Yuma girls closer to where they want to be
They have taken care of business so far, so now is not the time for the Yuma High School girls basketball players to start losing focus.
The Indians enter the final seven-day stretch of the regular season sporting a 15-0 record, including 5-0 in Lower Platte Activities Association play. They are ranked No. 1 in the CHSAAnow.com Class 2A Top 10 poll, and No. 1 in the Ratings Percentage Index.
“We can’t stub our toe now,” coach Bob Rahm said. “We have to follow all the way through and get that top seed.”
There is plenty of work left to do between today, February 8, and the regular-season finale next Thursday against Akron.
The Indians make one more road trip today to Brush for a nonleague game, then close out the regular season at home against Haxtun on Friday, Holyoke on Tuesday and then Akron.
Brush entered this week 8-7 overall, and 3-4 in the tough Class 3A Patriot League. “Brush is a good team and they play in a tough league,” Rahm said.
Then comes the task of trying to secure the program’s second outright LPAA title in three seasons, and third in five seasons. (The Indians shared the title with Haxtun last season, and the Bulldogs had the top seed for district by virtue of its win over Yuma.)
Haxtun currently is 10-4 overall and 3-2 in league play, beating Akron last weekend. The Bulldogs’ two league losses are to Holyoke and Wray. They are no longer ranked in the Top 10 and their RPI is No. 17. However, junior Dawson Knode has returned to action after sitting out the first part of the season due to health issues.
Yuma gets the weekend off before welcoming Holyoke to town Tuesday for a huge LPAA showdown.
Holyoke is 5-0 in league play, 14-2 overall, ranked No. 4 in the Top 10 and No. 3 in the RPI. The Dragons play Caliche (2-4, 3-12) today, so it is expected they still will be unbeaten in league play when they come to town. After the Yuma game, the Dragons close out the regular season at home against Wray on February 16.
Since losing at home to Yuma on January 19, Holyoke has held its last four opponents to 21 or fewer points.
“They play good defense and give themselves a chance to win,” Rahm said. “They held Wiggins to nine points and Akron to 14.”
Rounding out the bottom of the LPAA are Merino and Wiggins both at 3-3 in league play, Caliche 2-4, Sedgwick County 0-5 and Akron 0-6. Sedgwick County and Akron play this week with the loser securing last place and a district quarterfinal at the top-seed.
Yuma did its part to stay in the race for the top seed with a couple of blowout wins last weekend, 57-15 over Merino in The Pit last Friday, and 68-20 at Caliche on Saturday.
The Indians looked sharp in both games, jumping out to big leads and everybody in the lineup getting playing time.
“That’s what good teams do,” Rahm said. “They don’t mess around, and take care of business. These girls are pretty committed to getting things done.”
Yuma was on its home floor for only the third time this season, when Merino visited The Pit last Friday.
The Indians scored the first 10 points, then went on an 11-0 tear to start the second quarter for a 26-5 lead. They led 32-7 at halftime, then displayed good ball movement and aggressiveness while building a 46-14 lead in the third. The Indians continued to increase their lead as the bench was emptied, eventually winning by 42.
Yuma shot 51 percent, making 25 of 49 attempts, and that was despite making only one of 11 3-point attempts. The Indians shot 63 percent (24-for-38) on 2-point shots. They did struggle a bit again at the free throw line, making six of 12. They dished out 17 assists, snagged 13 steals and committed just 11 turnovers.
Chasey Blach had 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in limited time, Cody Robinson 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals, Reagan Nolin eight points, Kyle Rayl seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, Kenedy Roth six points and four rebounds, Avery Whitehead five points and two steals, Viri Escobar two points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals, Lucy Day two points, Sarah Leifheit one point and one rebound, and Ema Richardson three rebounds.
The Indians hit the road to Logan County on Saturday for a league game at Caliche. They scored the first 17 points, and held Caliche to two points in the first half while constructing a 40-2 lead.
The Buffaloes picked up the pace a bit offensively in the second half, but the Indians kept building their lead as the bench was emptied again, eventually winning by 48.
“They held Caliche to two points in the first half,” Rahm noted. “That shows they are committed to defense even being up by 40 points.”
Robinson had 18 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists, Whitehead 14 points, Blach 12 points, three rebounds and two steals, Richardson nine points and three rebounds, Leifheit five points and two assists, Nolin four points and three rebounds, Roth three points, six rebounds and five assists, Michelle Reyes three points, Rayl three assists and two steals, Day two assists, Escobar two assists, and Lisa Bustillos one rebound.
The Indians shot 49 percent (25-for-51), including eight of 19 3-point attempts, and made 10 of 18 at the charity stripe. They dished out 18 assists, recorded 15 steals and committed just 11 turnovers.