (9.0) and blocked shots (47), is third in field goal accuracy (57.4 percent) and seventh in steals (32). Averaging 9.5 points in conference play and 8.6 overall, he’s one of seven Blue Devils averaging seven or more points a game this season.
“Robert has the instinct to go get the ball wherever it is rebounding-wise,” says KCKCC head coach Brandon Burgette. “He does everything requested of him with an effort that goes above and beyond. He has a lot of energy and motor that never stops.”
Rhodes has posted double figures in rebounding 11 times and been in double figures scoring-wise 10 times. He also has 42 assists, an average of nearly two a game. “He’s been playing great; really consistent every night,” says Burgette.
On the road at Hesston Wednesday, the Blue Devils will close out their home schedule with doubleheaders Saturday against Fort Scott (2 and 4 p.m.) and next Wednesday night against Highland (5:30 and 7:30 p.m.).
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s streaking Blue Devils refused to surrender first place in the Jayhawk Conference Saturday, repeatedly turning back Labette rallies in an 81-77 thriller that went right to the wire.
Two clutch free throws by Calvin Slaughter with 17 seconds left sealed the win, the Blue Devils’ sixth in a row. The win kept KCKCC (5-1) a game ahead of Johnson County (4-2) in the Jayhawk race and set up a key road game for the Blue Devils at dangerous Hesston (13-10) Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils (13-12) never trailed against Labette, bolting to a 14-2 lead in the first six minutes and leading 40-29 at halftime. The lead was still 54-43 with 13 minutes left when the Cardinals made run after run at overtaking the Blue Devils. Eight times the Cardinals got within five points or less, the closest at 78-77 when Slaughter calmly sank two free throws and Jermaine Yarbough added another after the Cardinals had missed a game-tying 3-pointer.
The Blue Devils got huge performances from their two big men, 6-7 Robert Rhodes and the 6-8 Yarbough, who combined for 35 points and 27 rebounds. Rhodes had a double-double with 14 points and a career high 18 rebounds; Yarbough just missed a double-double with a game high 21 points and nine rebounds. Most significant, they combined for 13 of KCKCC’s season high 21 offensive rebounds that led to 22 second chance points. They were also responsible for KCKCC’s 40-29 halftime lead with a combined 19 points and 13 rebounds including seven offensively.
“Jermaine played great tonight, great presence around the basket and scoring around the rim and Robert was terrific. He’s getting comfortable in his shell and is really playing well,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. Slaughter added 12 points, Ezekiel Lopes 11, Deron McDaniel 10, DeAngelo Bell 7 and Jalen Davis 6 and everyone had a hand in holding off the late Labette charges.
The first came when the Cardinals closed to 56-51 with 12½ minutes left but a Yarbough trey and two McDaniel free throws quelled that comeback. But a half-dozen more would follow in the final seven minutes. Lopes made three free throws and Yarbough tipped in a rebound and added a free throw after Labette had twice pulled to within four points.
Slaughter had a huge offensive rebound, put back and free throw after the Cardinals had closed to 69-66 followed by perhaps the biggest defensive play of the game, a block by Rhodes who corralled the rebound that led to two Lopes free throws for a 74-68 lead with 2:11 left. Field goals by Bell and Rhodes kept the spread at six points before a 3-pointer by Tyler Garrett and layup by Dennis Bryson sandwiched around a turnover cut the lead to 78-77 and set up Slaughter for the game-clinching free throws.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Slaughter. “I knew I had to knock them down. I’ve done it before in high school and college.” “Calvin played big minutes after getting in foul trouble early,” said Burgette. “He made the big free throws down the stretch and some big plays for us (seven rebounds, four assists).”
Mike Flenorey kept Labette close with 17 of his 19 points in the second half including four 3-pointers. Dennis added 18 off the bench for the Cardinals.
KCKCC had a 48-36 command of the rebounding including the 23 off the offensive boards. “A big difference – and a season high,” said Burgette. “Labette was good tonight. They stopped us running, contested shots and slowed us down and we had some bad turnovers (18). But every game the rest of the season is going to just like this. There are no easy teams. We need to get better.”
In addition to KCKCC’s game at Hesston and Labette’s invasion of Highland, Johnson County will be at Fort Scott Wednesday. The Blue Devils then return to close out their home schedule against Fort Scott Saturday (2 and 4 p.m.) and Highland Feb. 19.
Guess what team has the undisputed possession of first place in the Jayhawk Conference?
One hint: It’s the same team that started the season 2-8 including eight straight losses, all on the road.
For perhaps the first time ever, the Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College have the Jayhawk Conference lead thanks to an 82-65 win Wednesday over Johnson County, a team that started the season ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA DII and came into the game ranked No. 11 nationally. Records aren’t immediately available but this may be the first time a Blue Devil team has been alone at the top of the Jayhawk at the halfway point of the season.
And the Blue Devils have a chance Saturday to avenge their only conference loss when they put a five-game winning streak on the line when they host Labette (13-9) in the second half of a 2 and 4 p.m. doubleheader.
“Our goal obviously was to be in good position but being in first is great,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. ”Nothing comes easy. You have to earn it and I think we earned it.” Indeed after losing 79-71 at Labette, KCKCC has beaten Hesston 88-69 and won at Fort Scott 75-64 and Highland 91-73.
The Blue Devils took command from the very outset against JCCC, exploding to an 18-6 lead in the first 7½ minutes and expanding it to 28-12 with 8:20 left in the half. Their biggest lead was 60-37 with 12 minutes left in the second half.
Five Blue Devils scored in double figures led by 6-7 Park Hill South freshman Robert Rhodes, who had his third double-double of the season – 15 points and a game high 14 rebounds. Jalen Davis led the scoring with 17 points, 14 in the second half; Jermaine Yarbough scored 16 including 4-of-5 from 3-point; Calvin Slaughter had 12 points and DeAngelo Bell 11. Slaughter and Bell led in assists with four apiece and each had a pair of threes.
“Rob (Rhodes) played the best game of the year,” said Burgette. “He was really big on the glass. And Jalen (Davis) played better the second half. We didn’t shoot the ball that well (.449) but we had five in double figures which is great. And 22 assists versus nine turnovers is just amazing.”
Trailing by 16 points with 8:20 left in the half, the Cavaliers twice closed to within eight points. The first time at 32-24 but Rhodes scored from close range and Yarbough knocked down his first trey to make it 37-24. A thunderous tomahawk dunk by Yarbough off an in-bounds lob from Bell and a basket by Tim Barbieri quelled the second JCCC comeback. Ahead 41-31, Davis opened the second half with a 3-pointer and Bell scored on a layup for a 46-31 lead and it was never close the rest of the way.
“We played well in spurts, some ugly possessions and some good possessions,” said Burgette, who applied full court defensive pressure much of the game. “We kept the tempo high. We wanted to make them play fast and us play fast. And we did a real good job of sharing the ball. Not everything is perfect but I’m a perfectionist and I want them to do everything right. We have to keep pushing. You cannot overlook anyone.”
“They (KCKCC) came to play and we didn’t,” said JCCC Coach Mike Jeffers, whose Cavaliers helped the KCKCC cause by missing 15 of their first 17 free throws and shot 39.7 percent from the field. It was Burgette’s first game against Jeffers, for whom Burgette was an assistant for three years, and the last for Jeffers at KCKCC. Elected this spring to the NJCAA Hall of Fame, Jeffers is retiring after a 29-year career at JCCC which included two national championships.
PHOTO IDENTS (thunderous dunk)
Jermaine Yarbough’s thunderous tomahawk dunk off an in-bounds lob pass from DeAngelo Bell helped quell a Johnson County rally in KCKCC’s 82-65 win in Wednesday’s first place clash for the Jayhawk Conference lead. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
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.”
Brandon Burgette got an early Christmas present Tuesday – an 87-74 Kansas City Kansas Community College win over State Fair, his first victory over an NJCAA Division I team.
The win was the fourth in the last five games for the Blue Devils, who forged a lead early in the second half and then turned back every State Fair challenge.
“I told our team after our loss to Mineral Area that our goal was to be 4-0 going into the break,” said Burgette. KCKCC (5-8) can reach that goal Saturday in a 4 p.m. home game against Southwestern (Iowa).
State Fair (10-6) and KCKCC battled through nine lead changes and seven ties in the first half and exchanged leads 13 times and had nine deadlocks total before the Blue Devils grabbed the lead for good with 16:15 remaining.
Bishop Miege sophomore Ezekiel Lopes put KCKCC ahead to stay 46-45 with a spectacular dunk off a missed shot and then drained a pair of 3-pointers to expand the lead to 53-46, a lead the Blue Devils would not give up. The closest the Roadrunners could get was 58-57 with 11:07 remaining but freshman Deron McDaniel knocked down a pair of threes to make it 64-57 and the defense took it from there, forcing three straight turnovers.
“We did a great job of forcing 18 turnovers which led to transition baskets,” said Burgette. “Getting 20 points off turnovers is great. And we took care of the ball (9 turnovers). That was the main thing, that and getting stops and making them take some bad shots. And we made free throws (20-of-24), the best percentage this season.”
The Blue Devils also got a big shot in the arm from sophomore Jalen Davis, who came off the bench in the second half to score 14 points and grab five rebounds. “Jalen really stepped up in the second half,” said Burgette.
Four Blue Devils scored in double figures led by the 3-point shooters, Lopes and McDaniel, each with three treys with Lopes scoring 17 points and McDaniel 15. Robert Rhodes provided the early offense with 12 first half points along with five assists and a game high nine rebounds and Calvin Slaughter added nine points and five rebounds.
The night’s unsung hero was DeAngelo Ball, a 5-9 freshman from JC Harmon, who had a career high nine assists and just one turnover against an aggressive State Fair defense. For the game, the Blue Devils had 20 assists on 28 field goals.
Three-point goals were also paramount to the win. KCKCC outscored State Fair 33-3 from the perimeter, the Roadrunners making only 1-of-18 for 5.6 percent. The Blue Devils were 11-of-30 for 36.7 percent from 3-point and the two teams were almost dead even from the field at 41 percent.
“All week this team has been 10 times better than all year,” said Burgette. “It’s been consistent, all 10 guys buying into the system and believing in each other. No one cares who scores. It becomes contagious.”
Finding the right chemistry for a young basketball team is tough enough for a first year head coach. Doing it on the road is even tougher.
For the second time in less than 20 hours, Kansas City Kansas Community College had a big second half rally come up short in a 74-71 loss to Ellsworth Saturday. The loss came in the Koenigsmark Klassic in Mason City, Iowa, and left the Blue Devils 1-2 heading into the final game of a four-game season opening road trip at Allen County Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Trailing 42-32 at halftime, the Blue Devils went ahead with seven minutes remaining before Ellsworth (4-1) pulled away in a see-saw finish. “After Friday’s second half rally against NIACC, I thought with the late ending and quick turnaround Saturday, we would be hungry and eager to play,” said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. “Instead. I think we were tired and fatigued.”
The Blue Devils got a standout double-double performance from 6-8 Sevon Witt, who had game highs of 31 points and 13 rebounds although in foul trouble with four. Robert Rhodes, a 6-7 freshman from Park Hill South, just missed a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds as KCKCC dominated the rebounding 56-30 with 24 of the boards coming on the offensive end.
Cody Dortch added nine points, Ezekiel Lopes eight points and six rebounds and Jalen Davis six points and five rebounds for the Blue Devils, who had just 12 turnovers to nine for Ellsworth. “Ellsworth couldn’t handles our bigs but our bigs couldn’t score around the basket,” said Burgette.
Field goal shooting continued to be a problem. The Blue Devils were just 27-of-73 from the floor for 37.0 percent and a frigid 2-of-18 from 3-point (.111). “We’re in a rough patch struggling to score,” said Burgette. “We’re just not shooting the ball well anywhere on the floor. In the two days, we barely shot 30 percent from the field and less than 20 percent from 3-point.
“Having 24 offensive rebounds and not scoring really hurts. We’re going to have to step up and make shots and make plays. It’s still early but we’ve got to figure out about us as a team and an identity. We have to stay together. “It’s a long road ahead of us. With two home games and then five more on the road, it doesn’t get any easier.”
After Tuesday’s game at longtime rival Allen County in Iola, the Blue Devils finally get to play at home in the Keith Lindsey Classic. They’ll host another longtime foe in Cowley College Friday at 8 p.m. and North Central Missouri Saturday at 6 p.m.
With a pair of veterans leading the way, Brandon Burgette got his first win as Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball coach Tuesday.
Sophomores Cody Dortch and Calvin Slaughter combined for 38 points in leading the Blue Devils to a season-opening 71-58 win over Washburn University’s JV in Topeka.
A 6-2 sophomore guard from Paragould, Ark., Dortch drained 4-of-8 3-pointers on the way to a career high 21 points; Slaughter, last year’s leading scorer from Macon, Ga., had a double-double with 17 points and a game and career high 11 rebounds. Most importantly was when they got their career bests. Dortch had 18 of his 21 points in the second half; Slaughter had 11 points and seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Each also had three assists.
Freshmen Jermaine Yarbough added 10 points and Robert Rhodes 11 rebounds and eight points in a game that had six lead changes and four ties before the Blue Devils closed with a 22-8 run.
KCKCC trailed 50-49 before a 3-point goal by freshman Jaemaal Newson pushed the Blue Devils in front 52-50 with 5:59 left and Dortch and Slaughter took it from there, scoring KCKCC’s final 19 points. Two Dortch 3-pointers and a pair of free throws by Slaughter opened a 60-53 lead with three minutes left and Dortch sealed the win with his fourth 3-pointer and a pair of free throws.
“Cody and Calvin showed some maturity and leadership in how poised they were,” said Burgette. “Washburn made a run with 13 minutes left but they never folded, attacking back and making shots and getting rebounds.”
KCKCC surged to a 17-0 lead in the first 14½ minutes and led 31-21 at the half by holding the Ichabods to just five field goals in 25 attempts (.250). Meanwhile, the Blue Devils were 11-for-27 for 40.7 percent each half and 39.1 percent from 3-point for the contest. KCKCC had 17 turnovers, Washburn 19.
“A typical opening game with first game jitters but I was proud of the way our guys competed,” said Burgette. “We jumped out with a 17-0 run and then they made their run with 13 minutes left. We had to battle through some adversity in figuring out our lineups but with our backs against the wall, we found a way to win. That’s a good Washburn JV team with a lot more experience.”
The Blue Devils stay on the road this weekend when they’ll compete in the North Iowa Area Classic in Mason City. The Blue Devils will face host NIACC Friday at 5 p.m. and Ellsworth Saturday at 3 p.m. At Allen County Tuesday, KCKCC plays its opening home games in the Keith Lindsey Classic, hosting Cowley County on Friday, Nov. 15, and North Central Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 16
Less than three months on the job, one month from the first official practice and two months from the season opener, new Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball coach Brandon Burgette is chomping at the bit.
“I can’t wait to get to Oct. 1 and neither can our players,” says Burgette. “I like the pieces we have, pieces at each position with a lot of talent and experience.”
Right now, NJCAA rules limit Burgette to conditioning, workouts with an eight hour a week time restriction, “We’re using the eight hours to get the guys into shape, to get them to know each other, to find out what we’re going to do and able to do and establish an identity.”
Five sophomores return from last year’s 14-17 team and all five finished among the top eight scorers. To that group, Burgette has added three transfers and eight freshmen since his hiring June 5. With all five of his returning veterans playing the guard position, emphasis was put on size and netted six players ranging from 6-6 to 6-8 in height.
The five returning guards combined to score 49.2 percent of the Blue Devils’ 2,102 points in 2018-19. Calvin Slaughter of Macon, Ga., led the way with a 9.8-point average followed by Jalen Davis of Houston (8.1) and assist leader Kelyn Bolton of SM East (6.3 points and 3.6 assists).
The team’s top two 3-point shooters round out the quintet. Taylor Turner of Albuquerque, N.M., who had 10 3-pointers in a single game last year, had 48 treys for the season while averaging 6.2 points; Cody Dortch of Paragould, Ark., averaged 5.5 points while notching 46 3-pointers.
Added experience will come from a pair of 6-8 transfers, Sevon Witt of Raytown South who averaged 7.1 points and 3.2 rebounds at Washburn University; and Caleb McCray Jones of Raytown South, who averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds at Colby Community College. A third transfer, 6-1 guard Ezekiel Lopes of Bishop Miege, was a redshirt freshman at Coffeyville and has two years of eligibility remaining.
Two KCK prospects are among the eight freshmen, 5-9 guard Deangelo Bell from JC Harmon and 6-6 forward Tyione Gilmore of FL Schlagle, along with Missouri area grads 6-8 forward Jermaine Yarbough of Grandview, 6-7 Robert Rhodes of Park Hill South and 6-0 guard Deron McDaniel of Next Level Prep in Wichita, KS.
They are joined by Marquise Walker, a 6-0 guard from Chicago; 6-6 forward Timothy Barbieri of Abilene and 6-5 Jaemaal Newson of Bradenton, Fla.
“A good foundation with experience from our returners and transfers,” says Burgette. “We’re obviously deep at the guard position but with the new recruits, we’ve added some big, long athletes who can not only protect the rim but finish above it. We’ve also got a lot of versatility, multiple guys who can play multiple positions.”
Burgette said fans can expect fast paced Blue Devil basketball. “We want to push the tempo and play fast but under control. We’ll also press for 40 minutes to try to make teams turn the ball over which gives us opportunities to score off transition in the half court. Depth will be a strength. We have a lot of depth 1 through 15 and any one of several players who can lead us in scoring any given night.”