Yuma boys shooting for one more LP title

It is time to tipoff what will likely be the last season of Lower Platte play for the Yuma High School boys basketball team.

The Outlaws have stayed in the Lower Platte this season and last even though the school had been moved up to Class 3A in basketball. Yuma likely will be in a 3A league for hoops beginning next season, particularly with Wray and Wiggins also reportedly moving up to 3A.

For now, though, there is one final run through the Lower Platte, beginning Friday at Holyoke, followed by a home date Saturday against Haxtun.

Yuma is 6-1 after returning from the Christmas break last Saturday with a challenging 71-68 home win over Highland. The Outlaws were No. 4 in the 3A CHSAA Selection & Seeding Index as of earlier this week.

They should get a good test Friday in Holyoke as the Dragons return nearly everyone from last year’s team. They entered this week 5-2 and No. 9 in the 2A Index, heading into this past Tuesday’s home game against Phillips County rival Haxtun. They beat Caliche 58-42 last Friday. Holyoke is led by Wyatt Sprague, Cash Weber and Reid Sprague.

Yuma then is home Saturday afternoon to take on a Haxtun squad that entered this week 3-5 and No. 38 in the 2A Index. The Fightin’ Bulldogs lost to Prairie and Wiggins last weekend.

“These games can help us develop depth,” Yuma coach Dave Sheffield said. “We’ve been playing well but there is a lot we need to improve on. Everyone wants to battle in a league game, so these should be good tests.”

The Outlaws returned from the Christmas break with a solid effort from start to finish in the home win over Highland. The Huskies are now 5-3 and No. 13 in the 3A Index, which Sheffield said he finds surprising because they are a good team and have played a strong schedule.

They definitely gave Yuma all it could handle.

The Outlaws took an early 16-10 lead, but Highland battled back to within one, 20-19. Yuma went on a quick 6-0 run late in the second quarter for a 31-23 lead, but the Huskies battled back again to trail just 33-30 at halftime.

Yuma opened up a 42-32 lead in the third, but the Huskies went on an 11-2 run to trail just 44-43. Brody Sheffield made a basket at the buzzer for a 56-49 lead heading into the fourth. However, Highland kept sticking around, getting as close at 70-68 with about 10 seconds left.

“It’s one of those games you put on the calendar at the beginning of the season because they’re a pretty solid team,” Sheffield said.

Jonathan Thomson finished with a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, along with recording five steals. Cristian Duarte had 20 points, four rebounds and five steals, B. Sheffield 17 points and five assists, Edwin Munoz nine points, five rebounds and four steals, Cesar Gamboa four points and four assists.

“We scored 71 and our offensive efficiency was good,” Sheffield said. “We had some turnovers at times but overall I thought we played well. The one advantage they had was inside with their bigs, but I thought we battled well on the glass.”