Tribe looks to lock down LPAA

Yuma High School’s boys basketball team can take another big step toward a league championship, Friday night in the Dragons’ Den.
The Indians finally got the Nebraska Curse off their backs, first blowing out Sidney two weekends ago, then knocking off the Chase County Longhorns 85-52 this past Tuesday in The Pit. (The program had struggled against the two panhandle teams in recent years, even while winning state championships.) Yuma scored the game’s first 13 points and never looked back.

Now they can move closer to reclaiming the Lower Platte Activities Association regular-season title when they travel to Holyoke on Friday for their only game of the weekend.
“Friday night is a big game,” head coach Dave Sheffield said. “Holyoke has been very solid this year, and have been in some very close, big games recently. A win in this game will put us in a great position in the conference race.”
Yuma is 14-1 overall, 4-0 in the LPAA, after picking up three more wins over the past week. The Indians are ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A Top 10 and No. 1 in the 2A Rating Percentage Index.
They ran past Holyoke 75-50 in a non-league game in The Pit right after the Christmas break. However, the Dragons are 9-5 overall, 2-1 in the LPAA, ranked No. 10 and are No. 11 in the RPI. They won 62-41 at Sedgwick County last Friday.
A win Friday would give the Tribe a definite inside track on the LPAA title, with a win over its other closest pursuer, Wray, already in hand. However, a Holyoke upset would create a three-way tie at the top of the league with Wray holding a win over the Dragons.
It would take quite a turn of events for the Indians not to get out of the Dragons’ Den with a win, however. All but one of their wins have come by double digits, with nearly all of those being by more than 20 points.
That trend continued last weekend as the Indians cruised to a 70-41 league win at home over Wiggins, followed by a 79-54 non-league win at Peyton, Saturday afternoon.
It once again did not take long for the Indians to take control last Friday against Wiggins. They raced out to a 20-6 lead, then Clay Robinson and Javier Gamboa scored nine straight right before the quarter ended for a 29-11 lead.
Yuma opened the second on a 7-2 run, then exploded for 16 straight points to take a 52-20 lead by halftime.
That was all she wrote as the Tribe cruised from there for a 29-point win.
The Indians made just four of 18 attempts behind the 3-point arc but still shot 50 percent overall thanks to making a blistering 24 of 38 inside the arc (63 percent). Wiggins shot 37.5 percent and attempted 16 less shots. Yuma had 30 points in transition and 45 points off of turnovers. The Indians had 16 assists and 20 steals while forcing Wiggins into 31 turnovers.
Robinson had 19 points and three rebounds, Jonathan Carrillo 10 points and three steals, Jesus Ross nine points, four assists and three steals, Beau Tate nine points and five rebounds, Javier Duran six points and four steals, Forest Rutledge five points and four rebounds, Javier Gamboa four points, three assists and three steals, Kobe Rayl three points, three rebounds and two steals, Angel Escobar two points and two steals, Jaxson Lungwitz two points, Andre Baucke one rebound, steal and assist, Daman Hernandez one point and one assist, and Cesar Varela one steal.
The Indians took their show on the road Saturday to Peyton at the foot of the Black Forest near Colorado Springs.
It was a little scary early as the Panthers took a 7-6 lead, but the Indians closed the first on a 7-0 run, then extended it to 13 straight at the start of the second for a 19-7 lead.
They were up 38-19 by halftime, and led 57-37 after three quarters.
Yuma kept extending its lead just a bit in the fourth, finishing with a 77-51 win.
“I thought this weekend, in both games, we played very well,” Sheffield said. “Our constant pressure produced a lot of turnovers and put the pace of the game where we wanted it. On offense we are doing a great job of sharing the ball, and when we do that the defense needs to adjust more and we are getting clean shots. Those two things together have allowed for us to make some great runs during games. We have a lot of scoring threats, and the ball is finding the player with a great look.”
The Indians found their range from deep in Peyton, making seven of 14. Peyton actually shot better overall from the floor, making 53 percent to Yuma’s 51 percent, but the Indians again took many more shots, 57 compared to Peyton’s 36. Yuma also made 12 of 14 at the charity stripe, while the Panthers made five of nine. The Indians had 22 transition points and 26 points off of turnovers. They had 12 offensive rebounds, 17 assists and six steals.
Robinson had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Duran 15 points, Rutledge made all three of his attempts from deep, had 14 points and three assists, Tate eight points and six rebounds, Carrillo seven points, three rebounds and two assists, Gamboa six points and four assists, Ross six points, four steals and three rebounds, Lungwitz three points, and Varela two points.