Yuma boys preparing for another run

It is finally time to have something to play for.
“It’s just good to be in a spot to get to do something,” Yuma High School boys basketball head coach Dave Sheffield said Monday, prior to the first official practice.

The Indians first actual high school-sanctioned game is next Thursday, January 28, at Brush. It will be their first since beating Fowler in the Class 2A quarterfinals, last March at the Budweiser Center in Loveland, putting them two wins away from a third consecutive state title when COVID-19 shut it all down.
“It’s been a long time,” Sheffield said. “It’s going to be good to actually prepare for teams.”
And prepared the Indians better be. Sheffield noted that when they get to the opener, they will enter a stretch of 10 games and 11 practices.
“We need to be prepared for everything when we get to Brush,” Sheffield said. “I think these guys are ready.”
There are 30 students out for boys basketball. Each team, Varsity, JV and C, can suit up 12. There is a maximum of 14 varsity games, and 12 subvarsity games.
“It’s going to have an affect on C,” Sheffield said, referring to the roster limit, “because potentially some guys won’t be able to suit up.”

Members of the Yuma High School boys basketball team participate in the first official practice of the upcoming season, Monday in the Aux Pit. (Pioneer Photo)

Players have been able access open gym since late last year, as well as play in non-sanctioned games in Brush, played before no spectators until the last two weeks, when two per player were allowed to attend after Morgan County went to Orange Level.
That has allowed the players at levels to mostly already be prepared for the shortened Season B.
“We’re pretty much installed,” Sheffield said. “Right now this is the most different first practice I’ve ever written up.”
The program lost several key seniors from last year’s team, but return plenty of talented players anxious to carry on the YHS hoops tradition.
“I really like this group,” Sheffield said. “They have good chemistry and really put in a lot of work.”
He noted that last summer, when it was tough to get any gym time, the players took it upon themselves to organize pickup games at City Park and other outdoor courts in the area.
“They want to do well, so that takes care of a lot of things,” Sheffield said.
The Indians enter the season ranked No. 2 in 2A in the CHSAANow.com poll released earlier this week. Limon is the preseason No. 1. The Badgers visit Yuma next Saturday, January 30.
This year, the regular season will move directly into a 24-team bracket. The 24-field bracket will be determined and seeded according to a combination of RPI, CHSAANow.com polls, the Packard Ratings, and MaxPreps.
The tournament will be played over the course of two weeks, with the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye. It appears all games at least up through the semifinals will be played at the higher-seeded team.
Teams must play at least seven games to be eligible for the state tournament. That brings up the ongoing possibility of games being lost thanks to COVID cases and contact tracing leading to other players being put in quarantine, either on the Yuma team or their opponent.
“This is going to be crazy,” Sheffield said. “Right now we’re just going to treat it like normal; control what you can control pretty much.”
At least it is close to time to finally tip it off.