Playing basketball and having fun doing it. That’s a goal for Allen County Community College’s Red Devil women.
Winning is a goal too. The Red Devils did both at home Saturday against the NJCAA Division II 12th-ranked Highland Community College Scotties.
After losing its initial 8-0 lead when Highland scored nine unanswered points in a three-minute span, Allen County took over. The Red Devils never trailed in last 33 minutes of play to claim a 61-51 win.
It was the first Jayhawk Eastern Division win for the Red Devils. Allen County improved to 1-3 in conference and 7-9 overall.
They travel to Kansas City, Kan., Community College tonight. KCK is 1-3 and 10-5.
“After Wednesday, we got back to basics. We got back to what made us successful in the first semester. That’s playing hard and having fun,” said Andy Hamilton, Red Devil women’s head coach.
“This was a total team effort. This is the team playing the way we’ve known it was capable of playing.”
Breanna Shaw, Allen County’s and the conference’s leading scorer, set the tone. Shaw nailed a three-pointer to open the game.
But as Hamilton had talked about after a disappointing loss Wednesday, Allen County did not have to rely on Shaw or Dysyan Malone for the bulk of the scoring. The team’s top two scorers combined for 25 points against Highland.
“We got scoring from six other players with four or more points. Our players never got down. When Highland made runs at us, no panic. We just worked right back offensively and picked things up defensively,” Hamilton said.
When Karli Abbey converted on a conventional three-point play to put the Scotties up 9-8, there was no panic. Eight seconds is all it took for the Red Devils to regain the lead.
Maurissa Shaffer drove to the basket for two at the 13:01 mark. Allen County never trailed again.
Jazmynn Johnson scored on the inside for the Red Devils. Malone, who paced the Red Devils with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, hit both ends of a one-and-one for a 14-10 lead.
Kynesha Nisbett upped the margin with a three-pointer. The Scotties stayed within seven, 22-15.
Nisbett sparked a 6-2 run for the Red Devils into halftime. Johnson added a field goal then Aeriss McNeese swiped the basketball and made a layup.
The Red Devils held a 28-17 advantage at intermission.
“We really worked on hitting the glass to rebound and defensively, we put the clamps down on them in the first half. Our goal was to hold them under 60 points and we did that,” Hamilton said.
No letdown came for Allen County. It was 30-21 when Shaw nailed another trey to touch off a 12-2 surge by ACCC. Shaffer hit a three at the 14:50 mark which increased the Red Devil advantage to 19 points.
Highland trimmed the margin to nine points, 44-35, with 9:05 left. Allen County bumped it back up to 54-37 by the 6:17 mark.
Malone scored three straight points then Jennifer House had a rebound for a up-and-under putback.
The Red Devils shot 34.5 percent, 20 of 58, from the field and dropped in 17 of 23 free throw attempts.
Shaw ended up with 10 points. Johnson added eight while House and McNeese had seven points each.
Allen County outrebounded Highland 47 to 35. Hamilton said he’d really like his team’s turnover total, 24, to shrink.
“We want people to watch us play and say, ‘That’s a team that is having fun playing basketball.’” Hamilton said. “Those watching tonight saw that. When we’re playing hard, supporting each other, playing unselfish basketball, good things happen.”
Highland went 17 of 56, 30 percent, from the field and was 15 of 20 at the free-throw line.
Amy Green led the Scotties with 17 points. Abbey had 11 points.
The Red Devils are back home Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip against Neosho County Community College.
Allen County travels to Coffeyville on Saturday. That game starts at 2 p.m.
Allen County (28-33—61) (FG/3-pt): Shaw 0/2-4-2-10, Shaffer 1/1-0-1-5 Malone 4/1-4-1-15, Best 0-0-3-0, McNeese 2-3-2-7, Rockhold 2-0-3-4, House 2-3-2-7 Nisbett 1-3-2-5, Johnson 4-0-4-8. TOTALS: 16/4-17-20-61.
Highland (17-34—51) (FG/3-pt): Deleon 0-0-1-0 Weege 0-2-0-2, Abbey 4–2-11, Prenger 1-0-3-2, Pettway 0-0-2-0, Danielson 2-0-0-4, Stephenson 1-0-2-2, Green 5-7-2-17, Lester 0-0-1-0, Ewigman 0/1-0-3-3, Dishon 1-3-0-5, Tittel 1/1-0-2-5, Kuker 000-1-0. TOTALS: 15/2-15-19-51.
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