Yuma girls keeping it interesting early

“It takes a village” should be the mantra for the Yuma High School girls basketball team this season.
It definitely took a whole team to raise a victory in “The Beet Pile” Monday night in Brush.

The Indians improved to 3-1 with a grinding 50-49 overtime victory over the Beetdiggers, after trailing 47-41 midway through the extra period.
Now the tenth-ranked Tribe will face more challenges in the inaugural YHS Holiday Tournament, Friday and Saturday.
Yuma will play Heritage Christian, 5-0 and ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, Friday at 6 p.m. The Eagles have been dominant as their closest margin of victory to date is 31 points.
However, they have not played the scrappy Yuma Indians yet, who simply keep battling and stay annoyingly aggressive from start to finish in each game.
On the other side of the YHS Holiday Tournament bracket are Eaton, ranked No. 4 in 3A, and 2A defending champion Limon, ranked No. 2 in 2A.
That’s right — a four-team tournament with all the teams ranked in their respective Top 10.
It should be a great weekend for local high school hoops fans.
The tourney will be Yuma’s last action in December before opening Lower Platte Activities Association play in the new year.
Currently, six of the league’s nine teams are ranked — in 2A Sedgwick County is No. 4, Wray No. 5, Holyoke No. 6 and Yuma No. 10, with Akron the first team in “Others receiving votes,” and Merino No. 4 in 1A and Haxtun No. 7. The Indians will host Haxtun and Holyoke, January 7 and 8, when the games resume.
For now, the Yuma girls at least have assured themselves of a winning record in December, no matter what transpires this weekend.
The Indians picked up their second win last Thursday in The Pit, 54-27 over Class 3A Sterling.
Yuma led led wire-to-wire in the win. 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 then played a rare Monday night game at 3A Brush. The Beetdiggers had been ranked in the Top 10 before losing to Akron last week.
They definitely were a challenge for the Tribe, which had been blown out in the same gym in last season’s opener.
Leading scorer Lea Richardson went to the bench early in the first quarter with two quick fouls, but five different players scored to stake Yuma to a 13-9 lead. Two more players joined the scoring column in the second quarter, including Liddy Day knocking down a 3-pointer right before the buzzer for a 25-20 halftime lead.
However, the Tribe missed several shots in the third as Brush opened on a 9-0 run. Two buckets by Lyndsey Mekelburg were Yuma’s only points in the quarter as Brush lead 30-29 heading into the fourth.
It was back and forth throughout the final stanza, but Yuma kept missing close-range shots, as well as three free throws with around 20 seconds to go. Emma Rayl was able to make one at the charity stripe for a 41-39 lead, but Brush hit two free throws to send the game into overtime
The Beetdiggers opened the extra session with three straight baskets for a 47-41 lead.
However, Richardson hit a bucket to end the drought, and the Indians kept scrapping to force turnovers. Meidi Reyes knocked down a 3-pointer to cap a personal 5-point run, pulling Yuma to within 49-48.
Yuma then forced a jump ball, with the possession arrow pointing the Tribe’s direction. Richardson was fouled on a putback, making both free throws with 20 seconds left for a 50-49 lead.
The Indians then got a steal. Rayl was fouled but missed the free throws. However, the Indians contested Brush’s final shots without fouling to escape with the win.
Yuma beat a solid team despite shooting just 28 percent. The Indians made just 17 of 59 on 2-pointers, and many of those were from close range. They also made just 10 of 22 at the charity stripe (45 percent), and committed 23 turnovers. However, they did pull down 36 rebounds against a bigger Brush squad, and forced the Beetdiggers into plenty of missed shots and mistakes themselves.
The Indians had nine players score between two to nine points in the total-team effort. Reyes finished with nine points and three rebounds, Richardson nine points and five rebounds, Robinson seven points and eight rebounds, Rayl five points and five rebounds, Ibanez five points, five rebounds and two assists, Day five points, Munoz four points and three rebounds, L. Mekelburg four points, Alina Moran two points and two rebounds, and H. Eyring two rebounds.