Yuma girls 2-1 heading into Brush game

Yuma High School’s girls basketball team definitely is a work in progress, but the progress has been encouraging in the early going of the 2021-22 season.
“They’re further along than I thought they would be,” head coach Jeremy Robinson said after the opening weekend.
The Indians, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A (CHSAANow.com polls), are 2-1 after opening the season last Friday with a 50-31 win at Dundy County-Stratton in Benkelman, Nebraska, followed by a 63-49 loss to rival Wray, ranked No. 4 in 2A, Saturday in their home opener. They were home again Thursday night against Class 3A Sterling, winning 54-27.
They then head to 3A Brush on Monday.

Brush will be another good challenge Tuesday as the Beetdiggers are ranked No. 9 in 3A.
Yuma has a fairly young lineup, starting three sophomores, and also playing two freshman, along with a group of juniors and seniors. Senior Sam Wells was injured last weekend and will miss the next games, while senior Meidi Reyes returned this week from an injury.
The Indians led wire-to-wire in the win over Sterling, Thursday night in The Pit. It was their highest point total of the season as they now are averaging 51 points per game — after averaging 38.6 per game last season.
Yuma pushed an early six-point lead out to a 26-11 advantage by halftime. The Indians then outscored Sterling 16-6 in the third to seal the win. It was the second time in three games their opponent did not reach the 20-point mark until the fourth quarter.
Lea Richardson knocked down 20 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists. Emma Rayl had 10 points and four rebounds, Meidi Reyes six points and two rebounds, Jossy Munoz five points and three rebounds, Ashley Ibanez four points and two rebounds, Caddis Robinson three points, Jade Lungwitz two points and two rebounds, Jailyn Mekelburg one point and seven rebounds, Liddy Day six rebounds, Hailey Eyring three rebounds, and Lyndsey Mekelburg one point and one rebound.
The Indians shot only 25-percent in their season opener, last Friday against Dundy County-Stratton, but had little trouble in getting the win in Benkelman. They immediately took to their new uptempo full-court style, coming up with 28 steals. However, they also committed 28 turnovers.
They built a 9-1 lead in the first quarter, then started the second on a 9-2 spurt for an 18-3 lead. They went into the locker room leading 30-15.
Yuma then started the third on a 9-0 run, thanks in part to steals generated by the Indians’ pressure, and led by as much as 27.
Dundy County did not break the 20-point mark until there was less than 6 minutes left in the game, finishing on a 10-2 run to cut the final margin to under 20.
Robinson had said he wanted the Indians to play at a faster pace this season in an effort to generate more points. It worked in the opener as they scored 50 points despite shooting only 25 percent from the floor, including making only two of 15 behind the 3-point arc. They were slightly better at the free-throw line, making eight of 19 (42 percent).
Richardson led a balanced scoring attack with 10 points, along with seven steals, five rebounds and three assists. H. Eyring had eight points, three rebounds and two steals, Robinson seven points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists, Ibanez six points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists, Lungwitz six points and two steals, Sam Wells five points and two rebounds, Munoz four points, three steals and two rebounds, Rayl two points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds, L. Mekelburg two points and one rebound, LDay one rebound and one assist, Kinley Eyring one rebound and J. Mekelburg one rebound.
The Indians had themselves one heck of a home opener, Saturday afternoon, as they took on Wray, which finished second in 2A last season.
Wray returns several veteran players from that team. It was the Eagles’ season opener, but they looked sharp enough in dominating the first half.
The Indians kept it close early, trailing 9-6 after the first quarter. However, it was all Wray in the second frame. The Eagles opened on a 9-0 run, and pushed the lead to 17 as they scored 23 points in the quarter. The Indians helped out by making numerous turnovers.
“It seemed like whenever we broke down, they scored, but that’s what good teams do,” Robinson said. “That second quarter just killed us. With what we’re trying to do, all five players have to be locked in all the time.”
Last season, Wray ran the Indians out of The Pit with a huge win. However, this time the Indians made some halftime adjustments, such as going straight man-to-man defense full court, and came out competing in the second half.
They got as close as 10 points in the third quarter before trailing 45-31 heading into the fourth. They continued to battle in the final frame, getting to within 52-43 midway through the quarter.
Yuma ended up losing by 14, but outscored the Eagles by three points in the second half, a small moral victory for a young team against a state title contender.
“I challenged them in the locker room and they answered the bell,” Robinson said. “My goal was for them not to give up, and they didn’t. I was super proud of the way they responded.”
The coach noted Yuma shot only five free throws, making two, while Wray shot more than 20 from the charity stripe, making 16.
The Indians were a bit better offensively than the night before, shooting 34 percent, including 40 percent on 2-pointers (19 for 47). They also committed 31 turnovers.
Richardson had 14 points and three rebounds, Ibanez eight points and four rebounds, Robinson seven points and eight rebounds, Rayl six points, three assists and three rebounds, Munoz four points and three rebounds, Day three points and three rebounds, L. Mekelburg three points and six rebounds, Wells two points and one assist, and Lungwitz two points and one rebound.
“I felt they bullied us,” Robinson said of Wray. “They were just a little bit stronger. They flat out killed our butts on the offensive glass.”