Great season ended in Great 8 for Yuma boys

A great run came to an ending too soon for the Yuma High School boys basketball team.
Yuma made it to the Great 8 in the program’s first season back in Class 3A in more than a decade.
However, the local boys ran into top-seed Faith Christian in the quarterfinals, last Thursday in Hamilton Gym on the University of Denver campus.

The end result was a 73-49 loss to the Eagles, who went on to defeat Highland and Salida for their first state title in nearly a decade.
“We just didn’t get it done (that night),” Yuma head coach Dave Sheffield said, “but these guys had a great season.”
Yuma finished with an 18-6 record and the program’s sixth straight trip to the state tournament, the previous five coming in 2A, including three state championships. Yuma’s last 3A state tournament appearance came in 2009, as the program dropped to 2A two seasons later and advanced to the state tournament seven times.
Sheffield said basketball is still basketball regardless of classification, but acknowledged there is more size and speed in 3A.
“I thought these kids did a real good job,” he said.
The coach noted that it was an odd season for the former Indians as eight games were rescheduled due to weather and other circumstances, and there were 10 fewer practices due to the same reasons.
“The amount of time we came in with our game gear ready and then have to switch back to practice was ridiculous,” Sheffield said. “I was really proud of how this team responded.”
While getting to the state quarterfinals is a great accomplishment, Sheffield noted that “when you’ve had great success, just getting there is not enough (for everyone involved with the program.)”
Yuma had pushed Faith Christian in the district final two weeks earlier, leading by three early in the fourth quarter, and barely lost at Highland to a team that reached the semifinals last week. The team beat several 3A schools, and also twice beat Wray, which won the 2A title last Saturday after successfully petitioning last school year to stay in 2A instead of having to go to 3A.
Yuma again ran into Faith Christian last Thursday, and again gave the Eagles a battle for awhile.
The former Indians trailed just 22-21 in the second quarter, but the Eagles closed the first half with a 14-4 flurry for a 36-25 lead.
Any hope of Yuma cutting into the deficit and keeping it close quickly was squashed by Faith as the Eagles poured in 21 points for a 57-32 lead.
That did it for the Yuma boys as they never got closer than 17 in the fourth.
“We needed to play really well the whole game,” Sheffield said. “We made a run in the second quarter, but then it died out, and they started to pull away. We needed to shoot well and we didn’t.”
Yuma shot 39 percent from the floor, while Faith hit on 56 percent of its shots, including 62 percent on 2-pointers (21-for-34). The Eagles held a 30-19 edge on the boards, and dished out 16 assists compared to five for Yuma.
Jake Haruf led Yuma with 14 points, and also had four rebounds, while Daman Hernandez had 10 points, Forest Rutledge eight points and four rebounds, Brody Sheffield five points, Javier Duran four points, Jesus Ross four points, and Jonathan Carrillo two.
The loss brought the end of the high school career of a strong senior class including Forest Rutledge, Jake Haruf, Javier Duran, Jesus Ross, Daman Hernandez, Jonathan Carrillo, Cesar Varela, Kevin Orona and Nash Richardson. Faith Christian’s big three came through for them as Keegan Paige had 23 points, Carson Jasa 15 and Master Diggins 12.
However, plenty of exciting potential returns. The JV went undefeated again this season, and the C-team lost just one game.
Yuma is staying in 3A, so just get used to it.
“We just need to put in the work and see how it goes,” Sheffield said.