Yuma girls snap skid, at Byers

It definitely has been an interesting and challenging stretch for the Yuma High School girls basketball team.

“We are trying to get better every day and fix our mistakes that we continue to make that has put us in this position,” coach Jeremy Robinson said.

The Outlaws finally snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 43-38 win at Caliche this past Tuesday. Now 10-8, they close out regular season Friday at Byers. Despite the losing streak, the Outlaws entered this week No. 7 in the Class 3A Selection & Seeding Index thanks to their challenging schedule.

Their losses have come against Class 6A Eaglecrest in December, and three undefeated No. 1 teams in Sidney, Nebraska, Peyton (3A) and Merino (2A) as well as to 3A No. 5 Strasburg and 2A No. 2 Sedgwick County. They held leads against the Peyton, Merino, Sedgwick County, and Strasburg, including in the fourth quarter against the latter three, and also held fourth-quarter leads against Wray and Wiggins.

“I can maybe name two games where a team has beat us,” Robinson said. “Sedge and Merino did not beat us, we beat ourselves. We controlled both games the whole way until the end. Then mistakes plagued us, again. It’s happened several games. Against good teams mistakes at the wrong time will get you beat.”

Now they close out regular season Friday at Byers with a chance to build some momentum heading into next week’s district. Byers entered this week 6-11 and No. 32 in the 2A Index.

The Outlaws then go into a very winnable 3A district tournament next week at Manual.

Yuma hosted the top two teams in 2A last week in The Pit, where the excruciating frustrations continued as the Outlaws had a chance to win both.

First up was a 40-34 loss to Sedgwick County, last Thursday.

Senior Caddis Robinson returned to the lineup for the first time in a month, and made a 3-pointer to stake Yuma to a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The scoring remained sparse as the visitors led 17-16 at halftime.

Yuma scored the first seven points of the third for a 25-17 lead, but had to settle for a 27-23 lead heading into the fourth.

Jade Lungwitz’s old-fashioned three-point play staked Yuma to a 33-28 lead with about 3 minutes to go.

However, the Outlaws could manage only one more point the rest of the way, while Sedgwick County hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take the lead, then took care of business at the charity stripe to secure the win.

Neither team shot well, with both at 30 percent from the floor, and both made just three 3-pointers. However, Sedgwick County shot 21 free throws, making 15, while Yuma made just five of 11 from the charity stripe.

Carolina Ross had seven points, Berkley Nighswonger five points, Alina Moran four points and four rebounds, Ashley Ibanez four points and six rebounds, Lungwitz four points, Taryn Sheffield four points and three rebounds, Robinson three points and three rebounds, Bailey Nighswonger two points and two assists, Jailyn Mekelburg one point, Aubrey Black two rebounds,a nd Emma Rayl two assists.

It seemed the Outlaws had blown their chance at getting a home win as No. 1 Merino visited on Friday. However, they once again had their opportunities.

Moran scored 10 straight as Yuma took at 12-8 lead early in the second quarter. The Outlaws scored just five more points, but held a 17-16 halftime lead over the undefeated Rams.

Merino battled back for a 25-22 lead. Still, Yuma was within two, 31-29, midway through the fourth, but was outscored 9-2 the rest of the way for a 40-31 loss. It was the closest game of the season for Merino.

“I was proud of how they played against Merino,” Robinson said. “We should’ve won both games in my opinion. My question to the team was, we played what everyone says is the scariest team around, in Merino. Beating everyone by 30, starters don’t even play the fourth quarter. We made way too many mistakes to win and lost by nine. So how good can we be? My answer was very good, it’s in there. We just have to find it.”

Yuma again shot 30 percent from the floor, including making two of 10 behind the arc. Moran had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Lungwitz six points, four rebounds and three assists, Bailey Nighswonger six points and two rebounds, Sheffield three points and four rebounds, Robinson two points and five rebounds, and Ibanez two rebounds and two assists.