2A semifinal setting for Yuma-Wray rivalry

It will be a Yuma County Showdown in the Class 2A boys basketball semifinals, tonight, March 18.
The top-seed Wray Eagles will be hosting fourth-seed Yuma Indians at 7 p.m. in the Eagles Nest.
The winner advances to the 2A championship game, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. Tonight’s other semifinal has second-seed Limon hosting third-seed Peyton.

It almost assuredly will be the latest meeting in a season between the ancient rivals — matching the Yuma and Wray girls meeting in the 2A semifinals in 2017.
Ironically, this also is one of the few times through the decades the Indians and Eagles did not play each other during the regular season.
They were on course to meet in Yuma in the regular-season finale with the Lower Platte Activities Association title on the line.
However, the Indians canceled its last four regular-season games due to a COVID-19 case and the ensuing quarantine. Yuma finished with a 6-0 mark in the LPAA, leaving its league winning streak at 30 games. The program missed out on a chance at winning a fourth straight league title, though, as MaxPreps metrics were used to determine Wray as the LPAA champion.
Wray enters the game a perfect 14-0, including an 86-57 win over Monte Vista in the Sweet 16, followed by a 74-44 win over Sedgwick County this past Monday in the quarterfinals.
Luckily, the Indians came out of quarantine just in time to prepare for the start of the 2A playoffs last week. They had a first-round bye, then barely hung on to beat 13th-seed Fowler, 66-65, last Thursday in a Sweet 16 game in The Pit.
They then faced off against 12th-seed Wiggins, another league team they did not get to play at the end of the regular season, Monday night in The Pit. The Indians’ explosiveness was on full display as they pulled away to a 99-70 win, advancing to the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.
It was Yuma’s ninth straight win after opening the season 0-3.
One of those early losses came at home against Limon. A scheduled game with Peyton was one of the four lost at the end of the regular season.

Cade Morton makes a move to the basket while helping the Yuma boys to two home wins in the 2A playoffs this past week. (Pioneer Photo)
Yuma, Wray and Limon all had advanced to the semifinals last year when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the remaining two days of the state tournament. Yuma was to play Limon, and Wray was to go against Highland, which is now in 3A.
They all are back, but now in a different kind of playoff atmosphere as the higher seed is hosting each game until the championship. It also comes at the end of a shortened 14-game Season B.
Last Thursday’s Sweet 16 game was the Indians’ first since February 20 in Burlington, a 65-25 win. Meanwhile, Fowler had beat Vail Mountain a few nights earlier, and had played a total of six games since the Indians last competed.
Plus, Yuma and Fowler have created quite a postseason rivalry. The Indians held off the Grizzlies in an exciting state semifinal in 2019, and did the same in the quarterfinals last year.
Now they were meeting in the Sweet 16, and the Grizzlies definitely were hungry for revenge.
Several times it appeared Yuma could be one-and-done in the 2021 postseason. The Indians answered each challenge, however, including Clay Robinson converting an “and-one” off a steal for the winning points with 30 seconds left.
Yuma didn’t show any rust early as the Indians opened up a 22-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Jesus Ross gets up a shot in the lane during the win over Wiggins, Monday night in The Pit. (Pioneer Photo)

However, Fowler did not back down, pulling to within 32-29 by halftime. The Indians were able to keep Fowler at bay in the third, but never led by more than five points. The Grizzlies got within 48-47, but Yuma closed the quarter on a 4-0 run and led 52-48.
Fowler opened the fourth on an 11-2 run for a 59-54 lead with under 5 minutes left. Plus, Robinson picked up his fourth foul.
The Indians are a deep team, though, and Beau Tate scored seven straight to help tie the score at 62 with under 2 minutes left.
Fowler regained a 65-62 lead.
Robinson made one free throw with 41 seconds left, then right after came up with the steal, converted layup while being fouled and knocked down the free throw.
The Yuma defense then prevented Fowler from getting off a good shot in the final seconds.
Robinson finished with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, Tate 14 points and eight rebounds, Javier Gamboa 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists, Jesus Ross six points, five rebounds and three steals, Forest Rutledge five points, three rebounds and two steals, Javier Duran four points and three rebounds, Cade Morton three points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, Lane Remmich two points, and Jaxson Lungwitz two points and two steals.

The Indians were back on the court Monday night against the Wiggins Tigers. They again were challenged early on, but their overwhelming depth eventually led to a blowout victory — coming up one point short of the century mark in the 99-70 win.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Robinson and Morton gave Yuma a 21-15 lead, but Wiggins battled back to take a 25-23 lead early in the second quarter.
Ross answered with seven straight points, sparking a 16-2 run for a 39-27 lead.
Yuma led 46-27 at halftime.
The Indians then opened the third on a 10-2. Wiggins stuck around, getting as close as 12, 64-52.
Yuma’s onslaught kept coming, though, including 32 points in the fourth quarter to win going away.
Javier Gamboa eyes the ball for a steal during the win over Wiggins, Monday night in The Pit. (Pioneer Photo)
A total of 11 Indians scored. Gamboa finished with 22 points and two steals, Robinson 20 points, eight rebounds and seven steals, Ross 15 points, two rebounds and two steals, Morton 12 points and two steals, Tate eight points and nine rebounds, Duran eight points, two assists and three steals, Remmich four points and two rebounds, Rutledge four points and six rebounds, Lungwitz two points
Beau Tate looks to score during the 2A quarterfinal win over Wiggins, Monday night in The Pit. (Pioneer Photo)
and two rebounds, Andre Baucke two points and two rebounds and Kobe Rayl two points.
Yuma shot 56 percent, including making 10 fo 21 from behind the arc, and made 23 of 26 at the charity stripe, along with holding a huge 36-15 rebounding advantage.