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Yuma pulls out another close win to claim 3A boys basketball title

DENVER – A team that wasn’t supposed to be here was the last one standing.

And it was a defensive stand that led to state championship glory for the Outlaws.

Vanguard's Matty Desalegn misses a 3-point shot 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 championship at the University of Denver's Hamilton Gym on Saturday. led to.

“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 finished the season with a 22-4 record and became the seventh men's basketball title in school history, joining the Outlaws who won in 1958, 1963, 1981, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

Yuma's incredible run, which consisted of a one-point decision over Centauri (35-34) in the Elite Eight and a one-point decision over Forge Christian (42-41) in the semifinals, set the stage for Saturday night.

Vanguard finished the season with a record of 25 wins and 2 losses.

This match was full of drama, especially in the final three minutes.

Brody Sheffield, the coach's son, and Christian Duarte responded with five-point spurts to give the Outlaws a 53-50 lead with 2:30 remaining. With 2:10 left in the game, JJ Wetters answered with a bucket to give Vanguard one, 53-52.

Moments later, 1:58 to be exact, Jonathan Thomson made two free throws to give Yuma a 55-52 lead.

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

(Dan Morman/

After that, it was a game that neither team wanted to win.

Yuma had a turnover with 56.9 seconds left. A timeout was called when Cameron Lowney dribbled up the court and his team could not keep calm. Unfortunately for the Vanguards, the turnover favor was returned, giving Yuma the ball with 23.2 seconds left.

The Outlaws had a golden opportunity to extend their narrow lead when Vanguard's Josh Allard fouled Yuma's Edwin Munoz.

However, although he scored a game-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers, he missed both of his shots from the charity stripe and the ball bounced back to Vanguard. The Vanguard called a timeout with 10.3 seconds left and prepared for their final play.

As in the previous two games, the celebration began from the moment Desalegn's shot bounced off the back of the rim as Yuma wrested victory from defeat.

“This is surreal,” Munoz said. “We had doubts from the beginning. We lost a lot of seniors and it's a whole new team, but we proved everyone wrong. We have a great team here. This It's a state-wide tournament, and I kept telling my teammates that if we miss a shot, we're going to make it up with defense, and that's what we did. Defense wins championships.”

(Dan Morman/

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