Ranked No. 6 in the latest NJCAA DII women's basketball poll, Kansas City Kansas Community College made a statement for climbing even higher Monday.
Facing a Jefferson College team that had defeated No, 10 Lincoln Land and lost to No. 7 Parkland in Hillsboro, Mo., the Blue Devils (6-0) posted a 73-44 win and then followed it up with an 86-66 home win over Graceland JV Tuesday.
"I really didn't see that coming," admitted KCKCC Coach Joe McKinstry of the win over Jefferson. "They had played two top 10 teams and beaten one so I thought we might be in for a long night. Plus we'd had a long trip to William Penn on Friday and a four-hour trip Monday so to go into their place and play the way we did, I was pretty happy."
The Blue Devils jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead but after the Vikings closed to 10-9, KCKCC opened an 18-9 first quarter lead and stretched it to 33-17 at halftime. "I told the team at halftime I didn't feel like we were up16 points because of how hard Jefferson was playing. I can't remember being up that much and feeling like it was a two possession game because they were playing so hard. But every time Jefferson made a comeback, we would answer."
The Vikings made their biggest run in the third quarter, scoring 19 points. "Ikia Elam had huge moments in the third quarter, scoring two baskets and making two great passes to De'Jaria Guillory for buckets," said McKinstry.
Nine Blue Devils played and all had at least five points. Hannah Valentine and Jada Mayberry had 13 points each, Aliyah Myers 9, Guillory and Faith Putz 8, Mercer Roberts and Ilam 6 and Lacy Whitcomb and Trinity McDow 5 each. "The balanced scoring, answering every run and the defensive effort were all very satisfying," added McKinstry.
ON TUESDAY, the Blue Devils needed a big second half to subdue a feisty Graceland JV team 86-66. The Yellowjackets led by as many as six points in a first half that had four ties and seven lead changes. Trailing 31-25 with 3½ minutes left in the second quarter, KCKCC needed an 11-5 run to forge a 36-36 halftime tie before taking control with a 12-2 run to start the second half.
The Blue Devils got another big performance from Valentine, who had a double double with 24 points on 10-of-14 shots and 12 rebounds, both game highs. Putz added 19 points including a trio of 3-pointers; Myers 13 points; and McDow 10. It was big all-around night for Myers, who had six assists, four steals and eight rebounds. Whitcomb led in steals with seven along with five assists while Guillroy had seven rebounds.
Graceland shot 50 percent both from the field and 3-point (6-of-12) in the 36-36 first half while the Blue Devils shot just 38.9 percent for the game and .216 from 3-point. However, the Blue Devils had a 53-37 rebound advantage and forced 31 turnovers while making 19.
With a home game against State Fair Saturday cancelled by the pandemic, the Blue Devils are now idle until next Tuesday when they host Metropolitan in a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m.
Sophomore Hannah Valentine maneuvers between three Graceland defensive players for two of her game high 24 points in KCKCC's 86-66 win Tuesday. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)