Dominant performance sends KCKCC to national tournament

The NJCAA DII Region VI champion Blue Devils are No. 1 after an 84-71 win over Highland Tuesday. Members and coaches include, front row, Caroline Hoppock, Lexy Watts, Caitlyn Stewart, Lizzie Stark, Lenaejha Evans, Camryn Swanson, back row, coach Timeka O’Neal, Diamond Williams, coach Joe McKinstry, Nija Collier, Brodi Byrd, Lillie Moore, Carson Chandler, Kisi Young and manager Liz Briggs. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

As Julius Caesar once famously said and musicians later immortalized, “They came…they saw…they conquered.”

And boy did they conquer. With a national tournament berth on the line, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s No. 7 ranked Lady Blue Devils took control early and never looked back in an 84-71 thrashing of No. 6 Highland to win the NJCAA DII Region VI championship at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas, Tuesday.

With their first Jayhawk Conference title safely tucked away, the sweep of the region championship is the first ever and sends the Blue Devils (29-4) to the NJCAA national tourney in Harrison, Arkansas, March 19-23. Sixteen teams will qualify for the double elimination tourney with pairings to be announced next Tuesday.

Tuesday’s game was never in doubt after the Blue Devils bolted to a 35-26 lead in the waning minutes of the first half and then built leads of 19 and 20 points in the final half. It was 79-61 when KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry emptied his bench with 2:11 remaining.

So dominant were the Blue Devils that they won convincingly despite giving up a whopping 25 turnovers. Of Highland’s 71 points, 33 came off turnovers, mostly the result of 13 Scottie steals. Another 24 Highland points came off eight 3-pointers (six in the final quarters).

“Our girls did a fantastic job of making things difficult for Highland all night long,” McKinstry said. “I can’t remember very many times in the half court where Highland got an easy opportunity at the basket. We put in some new things Monday and tried hard to identify the strengths of each of their players and to do our best at making those things challenging for them.”

Sophomore Lillie Moore led the way offensively with one of her best performances of the season – 25 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Freshmen sharpshooters Brodi Byrd and Lenaejha Evans added 14 and 13 points, knocking down a combined five 3-pointers that generally came at the most opportune of times.

“Lillie was phenomenal,” McKinstry said. “Brodi and Lenaejha were great; so was Camryn (Swanson). This is the two-year plan we started a year ago with this sophomore group. This conference is so tough and now we have to go and represent it well and hopefully win some games in Arkansas.”

Neither Nija Collier nor Kisi Young played half the game and combined for just 10 shots because of foul trouble but Collier still scored 10 points and Young seven. Camryn Swanson added six points, Caitlyn Stewart five, Lexy Watts four and Caroline Hoppock three to round out the scoring.

But it wasn’t the offense that won this one. It was a defense that limited the Scotties to 24 of 72 shots for a chilly 33.3 percent and totally dominated the rebounding 54-30. In addition to Moore’s 14 rebounds, Byrd had eight, Swanson seven, Young five, Stewart four and Collier three.

With Moore and Collier each swatting away a pair of shots and Bryd, Evans, Swanson, Hoppock and others clogging up the middle, the Blue Devils gave up almost no close-range shots. Forced to go outside, the Scotties were just 2-for-18 from 3-point through three quarters (11.1 percent) before connecting on six treys the final period (8-of-31).

“Highland is a great team and they’re very talented at driving the basketball so we just wanted to try and stay in their way as best we could,” McKinstry said. “They made six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter so that reflects a bit of a difference on the final stats but coming into the fourth quarter they were 2 for 18 from 3-point, which helped us being able to guard their drives as well as we did.”

Highland led only 36 seconds as Moore and Stewart erased any concerns that the Blue Devils might be too tight by knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers and Moore tossed in a blocked shot on the way to a 9-4 lead in the first two minutes. Closest Highland could get was 28-26 only to have the Blue Devils pitch a shutout the final 2½ minutes of the half while building a 35-26 lead.

Byrd and Moore led the way the first half, each with 11 points. Moore also had nine rebounds and Byrd six and three assists and the lead might have been far greater had it not been for eight KCKCC turnovers the Scotties converted into 14 points – mostly on steals and breakaway layups.

Shooting 57.1 percent from the field the third quarter, the Blue Devils built their lead to 53-34 in the first five minutes and then quickly repulsed a couple of late Highland challenges. The Scotties got to 61-50 with eight minutes left but Moore just beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer and Collier scored off a rebound to rebuild the lead to 66-50.

Highland again got it to 66-56 with 6:20 left by Evans responded immediately with a corner 3-pointer, Moore scored twice from close range and Swanson hit a trey – a 10-0 run for a 76-56 bulge.

KCKCC, which needed only 51 shots for 25 field goals for 49.0 percent (9-of-22 from three, .409), led for all but one minute and 14 seconds.

It was a jubilant group of Lady Blue Devils celebrating an 84-71 Region VI championship win over Highland to go along with an outright Jayhawk Conference championship. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
KCKCC sophomore Lillie Moore acrobatically maneuvered between two Highland defenders while Nija Collier (14) rushed for a possible rebound in the Blue Devils’ 84-71 win over Highland. Moore had 25 points and 11 rebounds. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

Benefit book sale returns to KCKCC March 12-14

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

Looking for great deals on used books, while helping students in financial need at the same time? Then Kansas City Kansas Community College’s upcoming My Shelf To Yours Book Sale is the place to be.

The book sale is returning to KCKCC in March, raising funds for students on campus. The sale is from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 12 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13 and 14 in Room 2325 on the lower level of the Jewell Building on the KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave. The sale is open to the public as well as students, staff and faculty.

All books will be $1 or seven books for $5, and proceeds benefit the student scholarship fund. The Intercultural Center uses the fund to distribute scholarships for textbooks and tuition to students who have a financial need. In addition, there will also be beverages and snacks for sale as well as fashion jewelry and other local vendors.

Created in 2010, the goal of My Shelf To Yours is to promote scholarship, leadership, entrepreneurship and sustainability by selling donated used books both online and on-ground. The student-operated store has gained national recognition from eBay’s Green Team for recycling books to help fellow students who need assistance with purchasing textbooks and with college tuition.

Since the event started almost nine years ago, more than 80,000 books have been donated from 425 individuals. This has helped over 500 students receive more than 1,300 textbooks and has awarded more than $30,000 in scholarships.

My Shelf To Yours donates any unsold book donations from the sale to local charities and organizations.

For more information, please contact Allen Lenoir at 913-288-7154 or by email at alenoir@kckcc.edu or Marquis Harris at 913-288-7375 or by email at maharris@kckcc.edu.

Public hearing on UG budget to be held Thursday

A public hearing on the 2020 budget process and the 2019 Community Development budget is planned at the 7 p.m. meeting Thursday, March 7, at the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

During the public hearing, residents may make comments on budget priorities, initiatives and how they would like the UG to spend its money. The budget will come to a final vote in the summer.

Residents also may fill out a budget initiative form online at www.wycokck.org, and submit it before noon April 5. The form will allow residents to state programs they would like to have funded by the UG.

Also on the UG agenda at 7 p.m. March 7 are the Kaw River Bank Turkey Creek stabilization project; refinancing of the prior Indian Springs bonds; and setting a public hearing date of April 11 for the downtown grocery redevelopment plan.

Items on the 7 p.m. March 7 agenda include:
• Presentation of Police Department awards.
• The annual State of the Court address by Administrative Judge Maurice Ryan, Judge Brandelyn Nichols-Brajkovic and Court Administrator Crystal Sprague of the Municipal Court.
• Appointing a Municipal Court judge for the remainder of Judge Brandy Nichols-Brajkovic’s term.
• Setting maximum speed limit of 25 mph in any residential district, 20 mph in parks, and other speed limits in the community.
• An agreement with the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools to share student information in the OK program with the police department.
• Acquiring property through eminent domain for the Lombardy Drive sewer improvement project at 22nd and Lombardy drive. A failing sewer main will be relocated.
• An agreement with Fire District 1 of Leavenworth County for automatic aid in emergencies.
• An ordinance requiring fireworks stands and locations to have four fire extinguishers, to have products delivered directly to the stand and to require inventory lists of items on the premises.
• An amendment allowing the fire marshal to enforce violations of the prohibition on open burning.
• An amendment to use the language of the 2018 International Fire Code on recordkeeping for fire alarm systems and fire suppression systems.
• Resolutions that would allow $10 million to be spent on the Kaw River Bank Stabilization at Turkey Creek project, with general obligation bonds or temporary notes issued to finance it. A resolution authorizing sale of general obligation temporary notes to fund $7.5 million of project costs for the project. Earlier, $2.5 million was authorized for the project.
• Refinancing old Indian Springs bonds: A home rule ordinance authorizing general obligation economic development bonds to fund land acquisition and demolition of the Indian Springs site, and authorizing refunding a portion or all of the prior series of bonds for this purpose for interest savings.
• A resolution to set a public hearing date of 7 p.m. April 11 for the redevelopment project plan for the downtown grocery redevelopment district.
• Land Bank items.

At the 5 p.m. meeting:
A special meeting of the UG Commission will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the fifth floor conference room at City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas. A presentation on S.O.A.R. year-end and 2019 goals is planned.
Then the UG Commission plans to recess and convene as the Board of Health for a presentation on the Board of Health.

The agendas are online at www.wycokck.org.