Yuma girls seem to be finding themselves

It seems like a new-look Yuma High School girls basketball team is evolving into a contender once again.
The Indians have had two strong performances, including the 2020 debut at Akron, to improve to 3-4 overall, 1-0 in the Lower Platte Activities Association. It is just in time, too, as they head to rival Wray for a key LPAA showdown on Friday. That game will be followed by a nonleague home contest against Burlington, Saturday afternoon.
“I’m pleased with our progress,” coach Bob Rahm said. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there.”
Rahm has opened up the rotation in recent games, trying to find the right combinations, and the younger players have given an athletic boost to the overall effort.
“Everyone is starting to figure out their roles, getting more familiar with each other,” Rahm said. “That helps a lot.”
The Indians have a big one Friday night in the Eagles Nest.
“Another league battle with the Eagles,” Rahm said, almost wistfully.
It will be Wray’s first LPAA game after having an interesting week last week against neighboring Nebraska teams. The Eagles were dumped by Chase County (Imperial) last Thursday, but turned around and ran out a Dundy County (Benkleman) team that had rolled Chase County earlier last week. Wray tuned up for the Yuma game by playing a struggling Burlington squad this past Tuesday. It is the same Burlington team that will visit Yuma on Saturday.
Yuma has a lot of work to do in the regular season, but plenty of games left in which to get it done. The Indians still are ranked No. 10 in the Class 2A Top 10. Wray is No. 7.
However, it is the Rating Percentage Index that will matter when it comes to postseason seeding. The Indians were in the mid-30s last week, but had moved up to No. 27 after the Akron game. Wray entered the week at No. 9, so a Yuma victory would give the Tribe a boost, but that game is followed by playing Burlington again. The winless Cougars entered this week at No. 44.
“We just have to string together some wins,” Rahm said.
They are off to a good start, having won two straight for the Tribe’s first winning streak of the season.

Elle Roth dribbles upcourt under defensive pressure last week at Akron. (Dave Gustafson)

Following a convincing home win over No. 9 Simla in the last game of December, the Indians returned to action last Friday with a 60-29 win at Akron.
Akron took a 4-0 lead, but Yuma was up 11-5 by the end of the first quarter, and kept it going in the second while building a 25-13 halftime lead.
It was 30-18 in the third when Yuma really began pour it on, utilizing steals and rebounds to get out in transition for easy baskets to spark a 14-2 run for a 44-20 lead. A dish from Lea Richardson to older sister Ema staked the Tribe to a 48-22 lead heading into the fourth.
A steal and layup by E. Richardson gave Yuma a 55-24 lead early in the fourth, and the Indians cruised from there to the win as Rahm emptied the bench.
Yuma shot 44 percent from the floor, including 49 percent on 2-pointers (23-for-47). The Indians came up with nine steals, and had 14 assists to only 10 turnovers. Akron had 22 turnovers. Yuma held a 33-19 rebounding advantage.
Meidi Reyes puts up a shot during the win at Akron, last Friday. (Dave Gustafson)
E. Richardson had a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Reagan Nolin made three of five 3-pointers, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists, Elle Roth five points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, Meidi Reyes four points, L. Richardson three points, five rebounds and four assists, Sam Wells two points and two rebounds, Kelly Gardner two rebounds and two steals, and Lainey Mekelburg one rebound.
Lainey Mekeklburg dribbles upcourt during the win at Akron, last Friday. (Dave Gustafson)

“We’re starting to score some points, which is good,” Rahm said. “Defensively, we’re getting better. It’s just a combination of things.”