Yuma boys have league showdown at Wray

Friday night’s Yuma County Hoops Showdown in Wray could be an early determining factor in who wins the boys Lower Platte Activities Association regular-season title.
“Friday is a big game against Wray,” coach Dave Sheffield said. “As far as conference is concerned, whoever wins will have a definite advantage in winning conference.”

Yuma is 9-1 overall, 2-0 in the LPAA, after two blow-out wins last weekend, including a league win at Akron. The Indians are ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A Top 10 and No. 1 in the Rating Percentage Index and the MaxPreps rankings.
However, Wray is 7-3 overall, also 2-0 in LPAA play, ranked No. 3 in the Top 10 and No. 3 in the RPI. Besides Yuma’s double-overtime loss to Class 3A Eaton, on a last-second three-pointer, Wray has been the closest to the Tribe, losing 68-58 in The Pit in a non-league game early in December.
This time, though, the rivalry game is in the Eagles’ Nest and counts in the league standings.
After Friday’s big rivalry game, the Tribe is back in The Pit on Saturday afternoon for a non-league tilt with the Sidney Red Raiders.
Sidney last came to town three years ago with a three-win team, but pulled off a big upset over Yuma’s eventual 2019 state championship team. This time the Rough Riders travel south sporting a 12-3 record, prior to Friday’s home game against Gothenburg, though they did lost at home to a 5-6 North Platte team last Saturday.
“Sidney has had a very good year so far,” Sheffield said. “They are a transition team, like we are, and good size and a strong skill set. They have the ability to shoot from deep, as well as from the block.”
Still, it remains hard to imagine anyone slowing the Indians any time soon with their overwhelming uptempo, ultra-deep lineup.
Yuma has made it routine racing out to about 30 points or so in the first quarter with its pressure defense, quickness and sharp shooting.
The team’s opponents-numbing dominance was on full display again in last weekend’s two victories.
First up was last Friday’s 80-35 league win at Akron.
It was 6-3 early, but Yuma went on an 11-2 spurt, and finished the first quarter leading 27-15, scoring the quarter’s last 19 points.
Sheffield kept running players in and out of the lineup in the second, and the Indians kept rolling as they built a 51-13 lead by halftime. They pushed the margin to 65-20 before both teams scored 15 points in the final frame.
“Our fast starts have been a result of our defense,” Sheffield said. “Our pressure has been able to get to teams early, and we have scored a lot in transition. Getting the game to our tempo has really been a benefit.”
Yuma shot 57.6 percent from the floor, compared to Akron’s 29.3 percent, taking 19 more shots than the Rams. Yuma had 22 steals and dished out 21 assists. The Indians took only nine 3-pointers, making four.
Clay Robinson had 12 points and four rebounds, Beau Tate 10 points and three rebounds, Jake Haruf nine points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals, Daman Hernandez nine points and three assists, Jesus Ross six points, two assists and two steals, Angel Escobar six points and two steals, Cesar Varela six points and four rebounds, Jonathan Carrillo six points, two assists and two steals, Jaxson Lungwitz five points and three rebounds, Forest Rutledge four points, Kobe Rayl four points and two rebounds, and Javier Gamboa three points, four assists and three steals. Javier Duran had just two points but a great defensive game with four assists and three steals.
Yuma was back home Saturday afternoon for a non-league game against Burlington.
The Tribe again came out rolling, piling up 32 points in the first quarter on its way to an 81-53 win. The Indians had 56 points at halftime, and 79 after three quarters before scoring only two in the final stanza.
Yuma shot 51 percent from the floor, while Burlington shot 34 percent. The Indians again did not need to shoot many 3-pointers, making four of nine. They got to the line often, making 17 of 27, while Burlington made six of 11.
Duran had 15 points and three steals, Robinson 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals, Tate 11 points and six rebounds, Haruf nine points and seven rebounds, Carrillo nine points, Gamboa six points, Ross five points and two rebounds, Rutledge five points, four rebounds and three steals, Lungwitz four points and two rebounds, Andre Baucke two points, and Hernandez two rebounds.
“Our starts in this past weekend’s games were key,” Sheffield said. “Our energy to begin each game was great, which allowed us to get big leads and work on some elements that needed work.”