Tribe stays on pace to win league
A second straight Lower Platte Activities Association title is within reach for the Yuma High School boys basketball team.
The Indians are 6-0 in the LPAA, 14-2 overall, after a convincing 57-29 win over Sedgwick County, Tuesday night in Julesburg.
Yuma now hosts Caliche today, February 7, then get the weekend off before closing out the regular season later next week with back-to-back road trips to Phillips County.
“We just need to look at what is in front of us,” coach Dave Sheffield said.
The Indians treated their fans to a fun 56-49 overtime win over Byers, last Friday night in The Pit in a rematch of last season’s state semifinal, then followed that up with a workmanlike league win over the visiting Merino Rams the next afternoon.
Yuma is No. 2, as of February 7, in the 2A Rating Percentage Index, and No. 2 in the 2A Top 10 (CHSAANow.com rankings). The Indians’ impressive win at Sedgwick County puts them on the brink of winning their second consecutive league crown.
Everybody else in the league has at least two league losses, so the Indians will clinch the LPAA regular season title outright with a win over Caliche as they have just one league left next week, at Haxtun on February 15.
It was a great environment in The Pit last Friday night as Byers came to town for a rematch of last season’s state semifinal, won 58-54 by Yuma while its way to the 2A championship.
A big crowd, bolstered by the annual Indian Thunder performance at halftime, was treated to a well-played game by two teams ranked in the Top 10.
Yuma’s 6-foot-7 senior Jake Chrisman did not play in the first half while still recovering from an ankle injury sustained the week before. Byers’ 6-10 senior Mccuen also did not start, but Sheffield said the Bulldogs always do that as they start out trying to press and push the tempo with a smaller lineup. Mccuen entered less than 3 minutes in. Then Yuma’s 6-5 Chase McCreath picked up his second foul.
Yuma had trouble scoring in the first, trailing 11-5 after the first quarter.
The Indians got going in the second behind McCreath and Robinson, who made a series of buckets to pull Yuma into the lead. Preston Blach made a basket for a 21-16 lead, and Yuma led 21-20 at halftime.
Chrisman started the second half, and promptly made a jumper from the free throw line. Yuma led by as much as three in the third, but Byers rallied for a 33-31 lead heading into the fourth.
Byers took a five-point lead early in the final stanza, but Yuma quickly tied it at 36 and again at 43, with Robinson getting the tying points both times.
Yuma had the ball for one last shot at the end of regulation, but Robinson’s attempt bounced off the front of the tim.
Mccuen got a steal and breakaway slam dunk for a 47-45 Byers lead early in the extra period.
However, it was all Yuma after that. The Indians immediately answered with an inside bucket by McCreath, two free throws by Steven Wells, and another basket at the rim by McCreath for a 52-47 lead.
Byers never got closer than three the rest of the way.
“It was such an awesome environment,” Sheffield said. “Both teams played well, I think. We got the look we wanted at the end of regulation, and then in overtime we scored more (13 points) in those four minutes than we did in three of the quarters.”
The Indians held a 39-28 rebounding advantage, thanks in large part to Chrisman pulling down 11 rebounds after halftime. Byers quick guards forced Yuma into 18 turnovers, but the Bulldogs committed 21 themselves.
McCreath had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, Jonathan Rascon hit two key 3-pointers while finishing with 13 pionts, three rebounds and three assists, Robinson 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals, Chrisman seven points, two assists and two blocks to go with the 11 boards, Wells five points and four rebounds, Blach two points and one rebound, Cade Morton two assists and two steals, Alex Morales one steal and Kobe Rayl three rebounds.
The Indians had a quick turnaround as they hosted Merino for a LPAA game the next afternoon.
The crowd was smaller and the energy decidedly less enthusiastic, but the Tribe took care of business with a 57-35 win over the Rams.
Yuma quickly took a 12-2 lead, and corner treys by Robinson and Rascon off of kick-out passes taked the Indians to a 23-6 lead in the second quarter.
The Indians led 32-15 at halftime, and pushed the lead to 20 points in the third as Sheffield substituted liberally throughout the second half.
Yuma actually was outrebounded, but came up with 16 steals while forcing Merino into 22 turnovers, while committing 14. Yuma also recorded 14 assists, and snot 53 percent on 2-pointers. Wells and Robinson both had two 3-pointers.
Chrisman finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six blocks, Robinson 16 points, three rebounds and seven steals, McCreath six points, three rebounds and two assists, Wells six points, four rebounds and two assists, Morales four points, two rebounds and two steals, Rascon five points, Javier Gamboa three points, Rayl four rebounds, three assists and three steals, Morton one steal and one rebound, and Blach two assists and one rebound.
The Indians made a Tuesday trip to Julesburg in a key league battle. The Cougars kept it close early, but Yuma started to pull away midway through the first. The Indians went on a 15-2 run to open up a 23-10 lead.
Sedgwick County, however, battled back and got to within five, 25-20, early in the third. Yuma answered with a 15-2 run to open up a 40-22 lead, and were up by 20, 44-24, heading into the fourth.
Sedgwick County had beaten Wray on Saturday, and still have a shot at the second seed for district if the Cougars can beat Akron on Friday.
Chrisman controlled the game, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals, while McCreath had 16 points and six rebounds, Wells six points and two assists, Morton five points, Morales four oints, three steals, two assists and two rebounds, Robinson four points, four rebounds and three assists, Rascon three points, five rebounds and two assists, Blach two points and two rebounds, and Rayl two assists and one rebound.