Highlights of the 4A Boys State Championship Basketball game, between Riverton vs. Evanston.

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It wasn't pretty, but the Red Devils would win their 2nd straight title, and deny the Wolverines their first.



The Devil may have went down to Georgia…but had to stop in Casper along the way, because there was some unfinished business to take care of.

Riverton vs. Evanston for 4A state championship…first quarter…Riverton wearing the maroon…and trying to win their first state championship in school history…Kade Salisbury will get his team off to a good start with a long 2…and that was the start of a 20 point game for the senior.

Now this next highlight marked one several key points in this game…Jordan Belville gets the offensive rebound and the putback to help the Wolverines get out to an early 5-to-2 advantage.

As for Evanston…they have been here before, because they are the defending champs, so they knew what to do. Kade Lym knocks down a 3 to tie the score at 5…although the opposition would counter with a number of free throws to reclaim the advantage…and go up 11-to-5.

So, the Red Devils had to play catch up in the early going, but they were ok with that. Taylor Siemers collects the 3-ball miss and sticks it back in for 2…now his team trails, 11-to-7.

Then the defense made a move…Brandon Fullerton will be relieved of his duties by Alek Johnson…who is more than thankful for the gift. The sophomore would make return and Evanston was only down 11-to-9 after the first 8 minutes.

Second quarter…here’s where things got bad on both sides…because everyone was in a drought. It took 4 minutes before anything happened…that was Matt Johnson who made the save…and then Brock Ehlers…a 6 foot freshman would make a big statement on this 3-ball…that was the first points in 6 and ½ minutes for the Red Devils, but they are now up 12-to-11.

As for Matt Johnson…he was playing in his home away from home…game winning rejection last year…a buzzer beater the night before in the semi-finals…now this drive and 1…I think he likes playing in the Casper Events Center…10 points for the senior, and that 3-point play makes the score 15-to-11.

The defending champs still had another weapon to unload in this game…that would be Jemini Leckie…and he unloaded on this 3…to cap off a 13-zip run, and give his team an 18-to-11 advantage.

As for Riverton…their drought was worse…no points in 10 and ½ minutes…and no field goals in 13 minutes. Salisbury is going to take care of those problems all at once…steal…fast-break…hoop and the foul…they needed that one, and thankfully they are only down 18-to-13.

But that did not cool off Evanston…Alek Johnson just needed to throw some more fuel on the fire and light a match…that 3 would push the score up to 21-14.

Time is running short before the break and Salisbury was looking for some help…then he realized that he did not need it…he’ll bury a 3 a few seconds ahead of the halftime buzzer, and that helped, because the Wolverines were down 4…23-to-19 going into the locker room.

Third quarter…Riverton had a chance, provided that they could get their shots to drop…Coley Nicholls put his foot on the line so that is a long 2, but now his team trails by 2…down 23-21.

However, the Red Devils were not about ready to let the opposition get any closer…Leckie saw that 2…and will raise 1 more and show them how it’s done. The senior chipped in with 18, and that would make this a 26-21 contest.

The Wolverines were just hanging around for the time being…not making a major move, but not getting further behind either…Xavier Webb will get in on the scoring with the hoop and the hack…the senior had 11, and his squad is down 28-24.

Then the scoring pace of the game slowed to a crawl again…and someone needed to provide a spark to get the crowd back into this game…Salisbury makes off like a bandit on this play with the steal and the lay in on the far side…that would keep Riverton within striking distance…trailing 32-to-27 going into the final 8 minutes.

Fourth quarter…Evanston was in another drought…7 minutes without a field goal, but they snapped out of it, big time…Ehlers is at the top of the key…and the freshmen let himself in for 3…that was huge and now his team is up 35-27.

The upper and under classmen were sticking to the game plan…Alek Johnson found something and the sophomore will go after it and get the bucket…the lead is at its biggest…a 10 point cushion with the score at 37-27.

The Wolverines needed to get it in gear if they wanted to bring home their first piece of championship hardware…Belville with the fade-away…count it…and give him one more…he would convert so his team trails, 37-to-30.

Now here comes another key point in the game…Matt Johnson will stop, pop and hit from the free throw line…to make it 41-to-32, with about 5 minutes to go. The point is that the Red Devils did not make 1 field goal for the rest of the game, from that point on.

Riverton needed points soon, because the clock was turning into their enemy…Salisbury provides a much needed 3 for his team…but they’re still on the wrong end of a 47-40 score.

As I mentioned…Evanston had no field goals in the last 5 minutes…but the one thing that they did have was free throws…they went 13 of 18 in the final stretch and that paid off!

Less than 1 minute to go…the opposition is getting desperate…they needed someone with experience…that someone was Salisbury and he delivered 3 more…they have a shot, but they still trail 49-43.

Red Devil free throws would make it 52-to-43…so another long ball is needed…Webb will shoot on the run and hit to add to the cause…but the clock is not cooperating…it’s 52-to-46 with about 18 seconds remaining.

More free throws means that the Wolverines need another one from behind the arc…this is an air ball, but Fullerton would stick it back in for 2…and Evanston just let him…because time has run out…and the celebration can begin.

That was not the prettiest of championship games on either side…but seeing how the Red Devils would claim their 2nd straight championship trophy…I doubt they care how the game went.

Final score 54-to-50…Evanston would repeat as state champs, and finish the season with a record of 18-and-10.