By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas City Kansas Community College continued to be tough on the premier Jayhawk Conference teams on the road Saturday, jolting Johnson County’s chance for a first place tie with a 59-56 win.
The win improved the Blue Devils’ record to 14-9 while preventing the Cavaliers (4-3) from pulling into a tie with Hesston (5-2) atop the Region VI Division II standings.
“From a mental aspect, this was our most impressive win of the season,” said Coach Kelley Newton, whose Blue Devils have also won on the road at Coffeyville and Independence.
The Blue Devils built a 31-26 lead at halftime, gave it up a couple times late in the game and then reopened a 57-52 lead with 1:01 left and held on.
“We made some good defensive stands at the end,” said Newton. “We knew they would be going to No. 11 (Danzel Wright) and we did a good job on him.” Wright finished as the game’s leading scorer with 23 points but was just 2-for-9 from 3-point.
“We also got a lot better play from our point guards,” said Kelley. The Blue Devils as a team had just 10 turnovers for the game after guards had 13 turnovers at Fort Scott the previous game.
Joe Lendway led the Blue Devils with 18 points and 7 rebounds while Dehven Talley added 14 points, CJ Vallejo 11 and LaShawn Lewis 8. Talley and Vallejo each had a trio of 3-pointers. Babajide Aina led Blue Devil rebounding with eight while Ray Ridley led in assists with five and steals with four.
The Blue Devils are right back on the road Wednesday at Labette at 8 p.m. before returning home to host Fort Scott Saturday (4 p.m.) and Hesston a week from Wednesday, Feb. 11.
PHOTO: All ears were focused on Coach Kelley Newton in the closing minutes of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 59-56 win at Johnson County Saturday. (KCKCC Photo)