Yuma girls on the road to Rye

Yuma High School’s girls basketball team is hitting the road for a chance to advance to the Class 2A State Tournament for the ninth straight year.
And the Indians are going to a familiar place — at least for the players that also were on the volleyball team. They will be in Rye, Friday and (hopefully) Saturday for the 2A Region 5 Tournament. It is the same locale the volleyball squad had to go last fall for regional — the first time in eight years the Indians had to travel for regional.

Still, they swept the regional field and advanced to state for the ninth consecutive season.
Now it is up to the hoopsters to make it happen again on the Thunderbolts’ homecourt.
“I like who we open up with,” head coach Bob Rahm said. “I think we match up well with them.”
(Going on the road for regional in basketball is not that big of an anomaly as 2A regionals were held at neutral sites until two years ago, when district champions began getting to host; Yuma has hosted the last two seasons.)

Taylor Law gets up a shot during District 2 action in Sterling, last week. (Dave Gustafson)

Yuma is 10-11 overall, and the 21st seed in the 32-team regional field, after placing second to top-seed Holyoke in the District 2 Tournament last weekend.
They open regional play Friday at 7:30 p.m. against 12-seed Dawson School. On the other side of the bracket are fifth-seed Rye and 28th-seed Center. Friday’s winners meet Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Sweet 16 game for the honor of advancing to the 2A Great 8 next week at the Budweiser Center in Loveland.
Dawson is 18-4 after placing second to highly-ranked Heritage Christian in their district tournament last weekend, beating Dayspring Christian and Gilpin County to reach the championship game. The Mustangs have one loss to 1A power Shining Mountain, another to Class 3A The Academy, and the other two to Heritage Christian, whom the Indians beat in the state quarterfinals last season.
“This time of year you’re supposed to play good teams,” Rahm said.
Rye is undefeated at 22-0 and hosting regional after beating Crowley County, Swink and Rocky Ford for its district championship last week.
The Thunderbolts first play Center on Friday, with the Vikings coming in with a 10-12 record.
Emma Richardson battles for rebounding position during the District 2 championship game, last Saturday in Sterling. (Dave Gustafson)
Two wins this weekend would advance the Indians to the state tournament, and also get them above, .500 for the first time this season.
They went 1-1 in the District 2 Tournament, not winning the district title for the first time since 2015.
Still, the roller-coaster Tribe set out what they wanted to accomplish, winning a game, and playing top-ranked Holyoke tough while also avoiding having to play the Dragons again in regional.
Yuma was the second seed, so had a bye in last Tuesday’s first round. Sedgwick County, the third seed, rolled past Akron in that round, setting up a semifinal last Friday in the Bank of Colorado Events Center on the NJC campus in Sterling, last Friday.
The Indians controlled from start to finish in claiming a 51-43 win.
Yuma had its offense going that evening, racing out to a 16-6 lead in the first quarter. However, the Cougars responded with 14-6 second quarter, leaving Yuma ahead only 22-20 at halftime.
Sedgwick County continued to battle hard in the third, as Yuma led just 34-33 entering the fourth.
However, the Indians regained control in the final stanza, outscoring the Cougars 17-10 to claim the eight-point win and advance to the district final for the ninth straight season.
Taylor Law broke out with 16 points, making two of three 3-pointers, along with dishing out seven assists. Reagan Nolin also made two of three behind the arc, finishing with 13 points along with eight rebounds. Ema Richardson had nine points and 10 rebounds, Meidi Reyes five points, Elle Roth two points, four assists and four rebounds, Lea Richardson two points and two steals and Lainey Mekelburg two points and two rebounds.
Lea Richardson gets to the basket for a lay-up last Friday against Sedgwick County in the District 2 semifinals. (Dave Gustafson)

Holyoke barely held on against fourth-seed Wray in the other semifinal. (Wray has beaten Yuma three times this season, but lost the tie-breaker in the three-way tie for second in the LPAA with Yuma and Sedgwick County, losing to the Cougars during the regular season. However, they rolled past Sedgwick County in the third-place game last Saturday in Sterling.)
Yuma had been blown out twice by Holyoke during the regular season. However, the Indians kept it close in the district championship game last Saturday, eventually losing 32-22.

The Indians led 4-2 but Holyoke scored the last six points in the opening quarter for an 8-4 lead.
However, Yuma kept sticking around, trailing 10-7 after Reyes’ 3-pointer. They were within three, 21-18, midway through the third after E. Richardson’s basket.
They continued to just barely miss on good drives to the basket and on 3-point attempts, trailing 25-20 after three quarters.
Holyoke went on a 5-0 spurt to start the fourth, opening up a 30-20 lead, and both teams scored just two more points the rest of the game in a classic slow-it-down battle between Rahm and Holyoke coach Baumgartner.
“We played a different defense and it kind of bothered them,” Rahm said. “We just couldn’t score. You can’t go 3-for-28 from the field and expect to win.”
E. Richardson had eight points and seven rebounds, Nolin six points, Reyes five points, Roth two points and six rebounds, L. Richardson one point and Mekelburg four rebounds.