Although it wasn’t easy, the streaking Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College accomplished all they could do to get a first round playoff bye with a 71-66 win over Fort Scott Saturday. Now they need some help – ironically from Fort Scott.
Assured of at least a tie for second in Division II play, the Blue Devils (6-4) can claim undisputed possession of second place if Fort Scott can defeat Johnson County (5-4) at home Saturday. A JCCC win, however, would give the Cavaliers the bye based on defeating league-leading Brown Mackie early in the season and force KCKCC to host a first round playoff March 2.
The Lady Blue Devil women also need help after posting a 42-34 win over Fort Scott. At 3-7, the Blue Devils could gain a tie for fourth place with Hesston (3-6) if Hesston were to lose at Brown Mackie Feb. 27. In case of a two-way tie for fourth, a coin flip would probably decide whether KCKCC or Hesston would host a March 2 first round playoff game.
However, more pressing business is at hand for both teams as they close out the Jayhawk Conference road season with twin bills at Neosho County tonight and Allen County Wednesday before closing regular season at home against Labette Saturday and Coffeyville Feb. 27.
Trailing by as many as 12 points with five minutes left in the half, the Blue Devils used 52 percent second half shooting to stretch their winning streak to five in a row and climb into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Jayhawk East at 7-7.
Dominique Washington and D.J. Booker led the second half comeback, combining for 23 points to erase a 33-31 halftime deficit. Washington, who was 10 of 12 from the field, had 12 of his game high 23 points in the final half while Booker had 11 of his 14. Evrard Atcho added 11 points and four blocks and Lamonte Burgette three 3-pointers including a pair to keep KCKCC in front in the final 10 minutes.
Fort Scott got within three points in the final minutes but the Blue Devils got a big block from Atcho, forced two turnovers and got two clutch free throws from Josh Rupperecht and one each from Booker and Antonio Winn to hold on. Booker had six assists and Winn five while Washington had 10 rebounds, Rupprecht eight and Booker seven as KCKCC controlled the boards 38-31.
Limiting Fort Scott to four first half field goals, the KCKCC women opened a 20-10 lead and never trailed in the opener. The Lady Blue Devils also dominated the rebounding 51-41 and forced 19 turnovers.
Alexandria Blaurock led with 11 points while Mariah Marusak added eight and Latosha Ware seven while Paris Johnson had nine rebounds and Bailey West eight.