Led by the deadly second half shooting of sophomore Jordan Banks, Kansas City Kansas Community College staged one of its biggest comebacks in recent years at Highland Saturday.
Trailing 35-21 at halftime, the Blue Devils outscored the Scotties 48-28 the second half for a 69-63 victory that avenged an earlier 81-50 home loss to Highland.
The win also all but wrapped up a first round home playoff berth in the Division II regional tournament which will begin Saturday, March 2. At 5-4 with one game to go, KCKCC trails Brown Mackie (6-2) and Johnson County (5-3) for the two first round byes.
The Blue Devil women, however, must defeat Fort Scott here Saturday and get additional help to host a first round opener after dropping a 70-48 decision to No. 10 ranked Highland. At 2-5 and in fifth place, the Lady Blue Devils trail Hesston (2-5) for the final home playoff berth.
The Blue Devils now head into the stretch run with four of their final six twins bills at home starting with Independence Wednesday at 5 and 7 p.m. and Fort Scott Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m.
A perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range, Banks scored 16 of his game high 19 points to fuel the Blue Devils second half rally. “Banks was huge in the second half and Antonio Winn hit a big three to put us ahead by six with 55 seconds to go,” said coach Jon Oler. “We also got big production from Josh Rupprecht and Dominique Washington in our run back.”
Limited to two points each the first half, Washington had 10 and Rupperecht 9 and were a combined 8 of 13 in the second half while Banks was 6 of 7 as the Blue Devils shot 52.8 per cent from the field (19-of-36) after shooting just 30.4 percent the first half. Washington also had 14 rebounds and Rupprecht six as KCKCC won the rebound battle 36-30 while D.J. Booker handed out a game high five assists and added 10 points.
Tied with No. 2 Johnson County for first place in Division II at 7-1, the No. 10 Highland women took a 29-19 halftime in improving to 21-3 in the opener. Four Scotties finished in double figures scoring-wise. Paris Johnson had 12 points, Bailey West eight and Alexandria seven for KCKCC, which was just 13 of 56 for 23.2 percent. West also had seven rebounds and Blaurock six while Mariah Marusak led in assist with four.