Yuma boys nearing another league title

A lot of games and few practices is now the norm for the Yuma High School boys basketball team.
“The big part is keeping energy high,” coach Dave Sheffield said. “It’s a little like having practice with a game, learning and adjusting as you go.”

Thanks to multiple rescheduled games, Yuma is in the middle of closing out the season with nine games in three weeks. The former Indians played Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday last week, going 2-1, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, followed by another Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to close out the regular season next week.
This week featured a home game Tuesday against Class 3A Strasburg, and Lower Platte games at Sedgwick County and Merino, today and Friday. Yuma is at Caliche on Tuesday, and hosts 3A Peyton on Wednesday of next week.
“It’s about getting through team scouts as quickly as possible, and getting through personnel plans without having a lot of time to do it,” Sheffield said.
Yuma entered this week 10-3 overall, and 5-0 in the Lower Platte as it zeroes in on another league title before moving up to 3A for the postseason. The team improved to 11-3 overall with a 64-29 romp past Strasburg, Tuesday night.
Yuma was No. 2 in the 3A Rating Percentage Index as of earlier this week, and No. 5 in CHSAANow.com’s 3A coaches poll.
The former Tribe picked up a challenging 56-45 league win at Wiggins, last Friday night.
Yuma controlled most of the game, but it still got a bit hairy toward the end — perhaps because of playing its third game in four days.
Yuma led by as much as nine in the first quarter, and quickly pushed the lead to double digits in the second as a variety of players scored. Yuma led 32-16 at halftime.
The local boys kept the margin around there throughout the third, leading 48-30.
However, Wiggins battled back in the final frame as the Tigers cut into the deficit, but Yuma was able to hold off the surge for an 11-point win.
“We’re not finishing games,” Sheffield said. “We have to get that figured out.”
Yuma shot 43 percent and Wiggins 41 percent, but Yuma took seven more shots. The Yuma boys shot 24 3-pointers, compared to 10 for Wiggins, making seven of them while the Tigers made just two. The teams were fairly even in all statistical categories.
Angel Escobar had 11 points and two steals, Brody Sheffield 11 points and seven rebounds, Daman Hernandez 10 points, two assists and two steals, Forest Rutledge nine points and 10 rebounds, Jesus Ross seven points and four rebounds, Javier Duran six points, three rebounds and three assists, Jake Haruf two points and four rebounds, and Cristian Duarte two rebounds and two steals.
Yuma saw its six-game winning streak snapped last Wednesday in Sidney, Nebraska. Coming off a hard-fought win over 2A No. 1 Limon the night before, Yuma had to take on a tough Red Raiders squad the next evening in a rescheduled game.
It was not pretty from the start as Sidney raced out to a 22-9 lead on its way to handing Yuma a 75-45 loss. Yuma had blown out Sidney in The Pit last season, so the dominating turnaround was startling.
“It was like we didn’t even get off the bus,” Sheffield said.
The Red Raiders were red hot all game, shooting 58 percent. They made 12 of 22 behind the arc, and 16 of 26 inside it, along with making seven of 10 free throws. Yuma shot 46 percent but took 13 less shots, and was out rebounded 26-15. Sidney dished out 19 assists.
Sheffield had 11 points, Escobar 10 points, Ross five points, Rutledge (who took a bad shot to his mouth early in the game) five points and four rebounds, Jonathan Thomson three points, Duran two points, Hernandez two points, Jonathan Carrillo two points, Duarte two points, Nash Richardson two points, and Cesar Varela one point.
Yuma followed up its win at Wiggins with a 35-point win over Strasburg, Tuesday night in The Pit. Yuma posted 22 points in the first quarter, then blew it open with a 25-point outburst in the third for a 60-26 lead.
The former Tribe swished 11 3-pointers, shooting 48 percent from behind the arc. The team had 15 steals and 13 assists.
Four scored in double figures. Hernandez had 11 points and two steals, Rutledge 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Haruf 10 points and three rebounds, Sheffield 10 points and three steals, Ross eight points and three rebounds, Duran five points and two steals, Duarte four points and two steals, Escobar four points and three assists, and Silas Baucke and Thomson two rebounds each.