It is finally time to get back on the court for the Yuma High School girls basketball.

The top-ranked Indians play their first game in 2018 on Friday at Wiggins. It is their Lower Platte Activities Association opener. It is their first game since beating Wray on December 15.

“I’m excited to get going again,” coach Bob Rahm said. “The girls are chomping at the bit.”

Wiggins will enter the game 1-0 in LPAA play and 7-2 overall after beating Sedgwick County 36-32 last week, followed by a nonleague win over Strasburg.

Joining the Tigers atop the early leader board are the Holyoke Dragons, ranked third in Class 2A, who beat Phillips County-rival Haxtun 41-26 last Friday, and the Caliche Buffaloes after a 46-33 win over Akron.

Wray, ranked No. 6 in 2A, beat Holyoke in overtime in a nonleague game this past Tuesday, and opens LPAA play Saturday at home against Sedgwick County. Sedgwick County will first host Holyoke on Friday. Merino is at Akron on Friday, and Haxtun will host Caliche.

Friday’s game begins Yuma’s quest toward winning at least a share of the LPAA title for the third straight season, and fourth time in five. The Indians have finished no worse than second the past five seasons.

Cody Robinson will help lead the Yuma girls into league play, Friday at Wiggins. (Dave Gustafson)

Rahm noted that Haxtun’s Dawson Knode returned from injury to play in a limited role against Holyoke last week.

“I would think that will make them a little better, but I still think it will be a battle between us, Holyoke and Wray,” he said.

Wiggins has been making its own case, winning seven of its first nine, after the Tigers enjoyed a great run at the state volleyball tournament. That’s just fine with Rahm, as long as Yuma wins on Friday, as Wiggins’ success will help Yuma when the first Rating Percentage Index comes out next week. He also noted Highland has lost just once since losing to Yuma during the season’s opening weekend, and most other opponents Yuma has beaten in its 7-0 start have done well.

“It all helps in the RPI,” Rahm said.

The RPI will be used to help seed the regional and state tournament fields. The eight district champions will be the top eight seeds for regional, but where the fall within that range will be determined by RPI. The district champs also will host four-team regionals this year.

“I like that, that’s the way it should be,” Rahm said. “You should get awarded for winning your league tournament.”

However, he stressed there is a lot of basketball to play before then, and a lot of potential pitfalls for the Indians if they don’t stay focused.

Yuma initially was supposed to play a game at Brush last weekend, but it was rescheduled to early February. It was a good thing, too, as illness, injury, vacation trips and other issues severely reduced participation by players and staff when practice resumed last week.

Still, there is plenty of time to work back into their groove as the Indians have a whole week after the Wiggins game before they play again.

Plus, senior Kenedy Rahm will be eased back into the lineup after missing all of December due to injury.

“This time of year it’s about trying to get back into shape,” Rahm said.

“We’re working on, not really new, but things we’ll probably be doing for the most part in league. It’s things we’ve done before, but not much recently.”