Record Blue Devils rally comes up short, 97-94

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

It was one of the biggest comebacks in Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball history. Unfortunately, it was not a triumphant comeback.

Trailing by 18 points with 15 minutes remaining, the Blue Devils forged a 94-94 tie before free throws provided William Penn’s junior varsity a 97-94 win in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Saturday.

The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 2-3 with all three losses decided in the final seconds. They resume action Wednesday when they play host to Southeast Nebraska at 7 p.m. in a game that will be streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website.

“We didn’t come prepared and that’s on me,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. ”We like to use these games to get ourselves going but William Penn is not your typical JV team. They’ve got some good players, That’s why their varsity (13-1) is ranked No. 2 in the nation. They are a good team and beat us in every way from beginning to the end. I’m proud of how hard we fought but the effort wasn’t enough. We have to get better.”

The Statesmen took command early, jumping out to a 11-6 lead in the first five minutes and expanding it to 54-44 at halftime and 65-47 with 15 minutes remaining. The Blue Devils mustered one comeback midway through the second half, closing to 75-69 only to have it fizzle out when William Penn went on an 11-0 run for an 86-69 bulge.

The Blue Devils were still down 91-80 before making a 14-3 comeback to get the game even. Layups by DeAngelo Bell and Trey Bates and a dunk off a steal by Caleb Jones made it 93-92 and another Jones basket pulled KCKCC even 94-94 with 15.4 seconds left and a chance to win.

But an errant in-bounds pass, subsequent foul and William Penn free throw broke the deadlock and Bates’ 10-footer from in front of the basket bounced off the rim. The Statesmen added two clinching free throws with 2.3 left.

The Blue Devils shot the ball well – 49.3 percent from the field (36-73) and .407 from 3-point (11-27) but sabotaged the effort by converting only 11-of-28 free throws (.393) and turning the ball over 23 times.

KCKCC got big performances from former Harmon standout DeAngelo Bell, who had a career-high 21 points including 3-of-5 3-pointers, and Caleb Jones, who had a double-double with 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, Shaylon Janloo added 17 points, Trey Bates 13, Bryce Johnson 10 and Jermaine Yarbough 8. Bates also had eight assists and Bell four while Don’vae Ferguson took down six rebounds.