Ashton Barto scored 17 points to lead the Rawlins Outlaws to their first state basketball championship in 25 years.

Rawlins held off the Douglas Bearcats, 40-39, for their third boys’ basketball state title in school history in the 3A state championship game on Saturday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

Barto summed it up by saying,

“It feels amazing. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

He made the clinching free throws with 1:01 left in the game.

“I think I can speak for everyone on the team, we’ve worked so hard and so long for this.”

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Cameryn Spence of Douglas brought the Bearcats within one with 37 seconds left on a floater in the lane.

After running some clock, the Outlaws called timeout. Rawlins committed a turnover. Douglas came the other way, but Nate Halquist lost the ball in the lane. A jump ball was called and the possession arrow gave it to the Bearcats with 3.4 seconds left.

After a Douglas timeout, the Bearcats inbounded to the left of their basket. With no one open, the pass went out near midcourt to Spence, but it was tipped by Rawlins’ Jarron Mascarenas. The clock ran out, and the Outlaws had their elusive title.

Rawlins played without senior Erick Martinez, who sustained an injury late in the semifinal win on Friday over Buffalo.

Outlaws’ head coach Denver Allard said they found out about 25 minutes before the game, that he wouldn’t play.

“There were a lot of tears, and, honestly, it took some longer than others to recover, but our kids really just battled. They had a heck of a defensive effort to keep Douglas, with their firepower, to score as few points as we did. I just thought we had kids step up today.”

Lorenzo Johanson added 10 points for Rawlins. They shot 44 percent for the game and held Douglas to 37 percent.

Halquist paced the Bearcats with 17. Spence added 15 points.

The game was tight throughout. Douglas held a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Rawlins responded in the second and took a 21-17 lead at halftime. The Bearcats fought back for a 29-28 lead after the third. The game featured seven lead changes and was tied 10 times.

This was the first boys’ basketball championship since 1997 for Rawlins. They finish the season 23-3.

Douglas concluded their season with a record of 24-4. They fell to 3-7 all-time in championship games.

WyoPreps will have more from this title game, including video highlights, interviews, and photos.

PhotoFest! State 3A Basketball: Day One

PhotoFest! State 3A Basketball: Day One