KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- If the first games of the new year are any indicators, Kansas City Kanas Community College is in for a whale of a 2015 basketball season.
Ranked No. 10 in the nation, the Lady Blue Devils scored the most points in KCKCC history with a 121-84 win over Brown Mackie Saturday while the Blue Devil men were winning a furious, gut-checking 84-78 decision over Brown Mackie’s defending Division II champions.
“A great, great win over a very good Brown Mackie team,” said an elated KCKCC men’s coach Kelley Newton. “The way we competed, especially rebounding against a team with so much size, was awesome.”
Then its Jayhawk Conference play the rest of the season starting with a home twin bill with perennial power Cowley Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m.
Two newcomers who were not eligible the first semester, 6-2 guard Babajide Aina, a transfer from Prairie View A&M, and 6-6 Chicago freshman LaShawn Lewis made major contributions to the men’s win.
Aina had a spectacular debut with 15 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists and six steals as he narrowly missed recording only the third KCKCC triple double in history while Lewis shared KCKCC scoring honors with 16 points before fouling out.
CJ Vallejo also had 16 points including 4-of-6 three-pointers while Austin Hall added 13 points and five rebounds, Joe Lendway 11 points and four rebounds and Ray Ridley nine points and three assists.
Rebounding was critical. Brown Mackie had two 6-11 sophomores in the starting lineup but the Blue Devils gave up only six offensive rebounds while playing the Lions even on the boards 42-42.
Trailing 61-50 with 15 minutes to go in a game that had 18 lead changes, KCKCC went ahead to stay 60-59 on the first of three quick layups by Hall and stretched the lead to 69-61 on baskets by Lendway, Ridley and a trey by Vallejo and led by as many as 12 in the closing seconds.
The Lady Blue Devils re-wrote the record book for points in the first half and total points in the opener.
Erin Anderson’s buzzer beating 3-pointer gave KCKCC a 66-47 halftime lead, eclipsing the previous record of 65 points also against Brown Mackie in 1995, and freshman Janay Jacobs’ two free throws with six seconds left erased the previous record of 120 points scored against Labette in 1996.
The two teams were tied three times and the lead changed hands six times early before sizzling KCKCC shooting broke the game wide open. For the first 17 minutes, the Blue Devils shot at a 70 percent pace and finished at 64.3 percent for the half and .554 for the game.
Eight Blue Devils scored in double figures, three more had eight or more.
“Very proud,” said Coach Valerie Stambersky. We scored and executed in all areas, a great way to start back the new year. But there’s still lots of business still ahead.”
Freshman Sierra Roberts led with 13 points while Janai Mitchell and Cierra Gaines had 12 each, Cheyenne North and Iland Shurn 11 each and Rashaun Casey, Anderson and Cassidy Harbert 10 apiece. Ky’Ana French added nine and Aricca Daye and Julia Garrard eight off the bench.
Anderson also had seven steals and Harbert and Gaines six assists as the Blue Devils had 29 assists on 46 field goals. North had eight rebounds and Anderson and French six each to lead KCKCC to a 52-38 rebounding advantage.