Championship game Saturday after Banks’ overtime heroics oust Hesston 85-74
Kansas City Kansas Community College stands just one win away earning its first berth in a national men’s basketball tournament – thanks in no small part to an incredible game-breaking overtime performance by Jordan Banks.
In overtime thanks to a game-saving jump shot by D.J. Booker with 33 seconds to go, Banks turned in the most spectacular one minute and 20 seconds in KCKCC history Wednesday to lift the Blue Devils to an 85-74 win and a berth in the Region VI Division II championship game.
Brown Mackie (25-5) stands as the last remaining hurdle in a championship game that will be played at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hartman Arena in Park City just north of Wichita, a game that will be streamed on-line by KJCCC webmaster Russ Karn at mms://stream.highlandcc.edu:8081/basketball. The title game will give the Blue Devils (16-15) a chance to avenge earlier 77-64 and 91-68 losses. However, those games came during KCKCC’s 3-10 start. Since them, the Blue Devils are 13-5 in the most difficult part of the schedule.
But back to Banks, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Olathe East. Deadlocked at 68-68 in overtime, Banks put KCKCC ahead with two free throws with 3:46 left, drained a long 3-pointer at the 3:11 mark, grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the floor for a layup and then stole the ball and converted two free throws – a 9-0 explosion in a span of 1:20 that sealed the win with 2:27 to go.
“Huge,” said KCKCC Coach Jon Oler. “And he had the toughest job of anyone, guarding their No. 1 (Mahlon Jones). He really didn’t think offense until the overtime. He’s really been playing well the last 10 or 15 games.” Banks finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
He was by no means alone in the hero’s role. KCKCC, which led by 10 points midway through the second half, trailed only once on two Mahlon Jones’ free throws 68-66 with 55 seconds left but Booker got the Blue Devils back even on a jump.shot from the foul line with 33 seconds to go. “That was the biggest basket of the game. We really need it,” said Oler, who had seen his team let late leads get away early in the season.
The Blue Devils built leads of nine points in the first half and 10 in the second behind the scoring of freshman forward Dominque Washington, who had 28 points including four 3-pointers on six attempts, far and away a career best.
Washington also led in rebounds with nine while 6-10 Evrard Atcho added eight and six points. “Atcho was big,’ said Oler. “He blocked five shots and I’ll bet he altered 10 others because we kept him in the middle and made them come to him.”
With backcourt mate Antonio Winn fouling out with 2½ minutes left, Booker took control the final 7½ minutes, finishing with 14 points and a game high six assists. The Blue Devils also got a huge lift off the bench from freshman Lamonte Burgette, who had 10 points, while Josh Rupprecht added nine points, three rebounds and three assists.