LOVELAND — Watch. Win. Repeat.
That was the formula for Yuma boys basketball on Saturday at Loveland’s Budweiser Event Center.
Yuma won its second straight Class 2A boys championship by knocking off Highland 52-39. That victory came on the heels of watching the Yuma girls win their second straight 2A championship.
It’s the second straight year the Yuma squads have swept the championship games. It’s a feat that’s never been done in Colorado high school basketball. In any classification. Ever.
“We said it all year that it’s harder to win it twice than it is to win it once, and the whole season we were practicing like we were No. 1,” senior Jake Chrisman said. “I can’t even describe it. These guys have put in a whole season of work just to try to get back here. And we just knew we’d have to put our best game together to do it.”
The title was the fifth in school history for the Yuma boys, and it came in wire-to-wire fashion. Highland, a scrappy team that likes to play fast, tried to push the pace early on in the hopes of knocking Yuma off-balance.
But the tempo was instead controlled by Chrisman and Co. The champs held Highland in check and allowed just four points through the first quarter, ultimately pushing the lead to 10 by half.
“We had to outwork them,” Chrisman said. “We knew it was going to be a physical came, so we had to come out and play our hardest. We knew if we played hard, the score would take care of itself.”
In the second half, Highland refused to go away. Junior Tate Bessire produced a number of hustle plays, including a steal-and-score that helped close out a mini-run in the third quarter for the Huskies.
Bessire then hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that brought Highland back within single digits at 40-32, but Yuma frosh Clay Robinson — whose sister Cody led the girls to a second straight title earlier in the night — hit a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead back to 12 with just over three minutes to play.
And after that, it was all time to add some fresh ink to history books.
Chrisman led the team with 17 points, while Robinson chipped in 14.
By the end of the night, the Yuma community’s collective roar should have been hoarse. Instead, it was deafening.
Back-to-back championship performances by both the boys and girls teams is an absolute point of pride for the small community. And it showed.
After the team posed for the ceremonial photo with the trophy and the state championship banner, head coach Dave Sheffield embraced some of his assistant coaches, players, and family. Then he said, “Let’s go celebrate.”
“Just look up in the stands, it’s amazing,” Sheffield said. “You could rob the bank in Yuma right now … Everyone is here.”
“This is just great. It’s a culmination of a lot of work by these guys. They’re the definition of what a team should be. I can’t say enough about them.”