Tribe seeking third title in five seasons

Yuma High School’s boys basketball team is back in the big house.
The Indians will take the floor today, March 10, at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland for the first time since beating Fowler in a Class 2A quarterfinal in March, 2020.

The top-seed Indians, 22-1, will take on eighth-seed Lotus School out of Aurora in the 1:15 p.m. quarterfinal, after cruising through Region 1, last weekend in The Pit.
“Budweiser is a great place to play,” coach Dave Sheffield said. “It is great that it will be back to a regular state tournament. There are a lot of great memories with teams at Budweiser.”
Yuma is at The Bud seeking the program’s third title in five seasons, and are the odds-on favorite to do so — though seven other teams have different ideas.
The Indians won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. They had advanced to the semifinals in 2020 when the emergence of COVID-19 in Colorado resulted in all the state tournaments being shut down two games early. Last season, they lost at Wray in the 2A semifinals, when state games were played at the higher seed until the championship game.
However, everything is back on “normal” schedule, and the Indians are back on top with one of the deepest teams Yuma has ever fielded.
“Our depth has allowed us to throw out many lineups, with different strengths,” Sheffield said. “Depth also allows for us to consistently play at the pace that we do.”
The Indians’ only loss was a last-second, double-overtime setback to Eaton in December. They have since reeled off 17 straight wins, including two impressive wins last weekend over Dawson School, 64-16, and Vail Christian, 90-57.
Now they are back in the Budweiser Events Center seeking another 2A state championship.
Lotus School for Excellence enters state with a 19-4 record. Lotus earned its first 2A quarterfinal appearance with wins over Ignacio, 52-41, and Vail Mountain, 36-28, last weekend in regional. Lotus was the 13th seed in the 32-team regional field.
“Lotus has had a very good year, and with this being their first state tournament, there will be a lot of excitement built up,” Sheffield said. “They are a quick, athletic team. They have four guys scoring in double figures, so our defense is going to need to be solid.”
After today’s matinee, the Indians will be going prime time the rest of the state tournament if they win. A victory over Lotus puts them in the 8:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday. The championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Fourth-seed Denver Christian and fifth-seed Wray play in the 10:15 a.m. quarterfinal today, setting up a possible Yuma-Wray semifinal for the second straight season.

“If you get to the semifinals, no matter who it is, it is going to be a great game,” Sheffield said. “The possibility of playing Wray a fourth time just adds a piece of familiarity to the game.”
The lower half of the bracket has second-seed Limon playing seventh-seed Crowley County, and third-seed Sanford taking on sixth-seed Peyton. The winners of those two games will play in the 5:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday.
(Consolation bracket games on Friday are 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. The third-place game is 11:30 a.m. Saturday in The Bud, and the fifth-place game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.)
“This state tournament has a lot of balance,” Sheffield said. “The teams, as a whole, have maintained their spots in the top 10 the entire season.”