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Yuma Earns Seventh State Championship – CENTRAL

DENVER – The impossible became reality for the Yuma High School boys basketball team Saturday night.

The team everyone counted as a state title contender came out victorious as the Class 3A state champion.

Vanguard's Matty Desalegn missed a 3-pointer from the top right of the key off the back iron at the buzzer to give Yuma a dramatic 55-54 victory in the Class 3A state title game at the University of Denver's Hamilton Gym. led to.

“This is surreal,” Yuma's Edwin Munoz said. “We had doubts from the beginning. We lost a lot of seniors, we were a whole new team and we proved everyone wrong. We have a great team here. During this state tournament, I kept telling my teammates that if we missed a shot, we would make it back with defense, and that's what we did. Defense wins championships.”

Yuma finished the storybook season with a 22-4 record and won the boys basketball title for the seventh time in school history, following the school's titles in 1958, 1963, 1981, 2018, 2019 and 2022. won the title.

“I'm so proud of you guys,” Yuma coach Dave Sheffield said. “We shouldn't have come here and seen how strong we are. We won the (last) three games by a total of three points. That's really unbelievable. . It is amazing.”

Yuma's incredible run, which consisted of one-point decisions against Centauri (35-34) in the Elite 8 and Forge Christian (42-41) in the semifinals, set the stage for more heroics Saturday night . Vanguard finished the season with a record of 25 wins and 2 losses.

The match was exciting, but the final three minutes got even more tense.

Brody Sheffield, the coach's son, and Christian Duarte made great contributions, combining for five points to give the Outlaws a 53-50 lead with 2:30 remaining. He had 2:10 left in the game when JJ Wetters was able to get Vanguard within one point of him at 53-52.

After a foul was called, Jonathan Thomson made two free throws to give Yuma a 55-52 lead.

After a Yuma turnover, Vanguard's Desalegn made a follow shot to cut Yuma's lead to 55-54 with 1:15 left.

Both teams then traded turnovers and Munoz had a chance to ice the game when he was fouled, headed to the free throw line and hit two shots. Munoz had 21 points on seven 3-pointers and appeared to be an ideal candidate to send to the Outlaws' line.

However, Muñoz failed both attempts, which only added to the tension. Munoz's second miss was rebounded by Vanguard. Vanguard called timeout with 10.3 seconds left and prepared for their final play.

Moments later, Yuma was celebrating when Desalegn's shot bounced off the back of the rim.

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