Yuma boys have big one at Wray

It is only the middle of January but a league championship could be hanging in the balance, Friday in the Eagles Nest.
“It will be a huge game for us,” Yuma High School boys basketball coach Dave Sheffield said. “There’s a lot implications involved.”
The Indians started 2020 like they finished 2019, rolling to a big win at Akron last Friday to improve to 6-1 overall, 1-0 in the Lower Platte Activities Association. They will travel east to take on rival Wray on Friday, then stay home for a nonleague game against Burlington on Saturday afternoon.
Yuma remains ranked No. 1 in Class 2A (CHSAANow.com polls). They have dropped to No. 14 in the Rating Percentage Index, which is used for postseason seeding, but Sheffield said it is way too early for him to be concerned about such things.
“We have 13 games left in the regular season,” he noted.
Wray dropped out of the polls this week after losses last week to two tough opponents from Nebraska, Chase County and Dundy County. The Eagles were 4-4 heading into this past Tuesday’s game against 2-4 Burlington. Wray entered this week No. 18 in the RPI while Burlington was 41st.
Yuma and Wray, along with undefeated Sedgwick County (7-0, No. 9 in the RPI), likely are the top contenders for the LPAA title this season, a title Yuma has won the past two seasons. The county rivals battled it out in the season opener in Yuma, won by the Indians, and no doubt the Eagles are hungry to return the favor on their homecourt, Friday night.
The Indians returned to action last Friday for their first game in nearly a month, and played like they had not missed any time at all on the court, rolling to a 56-32 win at Akron.

Jonathan Rascon gets to the basket against Akron, last Friday on the Rams’ homecourt. (Dave Gustafson)

Sophomore Clay Robinson sat out the game due to injury, but fellow sophomore Javier Gamboa picked up the slack with six points and two assists in the first quarter as the Indians built a 16-6 lead. Sophomore Beau Tate had a steal and a layup to make it 25-9 midway through the second, and the Indians cruised to a 32-13 halftime lead.
Yuma led 44-23 after three quarters, and built on the lead in the fourth as Sheffield liberally played everybody suited up for the game.
“No one got injured, that’s a good thing,” the coach said. “It was a good way to get back into the schedule. We came out and jumped on them early, and that’s where we’ve struggled at times in other games this season.”
Yuma shot 52 percent from the floor, and had its best three-point shooting of the season, making seven of 14. Seniors Jonathan Rascon and Roland Caraveo both made three of six from beyond the arc.
Javier Gamboa puts up a shot during the win at Akron, last Friday. (Dave Gustafson)
The Indians did have more turnovers than assists, 16 to 10, but came up with 17 steals, while helping force Akron into 24 turnovers.
Nine players scored for Yuma, and all 12 saw at least more than 5 minutes on the court. Senior Chase McCreath got the job done inside with 13 points and five rebounds, while Gamboa had 13 points, three assists and three steals. Caraveo finished with 11 points and two steals, Rascon nine points and three rebounds, Creighton Eyring two points and two steals, Preston Blach two points and three rebounds, Tate two points and two rebounds, Bryson Castillo two points and two steals, Kobe Rayl two points and two steals, Cade Morton four rebounds and three assists, Jesus Ross one steal, and Lane Remmich also played.
“It’s still about execution on both ends,” Sheffield said. “We need to pay attention to the details and make sure we’re taking care of the ball…We’ve really cut down on turnovers since the first game.”