Yuma girls show promise in December

It will be a very Merry Christmas for the Yuma High School girls basketball team.
The Indians gave themselves a nice present with an encouraging December, during which they went 4-2 against stiff competition. The schedule does not get any easier when the season resumes in 2022, but head coach Jeremy Robinson said he is now feeling much better about the slate.
“I had been telling everybody, I even told the team, I was deathly afraid of our schedule,” he said earlier this week. “Now I don’t care. It’s so fun seeing these girls coming along.”
The Indians already have matched last season’s four-win regular season.
“If we win one more, I might retire,” Robinson joked. “I’m pretty excited with where we’re at, and we’re not even close to playing our best basketball yet, which is super cool.”
The Tribe enters the holiday break ranked No. 8 in Class 2A (CHSAANow.com polls) and has jumped considerably in the Rating Percentage Index to No. 14. Yuma will have plenty of opportunities to keep moving up as they wade their way through the Lower Platte Activities Association in early 2022. Holyoke, Sedgwick County, Yuma and Wray are ranked in 2A, and Akron has had a strong December, while Merino and Haxtun are in the 1A Top 10.
Yuma closed out December by placing second in the inaugural YHS Holiday Tournament, this past weekend.
They opened tournament play Friday night with an exciting 45-42 win over then-No. 7 Heritage Christian.

The visitors were completely outhustling the Indians on the interior, repeatedly getting second chances off of missed shots. Yet somehow the Tribe kept sticking around, trailing by only three after one quarter, and cutting the deficit to two, 22-20, by halftime.
“They just out-physicaled us,” Robinson said. “We were boxing out, but either we didn’t jump or didn’t go get the ball. It seemed like they kept beating us to all the loose balls.
“There was a weird flow to the game, but then we had a great third quarter.”
That the Indians did. Senior Meidi Reyes got hot from downtown, making three 3-pointers, and scoring 11 points total as the Indians opened up a 39-30 lead.
Yuma kept the lead around double digits for the first half of the fourth. However, Heritage Christian kept chipping away, pulling to within three in the final seconds.
Emma Rayl, who had just missed two free throws, knocked down two at the charity stripe for a five-point lead. Heritage Christian scored a basket at the buzzer to trim the final deficit to three.
Yuma again did not shoot well, hitting just 32 percent of its shots, and shooting just 40 percent (10 for 25) at the line. However, the Indians broke loose behind the arc, making seven of 16 (43 percent) to find a way to pull out the win. Plus, they limited their turnovers to eight while coming up with 12 steals.
Reyes made four of six behind the arc, finishing with 14 points and two steals. Rayl had 10 points, five steals and three rebounds, Caddis Robinson nine points, three rebounds and three steals, Lea Richardson six points and one steal, Sam Wells five points and two rebounds, and Ashley Ibanez five points.
Eaton, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, knocked off Limon, which was ranked No. 1 in 2A, in the other first round game. (The Badgers are now No. 2 in the Top 10.)
That set up quite the challenge for the young Yuma squad, Saturday afternoon in The Pit. The Indians eventually lost 60-51, but pushed the Reds the whole game.
Yuma led 15-12 on a Robinson basket off a nice assist from Richardson, but Eaton closed the first quarter on a 5-0 spurt for a 17-15 lead.
Eaton led 22-17 early in the second, but back-to-back treys by Reyes and Robinson tied the score at 23. Yuma led 29-28 when Eaton closed the first half with an old-school three-point play for a 31-29 halftime lead.
The third quarter proved to be Yuma’s undoing as Eaton scored the first six points, outscoring the Indians 12-4 to build a 43-33 lead.
The Indians kept battling in the fourth, but never could get closer than six points.
“I’ll take losing to Eaton by nine,” Robinson said. “They’re a lot older than we are in terms of experience. That third quarter was just a tough one for us.”
Just like in the Wray loss earlier this month, the Indians were at a decided disadvantage at the charity stripe. Eaton made 22 of 34 at the line. Yuma shot well at the line, but shot only 14, making 11.
“As a coaching staff we need to do a better job of coaching them not to foul,” Robinson said. “I don’t think the refs are out to get us, we just need to do a better job of not fouling.”
On the plus side, the Tribe seems to be finding its long-range touch. After making a total of nine 3-pointers in its first four games, Yuma made 15 over the weekend, seven against on Friday and eight against Eaton on 53-percent shooting.
“The confidence is awesome on our shooting, and its spread out among a lot of players,” Robinson said.
This time it was Caddis Robinson who went off from deep, making five of six while finishing with 23 points and two rebounds. Reyes hit two, finishing with six points, two assists and two rebounds, Richardson had seven points and three rebounds, Wells seven points and six rebounds, Rayl five points and two rebounds, Jossy Munoz two points and four rebounds, Jailyn one point and one rebound, and Liddy Day one rebound.
Yuma continued to struggle from close range, however, making just eight of 40 2-pointers (20 percent).
Robinson gave his players this week off to rest up, and recover from bumps and bruises (nearly every player has played two, or even three, sports in the first semester) before hitting the gym again between Christmas and New Year’s when more practices are allowed.
Robinson said he hoped they would keep shooting and stay in shape during their time off.
“I think they’re pretty excited about where we’re at and where we’re going,” he said.