Any fears of a hangover from a disappointing loss in opening Jayhawk Conference basketball play Wednesday quickly vanished for Kansas City Kansas Community College's women's Saturday.
In fact, the Lady Blue Devils took out any frustrations with one of their best performances of the season, a 99-63 conquest of Hesston College. The win evened KCKCC's Region VI record at 1-1 and 17-5 overall heading into a road game at Fort Scott Wednesday. Fort Scott is also 1-1 in league play after forcing No. 7 Labette to the final wire in a 68-64 loss Saturday.
Led by three rebounding assassins, the Lady Blue Devils overwhelmed Hesston (10-10) on the boards by pulling down 65 rebounds, 38 more than the Lady Larks' 27 and included 24 off the offensive boards. Combined, Nija Collier, Kisi Young and Lillie Moore scored 58 points, claimed 38 rebounds and were 24-of-33 from the field for 72.7 percent.
Each finished with a double-double, the second such achievement this season. In alphabetical order, Collier had 18 points (8-of-13) and 15 rebounds off the bench; Moore had 19 points (7-of-9) and 13 rebounds; and Young 21 points (9-of-11) and 10 rebounds. The board dominance produced more than half their points in the paint – a season high 54 which might be a school record if such records were available. "Our forwards were the difference and continue to be our playmakers," said KCKCC Coach Joe McKinstry. "This was a good win against a hard-playing Hesston team."
Perimeter scoring came from a new source. At 5-4 the shortest Blue Devil, SM Northwest freshman Gena Ojeda was 4-of-6 from 3-point for a career high 12 points along with four rebounds in her best effort. Lizzie Stark added six points and Alix Wilson and Caitlyn Stewart directed the offense with seven assists each.
KCKCC never trailed, opening a 23-17 first quarter lead and stretching it to 45-33 at the half. Not coincidentally, the shooting got better each quarter as the Blue Devils continually pounded the ball inside for close range shots. After shooting 42.1 percent the first quarter, the Blue Devils increased it to .500, .545 and .57.9 the final three periods in finishing at 51.3 percent overall – far more than enough to offset 22 turnovers, six more than Hesston.
"I thought we came out after halftime and did a much better job of implementing the things we talked about in practice the last couple of days," said McKinstry. "We've got a tough road ahead so hopefully we can take today's success and continue to build on it."
After Wednesday's road test at Fort Scott, the Blue Devils come home Saturday to host No. 3 ranked and unbeaten Highland at 2 and 4 p.m. Highland hosted No. 3 Johnson County Saturday in the most heralded game of the season and the Scotties turned the game into a rout, winning 108-65.