Yuma boys take second at district, head to the hills

Yuma High School’s boys basketball team will hit the road to the hills for the Class 3A regional round, this weekend.
The team will get to take in some spectacular scenery while attempting to win a regional title at Lake County High School in Leadville.
As for any strategy in regards to dealing with the thin air up there, head coach Dave Sheffield simply said, “Sub.”

Yuma, 16-5, has to go on the road after losing a hard-fought battle with top-seed Faith Christian, last Saturday in the district final at Manual High School in Denver.
The former Indians are the ninth-seed in the 32-team field, sending them to eighth-seed Lake County. They play 24th-seed Bayfield, 9-12, on Friday at 7 p.m. The Wolverines are headed to Leadville after losing to Centauri in its district final, last Saturday. Sheffield said they have a couple of scorers, but are not particularly big in the interior.
“We should be able to pressure the heck out of them,” he said.
Lake County, 16-5, is the eighth seed after winning its district tournament last weekend. The Panthers will play 25th-seed Meeker, 14-8, in the first game Friday at 5:30 p.m.
If Yuma can get past Friday’s game, it likely will run into Lake County in the Sweet 16 game on Saturday at 1 p.m. Sheffield said the Panthers like to launch a lot of 3-pointers.
“I think our pressure could affect them a little bit,” he said.
It was not certain earlier this week if senior Forest Rutledge would be available for regional after suffering a nasty broken nose last Saturday against Faith Christian.
Yuma ran into a couple of quality squads in district, last weekend in the Thunderdome.
“I think that was the strongest district in the state (for 3A),” Sheffield said.
First up was a semifinal Friday afternoon against Prospect Ridge. The Miners entered the game with a 12-7 record, and gave Yuma everything it could handle before Yuma eventually pulled away to a 69-58 win.
Yuma fell behind 6-0 but eventually tied the score at eight. The former Indians trailed by as much as four points a couple of times in the second quarter, but Rutledge scored eight straight points for Yuma as the teams were tied at 23 at halftime.
Yuma built a five-point lead in the third, but the Miners came back with five straight before Daman Hernandez’s 3-pointer gave Yuma a tenuous 41-38 lead heading into the fourth. The teams went back and forth in the final stanza, but Yuma finally started pulling away to a 60-54 lead. The local boys then held a 9-2 advantage down the stretch, scoring their last seven points at the charity stripe to secure the win.
Jake Haruf had 21 points and nine rebounds, Rutledge 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Javier Duran 10 points and two steals, Jesus Ross seven points and six rebounds, Hernandez six points and two steals, Brody Sheffield six points and three rebounds, and Angel Escobar two assists.
Faith Christian ran past Manual, 71-50, in the other semifinal on Friday.
That set up a district final Saturday between Yuma and the top-ranked Eagles.
It was a great game from start to finish, with plenty of drama involved, but Faith Christian eventually pulled away to a 71-60 win over the former Indians.
Both teams held a slim lead in the first quarter, which ended with Faith leading 19-18. The back-and-forth continued until the second, until Yuma went on a 9-2 run for a 34-25 lead.
However, Rutledge suffered his broken nose, sending him to the hospital, and Haruf picked up his third foul. Still, Yuma led 34-31 at halftime.
Faith went on a 7-0 run in the third to take the lead, but Yuma came back with an impressive 10-0 run spurred by Ross and Duran for a 49-43 lead. The Eagles, though, cut it to 49-47 heading into the fourth.
The top seed then built a 58-52 lead, and Yuma could never get closer than five points the rest of the game.
“We didn’t close out on a couple of shots, and missed some shots we usually make,” Sheffield said. “I thought we did an excellent job executing the game plan. (The players) came together a lot in that game.”
Faith had four players in double figures, Master Diggins with 22, Keegan Paige, who got hot down the stretch from deep, with 18, and 6-foot-8 Carson Jasa, who had a dunk early in the game, with 16.
The Yuma crew did all it could to make up for Rutledge’s absence in the second half. Sheffield had 14 points and four assists, Ross 11 points and two assists, Rutledge 10 points before going out with the broken nose, Haruf nine points and four assists, Duran nine points and three rebounds, Hernandez five points, and Jonathan Carrillo two points.
“They came together a lot on Saturday night,” Sheffield said. “A lot of different people stepped up.”