Yuma girls nearing league title
It is February, which means the end of the regular season suddenly is in sight for the Yuma High School girls basketball team.
“It’s gone by pretty fast here lately,” coach Bob Rahm said.
The Indians moved closer to another Lower Platte Activities Association regular season title with a couple of wins this past week, over Merino last Saturday and at Sedgwick County this past Tuesday. They now are 12-3 overall, 6-0 in the LPAA, heading into today’s home league game against the Caliche Buffaloes. Yuma also will travel to Sterling on Saturday afternoon for a nonleague game before closing out the regular season later next week with games at Holyoke and Haxtun.
Yuma entered this week ranked No. 6 in the Class 2A Top 10 (CHSAANow.com polls). As of February 7, the Indians also are No. 7 in the Rating Percentage Index, which will be used for regional and state seeding.
Wray is ranked No. 2 in the Top 10 and No. 4 in the RPI. However, the Indians beat Wray in their league game last month, and will secure the top seed for district with a win today over a Caliche squad that is winless in league play and 3-13 overall.
“We’re finishing strong,” Rahm said. “We’re starting to play well offensive, and our defense has been good every game.”
Yuma and Wray have all but locked up the top two seeds for district as all the other 2A teams in the LPAA have at least two losses. Haxtun entered this week with just one league loss, to Wray, but drops down to 1A for the postseason, along with Caliche and Merino.
Other league games tonight have Merino at Haxtun, and Akron at Holyoke.
The Indians had just one game last weekend, hosting Merino for a league game. (Only the boys played Byers last Friday, and it will be only the girls at Sterling on Saturday.)
Merino came to town with a winning league record, and 8-4 overall mark, but could not keep up with the Indians as the home team claimed a 67-45 win.
Yuma quickly took a 9-3 lead, but Merino settled in and stuck around, pulling to within one point twice in the second quarter.
Viri Escobar’s old-fashioned three-point play sparked a 10-0 run midway though the second quarter for a 28-17 lead, and the Indians led 34-22 at halftime.
Chasey Blach and Elle Roth both went to the bench with four fouls in the third, but Reagan Nolin picked up the slack with five straight points for a 48-30 lead. Yuma made a 3-pointer right before the buzzer for a 52-32 lead heading into the fourth.
The Indians built their lead to as much as 25 in the final stanza as several players saw court time.
“We were talking to the girls about that’s the first time we’ve given up overv40 points (since early early December), but we scored almost 70,” Rahm said.
Nolin provided some much-needed offensive punch, leading all scorers with a career-high 22 points. The junior knocked down four of six 3-point attempts, made four of eight shots inside the arc, and both of her free throws. Nolin also had six rebounds. Plus, Escobar tallied a career-high 11 assists, along with five points and three rebounds.
“She shot the ball really well,” Rahm said of Nolin. “It’s what she is capable of doing. She hasn’t been taking as many shots as I’d like her to see, but she’s been looking to score more recently. And Viri has been playing really well.”
Overall, the Indians shot 49 percent from the floor in one of their better offensive performances of the season.
Blach had 18 points and eight rebounds, Cody Robinson 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals Escobar had a career-high 11 assists to go along with five points and three rebounds. Escobar also took two charges on defense. Ema Richardson had five points and six rebounds, Taylor Law two points and two rebounds, Roth two rebounds and Lainey Mekelburg one rebound.
The Indians went on the road to Julesburg this past Tuesday for a LPAA game against Sedgwick County. The Cougars were winless in league play, and still were afterward as Yuma claimed a 60-16 win.
It was 25-2 after the first quarter, and Rahm went deep into his bench early and often as the Indians continued to build on their lead throughout the game.
Robinson had 14 of her 19 points in the first quarter and had nine steals and five rebounds. Blach had 12 points and six rebounds, Nolin eight points and two steals, Roth seven points and two rebounds, Escobar five points, four assists and three steals, Richardson four points and five rebounds, Law and Josselyn Munoz two points each, Mekelburg one point and five rebounds, and Lisa Bustillos two rebounds.