Yuma boys looking good for district seeding

It’s February and things are looking good for the Yuma High School boys basketball team.
“District-wise, we’re No. 1, but we still have work to do to win league again this year,” head coach Dave Sheffield said.

The Indians entered this week 5-0 in Lower Platte Activities Association play, 12-1 overall, after a pair of league wins last weekend, last Friday at Holyoke, and Saturday afternoon at home against Sedgwick County.
They now have beaten all of the other Class 2A teams in the LPAA — Akron, Wray, Sedgwick County, Holyoke, and Wiggins — meaning they have secured the top seed for the district tournament later this month. However, they still have league games at 1A LPAA members Merino, Caliche and Haxtun.

Rolando Caraveo gets to the rim during the win over Sedgwick County, last Saturday afternoon in The Pit. (Dave Gustafson)

They play at Merino on Saturday. The Rams lost to Limon, highly-ranked in 2A, by only five points, but lost by 15 to Sedgwick County last Friday, and play at Holyoke this Friday before hosting the Indians.
Yuma’s schedule included a couple of difficult non-league games, this past Tuesday in Imperial, Nebraska, against the Chase County Longhorns, and Friday at Byers.
The Indians again struggled against Chase County, losing 52-50, its third straight loss to the Longhorns, and dropping to 12-2 overall.
Byers is not quite the team it has been the past couple of years, but still pose a threat with plenty of talented players and posting an 8-6 record, 3-1 in league play, entering this week. The Indians won an exciting overtime battle with the Bulldogs last year in The Pit, and beat them in the state semifinals two seasons ago.
“I liked having that one here last year,” Sheffield cracked.
Yuma remains ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A Top 10 this week, and more importantly had moved up to No. 5 in the 2A Rating Percentage Index as of earlier this week. The Indians had been in the teens in the RPI until recently.
“Starting with Sedgwick County, these five games coming up are the basis of our RPI,” Sheffield said.
Yuma went to the Dragons’ Den last Friday and mostly had it their way in a 60-38 win. Holyoke is 1-2 in league, 3-11 overall.
The Indians took a 10-2 lead in the game’s first three minutes, and led by as much as 15 in the second quarter. However, they went cold for a bit on offense, and Holyoke cut the margin to eight, 28-20, only to see the Indians score the last four points of the half.
Jonathan Rascon scores during the win at Holyoke, last Friday. (Dave Gustafson)
Yuma did not score for the first four minutes of the third, as Holyoke got within 32-26. However, Cade Morton hit a 3-pointer, to get the Indians rolling again, and Rolando Caraveo made back-to-back treys early in the fourth as Yuma opened up a 49-27 lead.
Chase McCreath led the way for the Indians with 19 points on 66.7-percent shooting, along with 11 rebounds for a double-double. Clay Robinson scored 16 on his own 66.7-percent shooting, and also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Caraveo had eight points and four steals, Jonathan Rascon seven points, three rebounds and three steals, Javier Gamboa four points, five rebounds and three steals, Morton three points and three steals, Bryson Castillo two points, and Creighton Eyring one point, two rebounds and two steals.
Yuma recorded a total of 19 steals.
Sedgwick County came to town for a first-place showdown, Saturday afternoon. A big crowd in The Pit witnessed Yuma claim a solid 45-33 win.
The Indians took the lead early and kept it. The offense could not convert for awhile in the second, and Caraveo stole the ball and hit a corner trey while covered to open up a 20-10 lead midway through the second.
Yuma opened the second half with McCreath making a basket while getting fouled. He missed the free throw, but Robinson corraled the miss and put it in for a 29-14 lead. The margin stayed around there until Sedgwick County’s Jared Ehmke hit a couple of 3-pointers to cut Yuma’s lead to 42-33 with 1:13 left.
It was as close as the Cougars could get, though.
Yuma held the Cougars to 25-percent shooting one night after gathering 19 steals against Holyoke. Sedgwick County had only 15 points late in the third quarter before getting going a bit.
Javier Gamboa in action last Saturday against Sedgwick County in The Pit. (Dave Gustafson)

“I thought our defense was outstanding both games last weekend,” Sheffield said.
McCreath had 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals, Caraveo eight points and two steals, Morton six points, Gamboa six points and six rebounds, Robinson five points, nine rebounds and three assists, and Rascon five points and two rebounds.
The Indians had a rough outing at Imperial, Tuesday night. They trailed by eight heading into the fourth quarter, and still had a chance to tie it late but could not convert.
Robinson had 19 points and seven rebounds, McCreath 14 points and six rebounds, Caraveo six points and four steals, Rascon five points and four rebounds, Gamboa four points and three rebounds, Beau Tate two points and three rebounds, and Morton two steals.