Red Devils fall in Region VI playoffs

Allen Community College must wait until Tuesday to find out if the Red Devil women will be invited to play in the NJCAA-Division II National Tournament after ACC was eliminated in the Region VI playoffs semifinal round against Kansas City Kansas.

Sports

March 11, 2024 - 3:07 PM

Allen Community College's Noa Muranaka (2) drives with the ball in a game earlier this season. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

OVERLAND PARK — Struggles from the field, and a sizable disparity at the free throw line, spelled doom for Allen Community College Friday.

The Red Devils were within three points down the stretch, but nevertheless fell short, 63-56, to Kansas City Kansas in the Region VI playoff semifinals.

Barring an at-large invitation to the upcoming NJCAA-Division II National Tournament, Friday’s setback brings to an end the 2023-24 season for the nation’s 13th ranked Red Devil squad.

“There’s the adage that it’s hard to beat the same team three times,” Red Devil head coach Leslie Crane said. “And we weren’t as aggressive as were capable of being, and the times we were, we were penalized for it. We just did not play smart at times.”

A cool start set the tone. Kansas City, which never trailed in the contest, jumped out to a 17-11 lead after one quarter before Allen found its stride on offense in the second period.

Khassidy Warr’s jumper with 5:48 left in the half capped a 9-2 run to pull Allen to within 21-20.

But Kansas City responded by scoring eight of the next 10 points to re-establish a seven-point cushion.

A similar pattern followed for the balance of the game. The Blue Devils never led by more than eight, but Allen never got closer than three in the second half.

Sarang West, who led ACC with 14 points, hit a pair of free throws with 6:35 left in the game to pull Allen to within 47-44. But Kansas City responded with five straight points as Allen missed its next seven field goal attempts.

“There were at least two or three times where we had shots go in and out,” Crane said. “Sarang had a couple, and the twins (Kassidy and Khamille Warr) had shots rim out.”

West’s 3-pointer with 3:17 left, followed by layups by Sara Ortiz and Abigail Alvarez could do no better than keep ACC within five as the game clock seeped away.

The Blue Devils’ Jailynn Schmaltz converted a 3-point play with 1:39 remaining, making it 59-51. Allen’s Noa Muranaka hit a trey with 48 seconds left, slicing the deficit to 59-54. The Red Devils forced a miss with 34 ticks remaining, and Alvarez scored inside, making it 59-56 at the 27-second mark.

Kansas City slammed the door on any comeback attempt by hitting its last four free throw attempts to cap the scoring.

Khassidy Warr scored 10 points with six rebounds. Ortiz added 10 points, three assists and two steals. Khamille Warr had five boards.

Rogers led three KCK players in double figures with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Schmaltz added 13 points and Victoria Jones had 10.

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