Yuma boys want to build to postseason

Yuma High School’s boys basketball team is looking to regain some momentum heading into the postseason.

The Outlaws have gone 2-2 since two Saturdays ago, heading into the regular season finale Friday at Byers.

“It is definitely time to start building momentum,” coach Dave Sheffield said. “We have had a couple setbacks recently, but each of them gave us good information for how we need to proceed.”

Yuma is 15-3 after this past Tuesday’s win at Caliche, but missed out on a chance at winning the Lower Platte title outright one last time thanks to a 62-55 home loss to Merino last Friday. The Outlaws remain No. 2 in the Class 3A CHSAA Selection & Seeding Index, with district coming up next week at Manual. Among those in that district are No. 1 Forge Christian (formerly Faith Christian), No. 8 Manual, and No. 17 Stargate School.

The Outlaws could be challenged again Friday at Byers. The Bulldogs entered this week 10-7 and No. 14 in the 2A Index, prior to this past Tuesday’s home game against Colorado Springs School.

Yuma had back-to-back home games last week, going 1-1 in the process.

It began with a 67-56 win over Sedgwick County, in which the Outlaws led by as much as 27 before the Cougars held a 27-8 advantage in the fourth.

It was mostly a ho-hum affair, but was highlighted by team manager Nathan Crossland suiting up and starting, as well as playing in the fourth quarter.

“Nathan has been an incredible asset for the past 3 years,” Sheffield said. “He works incredibly hard and benefits the program in multiple ways. Getting his name called and rewarded for all of his work was an easy call.”

The Outlaws raced out to a 19-6 lead and were up 30-9 before settling for a 38-21 lead at halftime. They led 52-25 before cruising to the win.

Yuma shot only 37 percent, including making seven of 26 3-pointers, but made 10 of 15 from the charity stripe while coming up with 18 steals and forcing 25 turnovers. The Outlaws did allow Sedgwick County big man Joshua Palic to score 23 points and grab 15 rebounds.

Brody Sheffield led Yuma with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Cristian Duarte had 12 points and four steals, Edwin Munoz 11 points and three rebounds, Jonathan Thomson 10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, Cesar Gamboa eight points and eight rebounds, Reyli Trejo six points, Noe Quezada three points, Alex Pensado two points, three rebounds and three assists, and Miles Rutledge two points.

Yuma lost at Merino last season when the Rams’ Tyler Allen went off for 36 points. He was not quite as prolific last Friday in The Pit, scoring 18 points, but the Rams had Yuma’s number again, handing the Outlaws 62-55 loss.

“Merino has gotten us the past two years,” Sheffield said. “They were able to exploit us in various ways.”

The teams were tied at 12 midway through the first quarter last Friday, but the Rams closed the quarter on a 10-2 run for a 22-14 lead. That was all the visitors needed as they kep the Outlaws at arm’s lengthy the rest of the game.

Yuma got within four in the second quarter but trailed 35-27 by halftime.

Merino pushed its lead to double digits at times in the third and fourth quarters, and the Outlaws never could get closer than seven points down the stretch.

Yuma again was cold from the floor, shooting 38 percent, while Merino shot 58 percent. The Outlaws made just three of 19 shots from deep, while the Rams nailed eight of 16. Yuma was outrebounded 33-23, and had just nine assists compared to Merino’s 18.

Sheffield finished with 23 points, three rebounds and three steals, Thomson 15 points and nine rebounds, Duarte nine points and three assists, Gamboa four points and two steals, Munoz three points, five rebounds and four steals, and Pensado one point.