Yuma beats Swink to repeat as 2A girls basketball champion

(Nick Jurney/CHSAANow.com)

LOVELAND — Yuma is quickly turning into Title Town.

The rural city, with a population of just over 3,500, rolled deep to the Budweiser Events Center Saturday to see a familiar sight: its high school winning a state championship.

Fresh off a sweep of the Class 2A basketball championships last spring and a Class 2A volleyball championship in the fall, Yuma added to its trophy collection Saturday with a second straight girls basketball title.

Behind the backdrop of a red and white sea in the stands, Yuma (23-3) defeated Swink (24-5) by a final score of 41-25.

With the Yuma boys also winning a second-straight title of their own later in the night, the city of Yuma might as well just take up a part-time residency at The Ranch in Loveland.

“It’s amazing, the whole town is here pretty much,” said senior Chasey Blach, who dropped five points into the winning effort. “They love it.”

And what’s not to love about winning?

Blach and fellow senior Cody Robinson did plenty of that at Yuma, and it culminated in a second straight state title and third in four years on Saturday night.

But it didn’t exactly come easy.

Swink jumped out to an early lead in a low-scoring first half, capitalizing on a number of missed free throws by Yuma to pull ahead 6-3 after eight minutes.

Late in the second, Robinson kick-started the championship run with an important sequence. With under three minutes left in the half, Robinson hit a 3-pointer to help the Indians pull within two points. On the next possession, she drove inside and dropped in a bucket while getting fouled. The ensuing free throw gave Yuma its first lead of the night at 11-10 with 2:16 left in the half.

More importantly, it gave Yuma a spark.

“We knew their defense was always strong, and offensively they came out strong as well,” Robinson said. “We just needed to fight through it and play like it was our last game.”

Swink senior Brianna Denton hit a long jumper at the halftime buzzer to send the teams into the locker room knotted at 14. But in the second half, everything changed.

The Lions struggled to make a shot in the third quarter, ultimately scoring just four points. Yuma’s Reagan Nolin hit one of her two 3-pointers to kick-start the third quarter, and Robinson added another trey of her own to push the lead to 22-16. Robinson finished with a game-high 21 points in her final performance in a Yuma uniform.

In the fourth, the hole became even deeper for the Lions. Denton, the team’s leading scorer by a long stretch (she averaged 17.9 points per game heading into the tournament), fouled out. That left the Lions without a primary scorer and only a tiny slimmer of hope.

A fastbreak layup by Yum’s Viri Escobar, along with another 3-ball by Nolin, quickly erased that hope. And soon after, Title Town was celebrating another championship.

“It’s not easy to do,” Yuma coach Bob Rahm said of going back-to-back. “But it is so awesome to live in Yuma, Colorado.”

(Nick Jurney/CHSAANow.com)