Yuma girls rested up for district

Yuma High School’s girls basketball team should be refreshed and rejuvenated for the postseason.
Yuma has all of this week to practice before opening district play Friday in the awkwardly-named Confluence-Metro-Longs Peak District semifinals.

“We haven’t had four days to practice for the past several weeks,” head coach Jeremy Robinson said. “That will be nice to regroup and freshen up. I don’t want to make excuses, but I think we were tired.”
Yuma played three games in each of the last three weeks of the regular season, finishing 12-7 overall. The former Indians also went 5-3 in the Lower Platte, the program’s best showing in league in a few years.
And the Lower Platte is stacked this season with the top four RPI teams in 2A — Merino, Wiggins, Sedgwick County and Akron — and five of the top 12 with Wray.
The Lower Platte’s district tournament is going to be a donnybrook this week.
However, Yuma now is in 3A, and is the top seed in its district. The Tribe is No. 5 overall in the 3A metrics (CHSAA RPI and MaxPreps rankings). The next closest is St. Mary’s Academy at No. 19, the second seed in district. Faith Christian, the third seed, is 31st, fourth-seed Prospect Ridge Academy and fifth-seed Manual both in the 30s, and sixth-seed Stargate and seventh-seed Lotus in the 50s.
District action began Tuesday with Prospect Ridge beating Manual 61-37, Faith Christian beating Stargate, 46-20, and St. Mary’s Academy knocking off Lotus School of Excellence, 44-1.
Yuma will play Prospect Ridge, Friday in the semifinals at Manual High School, where Friday’s and Saturday’s action will be held in the “Thunderdome.” St. Mary’s Academy will play Faith Christian in the other semifinal.
Friday’s game slots were not going to be determined until after Tuesday’s games. Yuma administration was hoping for the earliest game times possible. Game times Friday are 1 p.m., 2:30, 4, 5:30 and 7.
The district is playing through sixth place, with the fifth-place games at 10 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday (Yuma’s teams will not be in those games), third-place games at 1 and 2:30 p.m., and the championship games at 4 and 5:30 p.m.
“I just want a quick turnaround (from Friday to Saturday),” Robinson said.
The district champion will get to host a four-team regional the next weekend. District champions also must be in the top 16 of the RPI to host, so Yuma is in safe territory there if it does win district.
“This is the first time we get to take a little breath,” Robinson said. “I’m just hoping we need to freshen up a bit.”
Yuma has dealt with some illness and minor injuries in recent weeks, while also playing a busy schedule.
The former Indians closed out that stretch by splitting a pair of home games, last weekend.
First up was a 48-41 win over Byers, last Friday.
It looked like Yuma would cruise to victory, leading 27-12 midway through the second quarter. However, the home girls went cold as Byers closed the half on a 13-1 run to trail just 28-25 at halftime.
The game stayed tight in the second half, and Byers even tied the score at 39 in the fourth. However, Yuma went on a 9-0 run to secure the win. Lea Richardson sat the whole third quarter due to foul trouble, and Emma Rayl sat out until the fourth quarter due to coming back from illness. Still, the girls team once again showed its depth in pulling out the win.
Richardson still finished with 14 points and three steals, Caddis Robinson seven points and five rebounds, Liddy Day six points and three rebounds, Lydnsey Mekelburg five points and two rebounds, Jailyn Mekelburg four points and nine rebounds, Rayl three points, Carolina Ross two points, three rebounds and three steals, Ashley Ibanez two points and four rebounds, Alina Moran two points and four rebounds, Jade Lungwitz two points, Jazmine Sotelo one point, and Bailey Nighswonger one rebound.
Yuma ran into 3A top-ranked and undefeated Peyton, Saturday afternoon, in a game that had been rescheduled three times.
The home girls ended up losing 48-35, but held the upper hand in the early going. Yuma looked good in taking a 15-8 lead, but scored only two points in the second quarter to trail 19-17 at halftime.
Yuma kept sticking around in the second half, trailing just 38-35 in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers closed the game on a 10-0 run.
“We broke down a few times defensively against Peyton,” Robinson said, “but I wasn’t disappointed overall with our defense.”
Richardson had 10 points, three rebounds and three steals, Robinson six points and three rebounds, Moran six points and two rebounds, L. Mekelburg six points and two assists, Day three points and three rebounds, J. Mekelburg a big game on the glass with 13 rebounds, Rayl two points, three rebounds and two assists, and Ibanez two points and four rebounds.