Playing for homecourt advantage in the opening round of Region VI playoffs, Allen County Community College’s Red Devils and the Independence Community College Pirates staged a pretty good basketball game Saturday.
The Red Devils had the opportunity in front of them to earn the No. 1 seed from the Jayhawk Eastern Division going into the tournament. All they needed to do was win.
They opened strong, 5-0, but came up short at the end. Independence outscored Allen County 43-32 in the second half to claim a 76-74 victory.
The loss knocked the Red Devils down to the No. 5 seed out of the Jayhawk East. Coffeyville earned the East’s No. 1 seed at 10-4 with Cowley County (10-4) at No. 2.
Independence, Neosho County and Allen County all tied at 9-5 in Region VI competition. And that’s how they go into the tournament three, four and five.
In the Jayhawk East, Cowley took the division title at 14-4 followed by Coffeyville at 13-5. Allen County tied with Neosho County and Independence, all at 12-6, for third place.
“We didn’t have things fall our way tonight, especially late. We played a good game but Independence knew they had to win also to get a home playoff game,” said Mike Hayes, ACCC head coach.
“We were focused coming out in the first half but not as focused in the second half. We didn’t have our normal energy to start in the second half and I used a lot of timeouts.”
Allen County pushed out to a 9-3 lead. Chris Lee had a free throw then a dunk then Anthony Clagett hit two free throws. Clagett and Dennis Rumph had back-to-back baskets to give ACCC the lead.
Independence stayed in the game. It was 14-13 when Keevis Tukes nailed a three-pointer for ACCC with 11:57 left. Allen County moved to a 22-17 lead when the Pirates rattled off six unanswered points to gain their first lead of the night.
Rumph’s two foul shots tied the game at 24-24. Tukes drained a three and Clagett turned a steal into two points to put ACCC back in front 29-25.
Andra Bailey, who leads the junior college ranks in rebounding, had a putback for two. Aaron Jackson hit a three and downed two free throws in the final minute, giving ACCC a 42-34 halftime advantage.
Jaurrice Magg-Downing’s three-pointer sparked a 10-0 run by the Pirates to open the second half. Rumph’s basket with 17:22 on the clock tied the game at 44-44.
Clagett scored to take the lead as the teams began a back-and-forth contest. Allen County’s last lead of the game was 66-65 with 2:53 left to play.
“We missed free throws and had too many turnovers in the last three minutes of the game,” Hayes said.
Anthony Downing nailed a three at the 1:58 mark to put Independence up 70-66. Allen County’s Erik Law scored and was fouled. He missed the free throw then missed on a one-and-one 45 seconds later.
But Allen County still had the basketball down two with 1:05 left. The Red Devils threw the ball away.
Bobby Jones sank two free throws. The Pirates were 19 of 20 at the foul line in the game.
Clagett drove to the basket scored, was fouled and hit the free throw. It was 72-71 with 43 second left.
Independence missed its next shot but pulled the offensive rebound with 20.9 seconds and leading by one.
Derrick Washington downed two foul shots at the 10.7-second mark. Clagett missed two free throws four seconds later and Jones sank two with five second left.
Tukes’ three was on the mark but time ran out on the Red Devils, 76-74.
The loss puts Allen County on the road in the Region VI playoffs. The Red Devils play at Dodge City (20-10) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Winners of the first round advance to the tournament at Koch Arena in Wichita this weekend.
Clagett and Tukes, who had five threes, led Allen County with 19 points each. Bailey had 10 rebounds and Jackson had three assists.
The Red Devils shot 63 percent, 28 of 44, from the field. They hit 12 of 18 free throw attempts.
Independence got 16 points from Anthony Downing, who hit four threes. Magg-Downing had 12 points and Tokie Aromona added 11 points.
The Pirates were 25 of 42, 59.5 percent, from the field.
It was sophomore night for ACCC as Jackson, Clagett, Gavin Cole, Bailey and Lee played their final home game. Sophomore Greg Hayes of Iola was not at the game because of “injuries and illness prevented him from playing the past three games and he didn’t want to take anything away from the other sophomores,” said Coach Hayes.
Allen County (42-32—74) (FG/3-pt): Rumph 2-2-3-6, Jackson 0/1-3-2-6, Clagett 8-3-4-19, Cole 1-2-0-4, Lee 4-1-3-9, Tukes 2/5-0-1-19, Law 2-0-1-4, Bailey 3-1-4-7. TOTALS: 22/6-12-18-74.
Independence (34-42—76) (FG/3-pt): McKensie 1/1-2-3-7, Downing 2/4-2-4-16, Aromona 4/1-0-1-11, Magg-Downing 3/1-3-1-12, Ensley 3-2-5-8, Jones 1-6-2-8, Washington 1-2-1-4, Carter 1-2-1-4, Hjnuhi 3-0-1-6. TOTALS: 18/7-19-19-76.
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