Regional hoops returns to Yuma

Regional basketball is coming back to Yuma.
The Yuma High School boys basketball team will be hosting the Class 2A Region 1 Tournament, Friday and Saturday in The Pit, after claiming the District 2 Tournament title, last weekend in Sterling.

Hosting a regional in Yuma was a routine affair for much of last decade, thanks at first to the continued success of the YHS girls program, which was joined by the boys program in the latter stages of that run.
The last time it occurred was in 2019, when both programs hosted on their way to posting a pair of 2A state titles for the second straight season.
Both teams had to travel for regional in early March 2020. The boys ended up winning their regional, and advanced to the state semifinals for the third straight season before COVID-19 wiped out the rest of the state tournaments.
Yuma’s boys did host two postseasons games last March in the truncated Season B, eventually losing at Wray in the state semifinals.
However, now the regular format has returned, with the No. 1-ranked Yuma boys, 20-1, welcoming No. 32 Dawson School, No. 16 Vail Christian and No. 17 Rye for two days of regional basketball fun.
“Getting to stay home and play in The Pit is a great benefit for winning districts,” Yuma head coach Dave Sheffield said. “Having a homecourt advantage in a playoff situation is always a good situation.”
The Indians have reached at least the state semifinals for four straight seasons, but will need two wins this weekend in The Pit for an opportunity to try to keep that streak alive — with the ultimate goal of a third 2A title in five seasons.
Yuma will take the court first Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Dawson. The Mustangs are only 8-14, but won two of three last week to finish third in their district tournament to advance to regional.
“Dawson has good size and made a surge in their district tournament to get to regionals,” Sheffield said. “Their leading scorer (senior Ethan Duster) is averaging over 18 points per game, so making sure to contain him will be a focus.”
Vail Christian will make the long trip from resort country to ranch country with a 14-8 record. The Saints lost to Vail Mountain in their district final, sending them to the high plains, while the Gore Rangers get to stay home in the hills to host a regional.
Rye’s boys will make the trip to Yuma, while the Yuma girls make the trip to Rye for regional. The Thunderbolts are 15-7, just missing out on hosting a regional as they lost 40-39 to Crowley County in their district final.
Friday’s winners will play in the regional final at 1 p.m. Saturday in The Pit. The winner will advance to the Class 2A Great 8, next week at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.