Coffeyville will hold on to its No. 2 ranking in the NJCAA Division I national basketball poll but it took everything in the Red Ravens’ deep arsenal to turn back dogged Kansas City Kansas Community College 83-81 Wednesday night.
The loss ended an 8-game KCKCC winning streak and extended Coffeyville’s winning streak to 22 in a row as the Ravens (29-1) finished Jayhawk Conference play 18-0. The Blue Devils (15-15), meanwhile, finished in a three-way tie for third in the Jayhawk Conference at 10-8 and now will await the winner of Saturday’s Hesston at Johnson County playoff opener for a District II semifinal at home next Wednesday, March 6.
The KCKCC women’s hopes of hosting a first round playoff game Saturday, however, were dashed not by a 58-43 loss to Coffeyville but Hesston’s 77-68 upset win at Brown Mackie. The Lady Blue Devils (10-20) will now open the Division II playoffs at Hesston (14-15) Saturday at 2 p.m. KCKCC lost to Hesston 52-44 at home in mid-December but won at Hesston 67-45 Feb. 4.
Coffeyville had to rely on some extraordinary performances for the Red Ravens to get past the scrappy Blue Devils in the men’s game. A Coffeyville team that shot 33.3 percent from 3-point for the first 29 games this season was 9 of 17 from 3-point for 52.9 percent.
“They made only one 3-pointer against us at Coffeyville,” lamented KCKCC coach Jon Oler of an earlier 71-65 loss in which the Blue Devils had led much of the way.
The Ravens also were 14 of 16 from the foul line (.875) including six straight in the final 19 seconds after hitting only 66.4 percent during the season. Every one was needed because the Blue Devils shot 52.5 percent from the field, made 11 3-pointers (45.8 percent), 8 of 12 free throws and won the rebound battle 33-26.
“We just could never get over the hump,” said Oler, whose Blue Devils were down 14 points at 51-37 with 18 minutes left only to pull even at 60-60 in a span of just eight minutes. Josh Rupperecht and Dominique Washington triggered the comeback with seven points each.
It was still 67-67 with six minutes to go when Coffeyville’s Earl Peterson converted four straight free throws and a 3-pointer for a 74-67 lead and protected it with 6-for-6 free throws in the final 19 seconds to hold off the Blue Devils, who converted three 3-pointers, two by D.J. Booker and one by Jordan Banks, in those 19 seconds. Peterson, who was 8-of-11 from the field, 5-of-6 from 3-point and 10-of-10 from the foul line, finished with 31 points.
Five Blue Devils finished in double figures led by Washington’s 23 points and game high 11 rebounds. Booker, who was 4-of-5 from 3-point, added 16, Antonio Winn and Evrard Atcho 11 each, Rupprecht 10 and Banks 9. Atcho also had seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Coffeyville broke open a tight women’s game in the second half by hitting 12 of 24 shots to just 8 of 30 (26.7 percent) for KCKCC. Jherica Montgomery led KCKCC with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Bailey West added 10 points, Alexandria Blaurock 9 and 9 rebounds and Mariah Marusak 8 points.
The game was the final home contest for seven sophomores – Blaurock, Montgomery, Marusak, Brittany Clement, Nage Umutlu, Paris Johnson and Latosha Ware.
The games also signaled KCKCC’s final games in Division I Jayhawk play and will be the last against Coffeyville unless the Ravens are added to the non-conference schedule.