Kansas City Kansas Community College sophomore Aliyah Myers is the Defensive Player of the Year and, with teammate Tiaira Earnest, a member of the first All-Kansas Jayhawk DII women's basketball team for 2021. The two Blue Devils were also named to the All-Region VI first team.
A third Blue Devil, sophomore Hannah Valentine, was named to the All-KJCCC third team in a vote of conference coaches who could not vote for members of their own team.
The trio led the Blue Devils to the NJCAA DII national tournament for the third time in six years by handing No. 1 ranked Johnson County its first defeat in the Plains Regional championship game. JCCC would go on to finish runnerup to Parkland in the national tournament while the Blue Devils finished 21-4 with two losses to JCCC and two in the national tournament.
A 5-7 guard from Derby, Myers led the Jayhawk Conference in steals with 74, an average of 3.5 per game, and also in assists with 120, an average of 5.0 per contest. "Extremely happy that the other coaches recognized what Alliyah met to our team," said KCKCC Coach Joe McKinstry. "She is the most complete guard we have had in my tenure." Myers also finished second in scoring (13.5) and was third in rebounding (5.5).
Earnest, a 5-6 sophomore from Detroit, finished second in steals with 42 despite missing the Blue Devils' first 11 games because of injury. She averaged a team high 14.8 points a game in conference play and 12.5 for the season. Despite her lack of size, she was second in rebounding with 5.6 per game. She had a career high 30 points against Fort Scott, the most points scored by a Blue Devil in McKinstry's six years at KCKCC.
"Tiaira really elevated her game from her freshman to sophomore season," said McKinstry. "Her speed and athleticism were very hard to defend and combined with her shooting ability and defense made her a huge weapon for our program."
Valentine, a 5-9 sophomore from Platte County, led the Blue Devils in scoring with a 13.6 average but missed the last 11 games including the playoffs and national tournament because of a leg injury. She also led the team in rebounds (6.5) and field goal shooting, knocking down 75 of 125 shots for 60 percent.
"One of our most consistent players since Day One, Hannah was a great addition to our program this year and very deserving of being recognized as one of the top players in our conference," said McKinstry. "Our leading scorer prior to her injury and the conference leader in field goal percentage, she is going to do big things wherever she lands next season."
Myers and Earnest were joined on the first team by Jaylen Townsend and Lajahda Boyland of Johnson County, Jayla Smith of Labette and Leikyn Walker of Fort Scott. Townsend, who led JCCC in scoring (14.6) was named the conference's Most Valuable Player while Walker is the first Fort Scott player to be named Freshman of the Year after leading the conference in scoring (19.5). Veteran Ben Conrad of JCCC was named Coach of the Year.